CFL Scouting Bureau Winter Reactions
The CFL Scouting Bureau has recently updated its top 20 prospects list. The winter edition of the list features some movement in the rankings, as well as the addition of some new names.
The updated list along with the announcement of the virtual combine for the 2021 CFL season has us looking forward to CFL Draft at CFP. Below, Connor and Wade each highlight three players that stand out to them from the Scouting Bureau’s updated top 20
1. Jevon Holland, DB, Oregon
Jevon Holland is a new name in the winter edition of the CFL Scouting Bureau’s top 20 prospects. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Coquitlam, British Columbia native elected to forgo his 2020 and turn his attention to the upcoming NFL Draft. In his two seasons with Oregon, Holland was one of the most dominant safeties in college football. Totalling one hundred ten tackles, nine interceptions, nineteen pass deflections, and one interception return touchdown. Holland also added two hundred forty four return yards on seventeen punt returns.
Holland is a rangy safety with ability to cover sideline to sideline. To add to his impressive cover skills, the safety has also demonstrated his ability to tackle. Patient, but devastating is often what came to mind when watching Holland's tape.
Despite winning the Grey Cup, Winnipeg allowed the fourth most passing yards and third most touchdowns. The Bombers secondary could only benefit from a player of Holland’s caliber. While it’s very likely we see Jevon Holland’s name called early on in the NFL Draft, there’s no harm in using a late pick to secure an impact player.
2. Pier-Olivier Lestage, OL, Montreal
Montreal’s Pier-Olivier Lestage lands in the top ten of the winter edition of the Bureau’s list and for good reason. The Carabins guard was one of the most dominant offensive linemen in the nation, earning himself USports All-Canadian honours. Lestage was vital in the Carabins Vanier Cup run. Keeping his quarterbacks upright, while providing smash mouth run blocking.
Lestage is an athletic guard with a quick get-off. He has a strong base and doesn’t easily get washed in blocking schemes. When given the chance to get downfield on a screen or be the pulling guard on a run play, Lestage feasts on opposing defenders.
The Calgary stampeders hold the eighth and eleventh pick, putting them in Lestage territory. With the recent news of Shane Bergman’s retirement, Pier-Olivier Lestage is certainly worth some consideration.
3. Joshua Palmer, WR, Tennessee
Vols wide receiver Joshua Palmer is a household name, or at least should be to Canadian fans by this point. In his senior season Palmer proved to be one of the best wide receivers in the SEC and garnered serious attention by scouts south of the border. Palmer led Tennessee in all receiving categories accumulating four hundred seventy five receiving yards, thirty three catches, and four touchdowns over ten games played.
Palmer’s electric 2020 campaign earned him an invite to the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl. Palmer had two receptions in the game, one of which he took for a touchdown. Palmer is another whose name is likely to be called in the NFL draft, but is once again still worth drafting. The Redblacks just landed Matt Nichols in a whirlwind of a weekend, however he still needs weapons to throw the ball too.
1. Nelson Lokombo, DB, Saskatchewan
The reigning USports Defensive Player of the Year slides into the 14th spot on the CFL’s Scouting Bureau Top 20, but his playmaking ability is unrivalled in this year’s class. During the 2019 campaign the defensive back hauled in four interceptions, returned two for touchdowns, three sacks, and a forced fumble in his team’s ten games.
With his ability to run with top receivers and play up in the run game, Lokombo could find himself playing halfback at the next level, where he is able to show the versatility in his game.
A possible fit for the Saskatchewan Huskies star could be with the Ottawa Redblacks who have made a recent push to bring in National defensive backs and could use his speed to keep up with the top offences in the East.
2. Deshawn Stevens, LB, Maine
Despite only playing one game in the last two years due to injury and COVID cancellations, Deshawn Stevens is one of the most talented prospects in this year’s draft. In his last full season in 2018, Stevens recorded seven sacks, an interception, two fumble recoveries, and 73 total tackles.
His range makes him seem like a shot out of a cannon when adding in on blitzes or filling run gaps. While his weight brings in the question of where to place him on a defence, he will still shine regardless.
The Montreal Alouettes seem to be a strong fit with an aging Henoc Muamba being there to mentor the young playmaker, they could find their man in the middle for years to come.
3. Amen Ogbongbemiga, LB, Oklahoma State
Playing on one of the top defensive units in the BIG 12, Amen Ogbongbemiga led the way on the front seven. While his production took a bit of a step back from 2019, he was able to improve in forcing turnovers where he caused three fumbles on the season. Playing against the spread offences of his conference he was able to display his abilities in the open field as he found himself covering down slot receivers and playing on the edge quite a bit.
As he brings his aggressive style of play north of the border, the Calgary Stampeders could be an interesting fit after losing another linebacker to the NFL in Wynton McManus. With the scheme’s use of versatile linebackers, his speed and experience playing in the open field could fill either the Mike or Will spot on his hometown team’s defence.
As draft time quickly approaches, make sure youstay tuned to cfperspective.com for a ton of draft analysis, and interviews!
You can find Connor, Wade, and Marshall Ferguson through the CFPerspective pages or at their own accounts which are linked through each page.