The AUS' Best Draft Picks of the Decade
With the CFL draft coming up, let’s take a look back at the best draft pick from each of the (current) AUS schools from the last 10 years. This list is based not on their AUS accomplishments, but rather what they achieved or have achieved in the CFL after getting drafted. (Note: Bishop’s entered the AUS in 2018, but I am including them in the list)
Jake Thomas – DL, drafted in 2012 (4th round, 29th overall by Winnipeg)
The longest-serving active Blue Bomber, Thomas reached the pinnacle of his career in 2019 when he became the first Blue Bomber player since 1990 to raise the Grey Cup. With 114 tackles and 18 sacks over his eight-year career, Thomas has become a leader and somewhat of a fan-favourite in Winnipeg since being drafted in 2012.
Not the highest Axemen drafted in the decade (Brian Jones 4th overall in 2016), Thomas has definitely enjoyed the best CFL career by any Acadia grad drafted in the 2010s.
Junior Turner – DL, drafted in 2011 (2nd round, 9th overall by Calgary)
Turner has enjoyed a great nine-year career with the Stampeders, playing in 106 games and amassing 154 tackles with 17 sacks – not bad for an interior defensive lineman. Ranked 12th in the Scouting Bureau Rankings before the draft, Turner has not disappointed since being selected by Calgary.
A regular in the Stamps’ rotation alongside Micah Johnson and Charleston Hughes, Turner also won a pair of Grey Cups. Currently a free agent, Turner was a staple for the Stampeders throughout the whole decade in the middle of their D-Line.
Mount Allison Mounties Mike Filer – OL, drafted in 2012 (5th round, 31st overall by Calgary)
Drafted two picks after Thomas, Filer was released by Calgary in the summer only to be snatched up quickly by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, where he has found himself a long-term home. The Brantford native has made 95 regular season starts at centre, and is the longest-serving current Ticat. More importantly, he has become a hometown hero through his multiple charity events and community appearances.
The only current Mountie alumnus in the CFL, he has earned his spot as one of the players most beloved by his hometown fans. In some eyes, Filer has been overlooked for the past couple of seasons for his team’s nominee for Most Outstanding Lineman, with the award going to bigger names, but there is no mistaking his importance to what has been a very good Ticats O-Line.
Saint Francis Xavier X-Men Henoc Muamba – LB, drafted in 2011 (1st overall by Winnipeg)
The easiest selection of the five AUS schools – Muamba rapidly became a force to be reckoned with, and despite spending 2014 and most of 2015 and 2016 in the NFL, he has accumulated 468 tackles and 75 special teams tackles along with 12 sacks, 5 interceptions and 14 forced fumbles in his 8 CFL seasons.
Now with the Montreal Alouettes, Muamba was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian in 2019, one year after finishing 2nd in the league in tackles after his first 100+ tackle season. A three-time Division All-Star and two-time CFL All-Star, Muamba is only the second AUS player to be drafted first overall (Steve Morley in 2003) and has twice been his team’s nominee for Most Outsanding Player, Most Outstanding Defensive Player, and Most Outstanding Canadian (2013 with Winnipeg and 2019 with Montreal).
Saint Mary’s Huskies Nigel Romick – DL, drafted in 2014 (3rd round, 23 overall by Ottawa)
Honourable mention to Brett Lauther, who was a Divisional All-Star in 2018, but Romick’s sample size is much larger. Romick has accumulated 80 special teams tackles over six seasons as a Redblack, and has become one of the more important and dangerous special teams tacklers in the CFL.
His 21 tackles in 2018 helped pave the road for the Redblacks to get to the Grey Cup game, and on two other occasions he’s had 17 tackles. Injuries have held him to only 81 games, but he’s been on a tackle-a-game pace in an unheralded but important role. At 6’5, 248 lbs, Romick’s size and speed is a deadly combination covering kicks. The 2016 Grey Cup champ recently re-signed a two-year extension in Ottawa, and is one of only three “original” Redblacks left from the inaugural 2014 season.
Wray Perkin is a former staff member with the Mount Allison Mounties and Ottawa Redblacks, now Offensive Coordinator for the Tantramar High School Titans based in Sackville, NB.