Every year the NFL Draft represents the beginning of the football season. You have the Super Bowl in early February followed by Free Agency in March which is a part of the off-season, but when the draft is complete that is when you know what the rosters look like and it doesn’t take long before they are on the field again in the NFL however in the CFL in a normal year things are very spaced out. You’ve got the season from May through November but after the late November Grey Cup game its very quiet up to the early February free agency frenzy which like the NFL Draft typically represents the beginning of the football season and then a few months after, following the NFL Draft in late April the CFL has its entry draft. Now that we have seen the end of the 2021 NFL Draft on Saturday, like previous years we will be seeing the CFL Draft very soon, this coming Tuesday and this year’s CFL Draft class is full of talent!
Throughout the NFL Draft weekend we heard a lot of buzz around the Canadian talent, having four Canadian-born players drafted into the NFL and 4 Canadians signed after the draft introducing a total of 8 Canadians into the NFL this off-season and for those Canadians that didn’t get their shot yet at an NFL contract the CFL is ready to give them an opportunity this Tuesday. A draft class packed of Canadian athletes, the 2021 CFL Draft has 3 different groups of athletes, very different than previous drafts due to the COVID-19 Pandemic which has changed the game completely. The Draft has players that are ready to play right away, those that will be attending training camp in 2021 are the players that CFL organizations will be prioritizing early on Tuesday night to insure an immediate improvement on the team. This year’s CFL Draft also features players that are going back to University for one or two more years to extend their opportunities for the NFL as well as the players that have been drafted or signed into the NFL this off-season. When looking at the three groups of talent in this year’s CFL Draft which will begin on Tuesday at 7:00 PM EDT on TSN many would ask ‘who do I want my team to pick?’
For this year’s CFL Draft class the key is to play in the present, not the future. After having no football in Canada for well over a full calendar year CFL teams should be looking to get depth that is ready to play this year. We are unsure of the shape that a lot of the players are in that are coming back to the CFL, therefore having a young, fresh pair of legs at each position from either the NCAA or U-Sports division could go a long way to bring home the Grey Cup this December. There are, as mentioned three different groups of talent in this year’s CFL Draft so with that being said CFL teams should be looking for the players that are not on NFL rosters or going back to school early in the draft. CFL teams should have all eyes on the following players that will be attending a 2021 CFL training camp. Terrell Jana, Nelson Lokombo, Logan Bandy, Ben Hladik, Jake Burt, Kyle Borsa, Bryce Bell, Nick Cross, Dominic Johnson, Will Corby, Luther Hakunavanhu, Alain Cimankinda, Cole Nelson, Deonte Glover, Shae Weeks, Elliott Graham and more.
No knocking on the other talent available in the 2021 CFL Draft this Tuesday but in football and any other sport the goal should always be to win now. Eventhough it is always good to have a plan for the future you cannot be caught up in 2023 when you are in 2021, especially with what may be in store with the CFL in future years. With that being said, though there are some great athletes to keep eyes on from the other two groups available in this year’s CFL Draft. As for the players on NFL rosters, NFL Draft picks Jevon Holland, Benjamin St Juste, Chuba Hubbard and Joshua Palmer they should go undrafted in the 2021 CFL Draft, if not picked in the 6th round because everything says that each of the four athletes will have a good career in the NFL. Same goes for both Alaric Jackson and Amen Ogbongbemiga who both signed free agent contracts with NFL franchises following the 2021 NFL Draft. The two players were expected to be drafted in the NFL and now with NFL contracts that they have they should remain in the NFL for a few years considering the upside they both have. Outside of the six players mentioned both Bruno Labelle and Pier-Olivier Lestage could find themselves out of an NFL job in the near future so should be drafted in the CFL Draft.
May 4th’s CFL Draft also has future players available in the Draft, players that are available to be drafted and signed by CFL teams as a professional athlete but are returning to their university programs for the 2021 season. The players in that group contain NCAA’s Sage Doxtater, Mohamed Diallo, Deane Leonard, Patrice Rene, Liam Dobson, Daniel Joseph, Alonzo Addae, Deshawn Stevens, Luiji Vilain and Mike Beaudry. There are more players in that category, however with the projected priority around the players available to play in a 2021 CFL season the players named are expected to be the only ones drafted into this year’s CFL Draft.
All in all, with all three groups of players available there is some serious talent in the 2021 CFL Draft. It will be an exciting Tuesday evening as we see 54 new players enter the CFL to play in the league and earn their respective opportunities. For more on the CFL Draft which, again will be available to watch on TSN at 7:00 PM EDT on Tuesday May 4th visit the links below.