There is a large group – literally – of high-quality offensive linemen available in the 2018 CFL draft.
Big men should rule the first round, as they often do, but the overall calibre of players available in this year’s draft is exceptional. Only two offensive linemen went in the first round last May, at No. 8 and No. 9 overall, and that number could triple in 2018.
With the combine set for this weekend in Winnipeg, a lot can change ahead of the draft on May 3 but here’s a look at where the top players might end up. And get it in podcast form too.
1) Alouettes – Mark Chapman, REC, Central Michigan
Most pro-ready receiver and possible player in the draft. Montreal could use a ready-made starting Canadian for the ratio and an infusion of more play-making ability on the league’s lowest-scoring offence.
2) Ticats – Ryan Hunter, OL, Bowling Green
Big, versatile and smooth might be the best words to describe Hunter. He started all over the offensive line for the Falcons. A legitimate NFL opportunity could come, but because the Ticats have lots of picks Hamilton can afford to be patient if needed.
3) Lions – Trey Rutherford, OL, UConn
Rutherford started all 12 games for the Huskies at right guard in his senior season. Size and movement skills have caught scouts’ attention.
4) Redblacks – Julien Laurent, DL, Georgia State
Slimmed down for the CFL game, Laurent heads into the national combine as the best interior defensive line prospect in the class.
5) Riders – Rashaun Simonise, REC, Okanagan Sun
Simonise played five games in the CJFL last year making 17 receptions for 230 yards and two touchdowns. He has NFL talent – time in Bengals training camp proves it. Simonise is certainly the most polarizing player in the draft.
6) Eskimos – Mark Korte, OL, Alberta
Local Golden Bears product to the hometown CFL team. Edmonton would be just fine with Korte making it to the six hole.
7) Bombers – Dakoda Shepley, OL, UBC
Rising offensive line prospect might be the most athletic offensive lineman available and Shepley could get an NFL look based off that.
8) Stampeders – Peter Godber, OL, Rice
Plenty of starts in the NCAA adds to Godber’s pedigree. Calgary could use some luck with a highly drafted Canadian offensive lineman staying healthy.
9) Argos – David Knevel, OL, Nebraska
A massive blocker with the physical tools to play tackle. Jim Popp has employed five Canadian offensive linemen in the past and Knevel could make that possible in the future. Just on his sheer size NFL teams are going to do their homework on the Brantford, ON native.