The Friday Conversation: Which Draft Class is the Best of All Time?

Andy Fantuz, Weldon Brown, Chad KilgoreWith the 2015 CFL Draft right around the corner, I figured a great subject to open up what I hope to be a running feature here at 3DownNation, something I am calling “The Friday Conversation”, would be to answer which CFL draft class is the best of all time. This might not be the most controversial question to lead off with, but I am hoping it will lead to a stirring debate and some fun, and informative, back and forth amongst myself and the readers.

With that said, my answer is simple: 2006.

Andy Fantuz, Ricky Foley, Peter Dyakowski, Jon Cornish, Dominic Picard, Jason Pottinger, Dean Valli, Luca Congi, Jon Hameister-Ries, Jeff Perrett, Étienne Boulay, Éric Deslauriers.

Between those players, you have five Most Outstanding Canadian awards, one Most Outstanding Player award and one additional nomination, one nomination for Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman, one Most Outstanding Rookie nomination, three Grey Cup Most Valuable Canadian awards, four league all-star selections and eight division all-star selections. The players mentioned have hoisted the Grey Cup a combined 18 times and played in the championship game a whopping 30 times. That is as impressive a résumé for one draft class as there is, and you would be hard pressed to find another draft class that comes anywhere close to that level of individual and team success.

And nearly 10 years later, most of the players are still playing, with many of them still producing at a high level. If he keeps up his current pace, Cornish is a shoe-in for enshrinement into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame (he might be already) and will enter the conversation for greatest Canadian player in CFL history. Fantuz could also possibly make it into the Hall of Fame, though his enshrinement might occur due to his stellar collegiate career at Western where he became, probably inarguably, the greatest receiver in CIS history. That is not to say Fantuz’s pro career has been a bust. Far from it. In 2010, for example, he became the first Canadian to lead the league in receiving yards since Dave Sapunjis did it in 1995. Picard is considered one of the best centres in the entire league, Foley can be a ferocious pass rusher (though seeing how he plays without a partner as skillful as someone like Brent Johnson or John Chick on the other side of him will really show how good he is), and Dyakowski is one of the league’s best interior linemen.

When you look at the draft class of 2006, it is loaded with award winners, Grey Cup champions and players who are consider at or near the top of the league at their respective positions. It is also the only draft class in over 40 years to be home to a CFL MOP, so the case is pretty clear: the 2006 draft class is the best of all time.

So, what do you think? Do you agree that the ’06 Draft class is the best ever? Have your say in the comment section. My hope is that these posts will generate lots of discussion (hence the name), so let’s have at it.

Josh Smith has been writing about the Ticats and the CFL since 2010 and was sporting his beard way before it was cool. Will be long after, too.