The CFL Draft All-Name Team
What’s in a name? To many how people are identified is just a fact of life. You’re born, your parents assign a first name and your last name represents your family forever more.
Some players change their names to honour both sides of their family, add in middle names for a unique flair on the game day roster or wish to be known by initials. To me names are significant, but above all else fun. As a broadcaster they’re the fuel for word play, rhymed references and a light hearted laugh when it’s needed in a blowout.
The names of prospects have always intrigued me as we tend to over evaluate everything about players in their transition from college to pro football. If I were a General Manager and a scout called me on the road from a small town grass field saying he’d found a kid named Bo Levi Mitchell who can sling it like you wouldn’t believe I’d be hard pressed not to sign him sight unseen.
Each position in football carries a unique identity and stereotype with it, meaning each name can hit - or wildly miss - a certain cord with us. Carrying that happily ridiculous premise I’ve compiled my all-time CFL Draft name team as we get set to name 74 players worthy of selection on May 3rd.
You can’t play a CFL game without the balls! At least that’s what it seemed like for about two decades when Don Ball (1953 - 33rd overall), Bill Ball (1965 - 45th overall), John Ball (1966 - 62nd overall), Doug Ball (1972 - 60th overall) and Rob Ball (1981 - 57th overall) were all drafted by east division teams. The group featured three running backs, a defensive lineman and a linebacker.
No Time To Die
With a four year career including one Grey Cup Simon Fraser DL James Bond, taken 26th overall in 1971 is easily my favourite reference on this list. Not to be outdone he’s shaken but not stirred by both Toronto OL Santo Martini (1957 - 8th overall) and Toronto LB John Martini (1977 - 8th overall). Everyone involved is a real Willie Casanova (Western RB - 1958 - 5th overall)
If the name fits..
There might be no better fit of name, position and school than RMC OL Bear Brown (1970 - 51st overall). Although Toronto QB Doug Geekie (1954 - 27th overall) certainly exemplified what you look for in a first in, last out quarterback.
In a hockey crazy country it makes sense the CFL would draft a Lindros (Western REC Carl Lindros - 1970 - 30th overall) and a Lindstrom (UBC REC Mike Lindstrom - 2006 - 40th overall).
What makes far more sense though is Saskatchewan drafting Alberta LB Bruce Gainer 33rd overall in 1969 as he went on to play both sides of the ball before retiring four years later with one interception and 41 games played.
I couldn’t resist including Northwestern State Tchissakid Player (2014 - 12th overall) in an ode to the days of video game creation where - before editing - everyone was assigned ‘player’. Perhaps in the editing process I should have chosen names like Kevin Challenger (Boston College REC - 2007 - 14th overall), Bob Toogood (Manitoba DL - 1972 - 16th overall) or Adrian Rainbow (UBC QB - 1996 - 53rd overall).
There is something incredibly charming and CFL about the fact that former standout Winnipeg LB Tom Canada was actually American born in Iowa City, Iowa while Bishop’s DB Tom Europe (1993 - 7th overall) was a first round pick of the BC Lions who also played in Montreal and Winnipeg over an eleven year career including two West division all-star nods and only missing playing with Canada in Winnipeg by one year!
Simon Fraser DB Ed Jones (1981 - 32nd overall) could not match up with his ‘too tall’ name sake as this Ed Jones measured up well short of the Dallas Cowboys legend while Guillaume Petit (Alberta DL - 2001 - 37th overall) was anything but small at 6’2, 245 lbs benching 225 an impressive 27 times.
Small Screen References for $400 Please Alex
While he’s not THE Bruce Dickenson, Simon Fraser DB Bruce Dickson (1991 - 18th overall) certainly put his pants on one leg at a time, whether or not he made gold records once they were on is another discussion. Dickson played for four CFL teams with the majority of his time spent in Edmonton as a backup linebacker and special teamer.
Not to be confused with Dickinson State OL Lance Scranton (1989 - 48th overall), home of the world’s best boss and the people person's paper people.
From the files of “boom”, “Whap” and “tough actin tinactin” comes Wilfrid Laurier DB Bill Madden (1990 - 36th overall) who was taken by the Toronto Argonauts.
Should any of the above run into legal trouble I suggest they call Bluth family lawyer Bob Loblaw, or Ottawa DL Bob Law who was taken 41st overall in 1967 by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Power to the People
Since being drafted 28th overall in 2013 Saskatchewan FB Charlie Power has been a mainstay on the Stamps roster with humble beginnings behind Rob Cote blocking for Jon Cornish to today being a veteran leader for the Calgary offence and special teams.
Defined as ‘very good, hard, and valuable work that someone does especially to support a cause, to help a team’ how could you not draft Washington State RB Gordon Yeomans in 1974?! The Calgary native was a territorial selection of the Stamps.
In a twist of fate York Lions REC Luther Hakunavanhu (44th overall - 2021) never won the Lions Tom Arnott Yeoman of the year for hard work and character, but he did force us to all learn his name quickly after sticking in the CFL and dazzling with an average catch of more than 20-yards in his rookie season.
1998 - 16th overall - BYU DL Harland Ah You
The sound that emanates from most General Managers when ‘the one that got away’ in the draft comes back to haunt? “Ahhh you!” The son of CFL Top 50 player Junior Ah You would only play ten games for the Calgary Stampeders in 1998 but exited as a Grey Cup champion as Calgary defeated Hamilton.
1965 - 5th overall - McMaster RB Bob Apps
Even in 1965 the social media revolution was on with this first round pick. A two-sport athlete throughout his time at McMaster, Bob was a scoring leader at centre in hockey and at halfback in football. Before having a cup of coffee with the BC Lions.
1995 - 24th overall - Guelph DB Charles Assman
Every broadcaster's worst nightmare. Nothing against Charles but I’d be scared every time he made a play on the ball, or made a tackle, or stepped on the field.
1980 - 33rd overall - Wilfrid Laurier REC Wesley Woof
For all my dog lovers. Don’t forget to mark August 26th down as international dog day, or just send me all your dog pictures on twitter any day.
1971 - 29th overall - Saskatchewan DB Art Lord
No real quip here, just love the succinct punch in the face of culture offered by this seven letter, two syllable name.
Somehow the CFL has drafted two Bill Simmons (RMC DB - 1970 - 59th overall) and (New Brunswick DB - 1975 - 9th overall). Thankfully neither will beat you over the head with Boston Celtics history and discuss chasing the ghosts of former Massachusetts championship teams without the self awareness to realize three years without a major championship is not a drought by the standards of any normal sports town in the 21st century.
1956 - 3rd overall - Toronto RB Don Cheeseman
An appropriate description and for and punctuation of this entire article while recognizing the great work done by current Elks Director of Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Brian Cheeseman.
Marshall Ferguson is a former U SPORTS Quarterback at McMaster University now serving as CFP Founder, Host & Director of Content, play-by-play for the CFL on TSN, analyst for CFL.ca and dad to Noah.