- Connor O'Neil
My 5 Favourite CFL Draft Prospects (U Sports Only)
Updated: Mar 30, 2020
This article was supposed to be a National Combine article, but unfortunately because of the COVID-19 pandemic the CFL has decided to cancel this year’s scouting combine events. Rightfully so, player health and safety have to be the number one concern. However, CFL fans can still get excited for this year’s draft as CFL Commissioner, Randy Ambrosie plans to continue with the draft. Earlier this week on the brand-new CFP Podcast, my co-host, former University of Toronto Linebacker, Wade Zanchetta and I discussed the upcoming 2020 CFL Draft and some of our favourite U Sports prospects. So in lieu of a combine article, here are my five favourite U Sports prospects as the league continues to gear up for the 2020 CFL Draft. To hear Wade’s picks you can check out the podcast here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQKkIM24W3M&t=42s
5) Tyler Ternowski - WR - Waterloo Warriors
Ternowski put U Sports on notice during the 2018-19 season, leading the nation in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. Ternowski continued to be a focal point in the Warriors offence during the 2019-20 season, as he collected, 47 receptions for 695 yards and 5 touchdowns. Ternowski is a versatile receiver who created numerous matchup problems this season. The Warriors pass catcher benefits most from playing in the slot where he can use his speed and crisp route routing to his advantage in creating separation from defenders. Ternowski does a good job of working his way open and stacking defenders out of position. A technically sound, speedy receiver with a reliable set of hands, sounds kind’ve like someone who used to wear 6 for the green and white.
4) Adam Auclair - LB - Laval Rouge et Or
Adam Auclair is one of the most versatile defensive players in this class. Auclair can play virtually anywhere on the defence, but spent most of his time taking reps at linebacker. Auclair has a great sense of awareness when playing the run. A very instinctive run defender who rarely will be caught out of position. On the season, Auclair tallied 45 tackles, which lead the RSEQ, while also recording 3 sacks. When pass defending, Auclair is a ball hawk. A very athletic coverage linebacker who has the technical skills and speed necessary to cover down on slot receivers and running backs coming out of the backfield, he finished with 2 interceptions in the 2019-20 season. Auclair’s versatility and ‘plug-and-play’ nature are what make him one of my favourite prospects in the draft.
3) Cameron Lawson - DT - Queen’s Gaels
Cameron Lawson has been a staple in the Gaels defence since he first arrived in the Limestone City. In his rookie season Lawson was named to the OUA All-Rookie team. Cam can play almost any position on the defensive line. However, in the 2019-20 Lawson spent his season playing from the 3 Tech, or Nose Tackle spot. As we approach the CFL Draft, Lawson has been ranked the 15th overall prospect and the top ranked Canadian defensive linemen. If you listened to the first episode of the CFP Podcast, you may have heard this already. Lawson is the type of player I would describe as an FTPU (‘Mess’ the Play Up) defender. He may not stack stats every game, but he is consistently in the backfield wreaking havoc and messing up the design of the offence so that his teammates can make plays. The Gaels DT has prototypical size and strength to make an impact at the pro level, but what’s most impressive about Lawson is his motor. Not once did I see Lawson give up on a play this season, he plays to the whistle no matter what. A tenacious defender that I firmly believe will be a top ten pick in this year’s CFL Draft.
2) Carter O’Donnell - OL - Alberta Golden Bears
The University of Alberta Golden Bear’s offensive tackle, Carter O’Donnell is without a doubt the most pro ready player in this draft class. At 6’6 315 pounds O’Donnell is everything you want in an offensive lineman and more. O’Donnell played the left tackle position for the Golden Bears, a position that is arguably the most important on the offensive line. When you put on the O’Donnell tape his athleticism is evident, he rarely loses a one on one battle. He has great pad level, quick feet, and a powerful kick step. The Golden Bears tackle is an aggressive run blocker who takes pride in blowing up his first assignment before getting into the secondary to feast on linebackers and defensive backs. In pass sets, O’Donnell does a phenomenal job of staying patient finding his read and not letting stunts or twists cloud his blocking judgment. O’Donnell is one of the best U Sports offensive line prospects of the last few years, and come draft day, I believe that O’Donnell will be the first offensive lineman selected. Talent such as his is hard to pass on.
1) Marc-Antoine Dequoy - DB - Montreal Carabins
As a former DB myself, slotting Dequoy in at my number one spot may seem a touch biased and it is. BUT… Marc-Antoine Dequoy is also incredibly deserving of this spot. Dequoy is the type of player that defensive coordinators dream of. He is athletic enough to play any position in the secondary. Dequoy showed off his range at last year’s U Sports East-West Bowl, where he lined up at safety, halfback, and corner. Not only did he line up at these positions he made an impact from every one of these positions. Dequoy is a long defender standing at 6’3. He’s sticky in coverage, has great feet and quick hips, and a compact break that allows him to jump routes in a split second. In coverage, Dequoy is extremely cerebral. On a number of occasions this season, there were times when Dequoy knew exactly what route the receiver was going to run and broke on the route perfectly to make a big play. To paraphrase my favourite football movie ever, “he can tackle, score the touchdown, snap the ball, hold the snap, and kick the extra point. That boy can flat out play football”. OH! And he can run. At his pro-day Dequoy ran a blazing 4.35 second 40-yard dash, which would have been tied for the third fastest 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. With Dequoy’s combination of size, speed, coverage skills, and athleticism it will be no surprise when Dequoy is a top ten pick in this year’s CFL Draft.