While scouts will always gather the most information on a player from game tape, scouting combines are a great opportunity for players to prove – or confirm – what may not have appeared on film and, as a result, improve their draft stock.
With the conclusion of the regional and national combines, plenty has changed since mock draft: version one. We’ve now seen these players compete against the best of the best on every rep in combine one-on-ones, and also have a better idea of their athletic abilities through testing results. We’ve also learned more about certain player’s NFL interest, as you’ll notice that defensive tackles David Onyemata and Mehdi Abdesmad are not included in this mock. Onyemata, who had 18 scouts at his pro day, could be drafted as early as the third round in the NFL draft and will likely never play a down in the CFL. Abdesmad, meanwhile, had a solid weekend at the NFL’s national combine and will undoubtedly sign a UDFA contract if he doesn’t hear his name called on day three of the NFL draft.
A third and final mock draft will be released after the conclusion of the NFL draft UDFA frenzy. You can find all of my draft/combine content here if you’re looking for a more in-depth look at each prospect in the draft.
Note: The Winnipeg Blue Bombers forfeited their 2016 first-round pick to select Dartmouth DB/LB Garrett Waggoner in the 2015 Supplemental draft.
1:1 Saskatchewan Roughriders – RG Charles Vaillancourt, Laval
Although this draft class has no clear-cut no. 1 overall pick, I think Vaillancourt is the top offensive line prospect, and the ‘Riders, who are rebuilding their Canadian talent, must build up from the roots of Canadian talent: national offensive lineman. Vaillancourt, one of the most decorated offensive lineman in CIS history, had a solid combine, doing nothing to hurt his draft stock.
1:2 Montreal Alouettes – CB Arjen Colquhoun, Michigan State
Colquhoun put up solid testing numbers at his Michigan State Pro Day, running a 4.55 40-yard dash; recording a 37-inch vertical; 10-foot, 1-inch broad jump; and a 4.16-second shuttle. After a solid season starting at boundary corner for the Spartans, Colquhoun is poised to be a top-3 pick, and the Alouettes likely won’t be able to pass on a versatile defensive back like Colquhoun, who’d form a formidable Canadian duo with Chris Ackie for the future. For an in-depth look at Colquhoun, feel free to check out my scouting report on the five-year Spartan.
1:3 BC Lions – RT Josiah St. John, Oklahoma
Unlike last year, the Lions will start three Canadian interior offensive lineman next season, and drafting St. John could give them competition for the role of sixth offensive lineman, and in the future, potentially a ratio-breaking, Canadian right tackle. St. John couldn’t hold down a starting offensive tackle position with the Sooners – he started four games in 2015 – but at six-foot-six, 308 pounds, the Lions will likely give him an opportunity to be a rare, Canadian tackle in the CFL, with the option to switch him to guard if needed. St. John will need seasoning, but he undoubtedly has a high ceiling.
1:4 Toronto Argonauts – WR Tevaun Smith, Iowa
Recording only 563 receiving yards, Smith had a disappointing senior campaign for Iowa and, as a result, saw his NFL stock decrease dramatically. But the physical traits are there, as the six-foot-two, Toronto, ON. native has elite speed and big-play ability. With Spencer Watt departed in 2015 and 35-year-old Andre Durie’s health and future up in the air, the Argos are relatively desperate for national pass-catchers. Smith’s talents would simply be far too good to pass up on.
1:5 Hamilton Tiger-Cats – RG Dillon Guy, Buffalo
Guy, a Hamilton native, was apart of Buffalo’s offensive line rotation since his true freshman season. He’s known as a smart, disciplined right guard, who isn’t overly athletic but, oddly enough, stands out more as a pass-blocker than a run-blocker. Guy has a recent injury history, however, as he missed much of the 2014 season with a foot injury as well as much of last year with an unfortunate, season-ending knee injury, which prohibited him from participating at the combine. The Ti-Cats traded away 36-year-old Tim O’Neill to the Lions, all but guaranteeing that they’ll be using their first-round pick on an offensive lineman.
1:6 Calgary Stampeders – RB Mercer Timmis, Calgary
The Stamps recently cut Matt Walter, and while Jon Hufnagel says the Stamps don’t need a national RB, I’m not buying it. While Timmis had an underwhelming combine performance, running only a 4.73 40-yard dash, recording only 8 bench press reps and being sub-par in blocking drills, take the testing numbers with a grain of salt. I’m not convinced the laser timer was accurate for the 40, and Timmis’ bench press abilities could be limited to his shoulder rehab. The Burlington, ON. native is still worthy of a first-round pick, and the Stamps are still in need of a national running back.
1:7 Ottawa REDBLACKS – RG Philippe Gagnon, Laval
Alex Mateas, who Ottawa selected with the first overall selection last year, spent the 2015 season as the sixth offensive lineman, but should shift into a starting role this season. With RT Colin Kelly gone to the NFL, expect Mateas to start at right guard as Nolan Macmillan kicks out to right tackle. Gagnon and Matthew Albright would give the Redblacks, who were extremely fortunate to start the same five offensive lineman for all 18 games last season, solid Canadian depth.
1:8 Edmonton Eskimos – DB Taylor Loffler, UBC
It appears as though Loffler is this year’s combine winner. The former Boise State Bronco was the best defensive back in one-on-ones despite being a natural safety, and also tested fairly well all around. Loffler could potentially even play weak-side linebacker in the CFL as well as safety, offering teams much-needed versatility. The Eskimos, who drafted RG Danny Groulx and LG David Beard in the opening two rounds last year, can afford to pass on an offensive lineman to grab Loffler, who projects as a future starter in the CFL.
2:1 Winnipeg Blue Bombers – C Michael Couture, SFU
Couture’s draft stock took a turn for the best the moment he stood on the weight scale on Friday. The main concern scouts had with Couture heading into the combine was his weight, as he often played at 275-pounds with the Clan, which is far too light for the CFL. But the Burnaby, B.C. native, who we already knew had the technique, depth of knowledge and talent to be a first-round pick heading into the combine, weighed in at a healthy 292-pounds and counting. Couture had a very strong showing in the one-on-ones, playing all five positions to great success. He’s versatile and would be a perfect pick for the Bombers, who’ll undoubtedly select an offensive lineman with this pick seeing as they only have four Canadians under contract.
2:2 Winnipeg Blue Bombers – WR Juwan Brescacin, Northern Illinois
Aside from Tevaun Smith and Brescacin, this year’s crop of receivers isn’t necessarily eye-popping – no one has really separated themselves from the rest – so the Bombers would be wise to select a receiver from the top-tier in Brescacin while they can. The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder posted solid numbers at his pro day, with a 4.62 40-yard dash, 36.6-inch vertical and 7.03 3-cone time.
2:3 Montreal Alouettes – WR Llevi Noel, Toronto
It’s hard to guess the order in which the receivers in this year’s class are drafted, as I’m sure each team would rank them entirely differently. I have Noel (6-foot-one, 201-lbs) as the first pass-catcher not named Smith or Brescacin off the board seeing as he was a fantastic special-teams player in 2016, showed his explosiveness in combine testing and ran the best routes in one-on-ones. The Alouettes would be wise to add another young, Canadian receiver to develop along with their 2015 fourth-round pick, Alex Charette, behind 31-year-old Sam Giguere.
2:4 BC Lions – WR Brian Jones, Acadia
Top receiver prospects that have the potential to be both future starting receivers and dominant special-teams players don’t come around very often, giving Jones and Laval’s Felix Faubert-Lussier an advantage in the draft. Jones, who I wasn’t really high on as a slotback/wide receiver heading into the combine, had a great weekend, running a 4.69 40-yard dash as a 6-foot-4, 233-pound behemoth, and being virtually unstoppable in one-on-ones. The Lions, who start two Canadian receivers nonetheless, are thin at national receiver, especially with Austin Collie’s future/commitment in the air.
2:5 Toronto Argonauts – LB Terrell Davis, UBC
Davis, a former Arizona State running back, is full of athleticism and potential. In his first season as a linebacker, Davis continually improved as the season went on and developed into a legitimate CFL prospect. Davis’ draft stock continued to rise at the combine, where he posted a 4.78 40-yard dash time and 7.25 3-cone time, but most importantly, had a solid outing in the one-on-ones. The Argos could potentially start two Canadian linebackers in Thomas Miles and Cory Greenwood, who had concussion issues last seasons, making depth at the position all the more important.
2:6 Hamilton Tiger-Cats – DB Elie Bouka, Calgary
Bouka ruptured his achilles tendon in training camp last season and, as a result, did not participate in the CFL combine. Having played every position in the secondary as well as some linebacker with the Dinos, Bouka brings tremendous versatility (and size) to the table. As shown by several first-round selections in past drafts such as Chris Ackie, Antoine Pruneau and Mike Edem, CFL teams really value DBs who are able to play wherever needed. The Ti-Cats, who lost a plethora of national defensive backs in free agency, would get an excellent replacement for the future in Bouka.
2:7 Calgary Stampeders – G/OT Jason Lauzon-Seguin, Laval
The Stamps won’t hesitate to select Lauzon-Seguin, who falls to the bottom of the second round in this mock. Although the 26-year-old had a solid combine, he falls as a result of Michael Couture’s emergence and teams already having selected an offensive lineman in the first round.
2:8 Ottawa REDBLACKS – DB Maiko Zepeda, Montreal
While scouts probably wish Zepeda stood taller than 5-foot-8, he’s still 200-lbs, runs a 4.57 40-yard dash and hits like a missile. Zepeda, who displayed excellent football I.Q. with the Carabins, should development into a really solid special-teams players with his athletic gifts, while also giving Ottawa another much-needed Canadian defensive back along with Antoine Pruneau and Ryan Hinds.
2:9 Edmonton Eskimos – SB Felix Faubert-Lussier, Laval
Faubert-Lussier certainly boosted his stock at the combine, where he posted outstanding testing numbers, including a 4.58 40-yard dash and 6.73 3-cone time. The six-foot, 216-pounder, who has the size and athletic abilities to be a great special-teams player, showed over the weekend that he could potentially play slot-back and fullback in the future. The Eskimos, who start two Canadian receivers, need a third national receiver for the future, as Chris Getzlaf and Cory Watson are only short-term solutions.
3:1 Hamilton Tiger-Cats – K/P Quinn Van Gyslwyk, UBC
Hamilton can’t risk the chance of Van Gyslwyk being selected by the Argonauts one pick before they’re back on the board at 23 overall. The Victoria, B.C. native has a big leg and after losing Justin Medlock in free agency, the Ti-Cats would be foolish to not do whatever they can to assure that they pick Van Gylswyk up.
3:2 Winnipeg Blue Bombers – NT Rupert Butcher, Western
Butcher had an excellent combine and could not be blocked in one-on-ones. He routinely bested offensive lineman with a series of different moves, even showing off his quickness and swim/rip moves on numerous reps. Although the 6-foot-4, 324-pounder could still be asked to lose some weight, it would be in Winnipeg’s best interest to add another Canadian nose-tackle to develop behind Keith Shologan and Jake Thomas.
3:3 Montreal Alouettes – DE Trent Corney, Virginia
Corney will likely be a first-round pick in the CFL draft if no NFL teams sign him to a UDFA contact. He’s an athletic freak and was very productive in his collegiate career at Virginia. Jim Popp has a reputation of risking a draft pick on NFL-bound players, and recently, it’s worked out, with Philip Blake and Vaughn Martin signing with Montreal after time down south.
3:4 BC Lions – DB Mikael Charland, Concordia
Charland, an absolute tackling machine, was extremely productive with Concordia, amassing 52.5 tackles and three interceptions last season. He tested fairly well over the weekend, and at 6-foot-3, 212-pounds, still looks like a future special-teams monster along with Mikael Zepeda.
3:5 Toronto Argonauts – DB Anthony Thompson, Southern Illinois
Although Thompson had a rough outing in one-on-ones at the combine, he’s primarily a free safety and won’t have to regularly cover slot-backs and wide-receivers in man coverage. The Argos need to improve their depth behind Jermaine Gabriel at safety after a rough stint without him in 2015, and Thompson is an intriguing prospect that’s worth the pick in the third round.
3:6 Hamilton Tiger-Cats – SB Doug Corby, Queens
The Ti-Cats are in need of another young, Canadian pass-catcher, and Corby, who could be the top receiver prospect on some team’s draft board, would be an excellent selection in the third round. The 6-foot-1, 187-pound speedster, who’s a Burlington, ON. native, clocked the best 40-yard dash at the combine with his 4.505 time and was one of the sharpest route-runners on the field in one-on-ones. His shuttle and 3-cone times in correlation with his straight-line speed were very good, and he managed to catch the ball very well in pads.
3:7 Saskatchewan Roughriders – SB Brett Blaszko, Calgary
Saskatchewan has a nice trio of Canadian receivers in Rob Bagg, Shamawd Chambers and Nic Demski, but start two and need additional depth for now and the future. Blaszko, meanwhile, has great size and speed at 6-foot-4, 204-pounds with a 4.54 40-yard dash, and had a solid one-on-one session.
3:8 Ottawa REDBLACKS – NT Quinn Horton, SFU
Ottawa is sorely lacking depth behind national NT Zack Evans, and in this case, they would not at all be reaching for Horton simply to fulfill a team need. Although he wasn’t necessarily a testing monster, Horton was very productive in one-on-ones at the combine, demonstrating good hands and quickness while winning three reps cleanly with rip and swim moves. While not necessarily penetrating into the back-field, he pushed the pocket on bull-rushes enough to be effective in a game situation.
3:9 Saskatchewan Roughriders – LB DJ Lalama, Manitoba
Saskatchewan is ultra-thin regarding Canadian linebackers, the life-blood of CFL special-teams, and will likely draft one or two more after selecting Lalama, who could be an excellent special-teams player in the CFL, himself. Lalama dominated in that aspect of the game with Manitoba, showing excellent down-field speed, open-field tackling and physical striking ability.
Best remaining: LB Doug Parrish (Western Oregon), WR Mike Jones (Southern), RT Jamal Campbell (York), LB Shayne Gauthier (Laval), DB Dominique Termanson (UBC), LB Daniel Tshiamala (St. FX), DE Denzel Philip (Eastern New Mexico), WR Shaquille Johnson (Western), RG Sean Jamieson (Western), RB Wayne Moore (McMaster)