Mock Draft 1.0
From lack of game film, to virtual combines and everything in between this is the toughest draft I’ve ever tried to wrap my mind around. Futures picks, grad transfers, eligibility fluctuations and evolving draft deferrals will clearly define the 2021 CFL Draft, but plenty of extremely talented players are still available. The question now becomes, where do they fit best?
1st - Hamilton - NC State DE Daniel Joseph
The brother of former top pick Faith Ekakite and cousin of Wilfrid Laurier drafted pass rusher Ese Mrabure-Ajufo, Daniel Joseph has the combination of size speed and raw pass rush ability you expect in a player worthy of landing near the top of draft boards.
Joseph spent 2020 at NC State after transferring from Penn State and started eight of the eleven games he played in 2020 while leading the Wolfpack with 6.5 sacks on the year. Here the Ticats solidify depth behind 2020 CFL first round draft pick Mason Bennett. While adding ratio flexibility, make no mistake. The play here is for pure talent to place opposite Ja’Gared Davis.
2nd - Saskatchewan - Calgary OL Logan Bandy
Bandy might not reach this high in the draft, but when you are the marquee blocker on a team with as many pro worthy prospects as the *still* Vanier Cup defending champion Calgary Dinos do, I like the odds.
Saskatchewan will dearly miss the absence of Dariusz Bladek who left in free agency for Toronto and Dakoda Shepley who signed with the San Francisco 49ers, unless they target top end talent in this draft. Without another pick until 17th overall, the time and place is here at 2nd overall to take their pass blocker of choice and allow Cody Fajardo to develop comfortably.
3rd - Winnipeg - Saskatchewan DB Nelson Lokombo
Shots Fired! The Bombers steal the Saskatchewan Huskies product after the Riders focus on pass protection and scoop up the 2019 U SPORTS Defensive Player Of The Year. Nelson’s natural CFL fit - despite being slightly undersized - is at free safety. While Winnipeg is predominantly American on the back end he can earn his reps on special alongside the Hallett brothers as Nick and Noah stand alone waving the maple leaf in the Bombers’ secondary.
4th - BC - Maine DE Deshawn Stevens
While listed as a defensive end, Deshawn Stevens has the skills and body to be a dynamic linebacker in my opinion. With the Lions going Canadian at a couple backer spots, take Stevens for special teams as he waits his turn behind 2020 top overall selection Jordan Williams or 2013 draft pick Bo Lokombo and watch the open field tackles rack up.
5th - Edmonton - Central Michigan DT Mohamed Diallo
Averaging nearly a sack per game while being named to the all-MAC first team, Diallo is all of 6-4, 305lbs with the ability to play immediately in a suddenly forceful Canadian front line in Edmonton featuring Kwaku Boateng, Mathieu Betts and Diallo anchoring the middle in a rotation with any American tasked to replace Almondo Sewell.
6th - Ottawa - Tennessee REC Josh Palmer
Ottawa has promise with Nichols and LaPolice reuniting, but who will they direct targets towards? Nationals under contract in Ottawa include Anthony Coombs, Marco Dubois, Wesley Lewis, Dan Petermann and of course Brad Sinopoli. None of this players have the combination of frame, route running, lower body explosion and angry hands that Palmer put on display against top shelf SEC opponents.
7th - Toronto - Iowa OL Alaric Jackson
Free agency is for need, the draft is for value.
Alaric Jackson likely gets his earned look in the NFL as the CFL’s central scouting bureau top ranked player, but Toronto is setup to be fully invested in protecting Nick Arbuckle for the foreseeable future. Securing the unique athleticism, movement skills and prototypical size of Jackson as a future hallmark of the Argos protection plan makes a lot of sense.
8th - Calgary - New Mexico State OL Sage Doxtater
The last couple years have been uncharacteristically difficult for the Stamps offensive line health and depth. Unlike many U SPORTS prospects, Sage will have recent reps to be game ready for Calgary as his New Mexico State Aggies recently wrapped up a two game sprint of a spring season to make good on the COVID ravaged 2020 fall schedule. His feet will need some tidying in the pros to solve balance concerns, but you can’t disagree with a motivated and experienced 6’7, 350lb frame.
9th - Hamilton - Syracuse OL Patrick Davis
There are higher rated players in this draft at offensive line, but few with centre experience and the ability to swing across all five blocking spots. Versatility is the key with this pick after Hamilton reportedly won’t have longtime rock Mike Filer snapping to Masoli or Evans in 2021.
10th - Montreal - Montreal OL Pierre-Olivier Lestage
I’d say I hate to play the hits, but I don’t. Danny Maciocia knows Lestage too well to pass him up with the Alouettes first pick of 2021. His wrecking ball mentality is worthy of being a first round pick depending on NFL interest, but will anyone dare secure his rights before Maciocia gets the chance?
11th - Calgary - Minnesota DB Benjamin St.Juste
When I think Stampeders secondary I think length, size and physicality near the line of scrimmage. St. Juste fits this profile perfectly while offering Special Teams Coordinator Mark Kilam one of the longest wingspans at the 2021 Senior Bowl to work as a punt gunner.
12th - Toronto - North Carolina DB Patrice Rene
Toronto doesn’t need another top end pass rusher or national linebacker for now. With the receiver room full and an offensive lineman secured in the first round, why not pick up Rene as a future Argo once completed his time at Rutgers in the fall of 2021?
Despite an ACL tear in 2019, Patrice has the ability to push Arjen Colquhoun, Matthew Boateng and Robert Woodson quickly for best Canadian defensive back.
13th - Ottawa - Maine OL Liam Dobson
With a top flight receiver targeted in round one, Ottawa begins to gather national offensive lineman help with Ottawa native Liam Dobson who will spend 2021 at Texas State after transferring from Maine where he was named an all-conference all-star while starting all 12 games and performing as Maine’s highest graded offensive lineman for every start of 2019.
14th - Edmonton - West Virginia DB Alonzo Addae
A New Hampshire transfer, Addae has earned his way up the NCAA showcase to be an important part of the Mountaineer defence in 2020 with two interceptions, seven passes defended and 66 tackles. He offers Edmonton NCAA experience and coverage skills that current nationals Jordan Beaulieu, Eric Blake and Scott Hutter lack.
15th - BC - Virginia REC Terrell Jana
This Vancouver native leaves Virginia as a captain ranked 12th all-time at UVA with 123 career receptions and 17th all-time at UVA with 1,481 career receiving yards including five passes for 55 yards and a score against top ranked Clemson. He’s productive, has a frame Mike Reilly would quickly welcome alongside Lemar Durant and would instantly be a marketable piece for BC as they find new ownership.
16th - Winnipeg - UBC LB Nick Cross
An All-Canadian from Regina who left the Rams for UBC, Nick Cross is an explosive tackler with a natural instinct for offensive flow which explains his U SPORTS leading tackle numbers. In Winnipeg Cross gets to refine his natural talent watching Adam Bighill while learning how to operate in the pros with a slightly undersized frame, something Bighill has overcome to be oe of the CFL’s best.
17th - Saskatchewan - Calgary LB Grant McDonald
Grant McDonald doesn’t tackle, he hunts with an ever increasing speed as he nears the target. Forget about all the positional needs required to get on field against a CFL offence and join me in a world where McDonald becomes one of the best young special teams tacklers for Riders Head Coach Craig Dickenson who knows the value of field position and reliable specials.
18th - Hamilton - Manitoba DB Shae Weekes
After three seasons with the Manitoba Bisons Weekes spent 2020 with Bemidji State. I’m not sure there is a true fit here other than backing up Tunde Adeleke and Mike Daly at free safety to start, but I enjoyed watching his Bisons game film too much to see Shae slide out of the top two rounds.
Marshall Ferguson is a former U SPORTS Quarterback, CFP Founder, Host & Director of Content. He is the voice of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, CFL.ca analyst and a fan of inside jokes, especially once he gets to be part of one.