First round picks get lots of attention, but talent can be found in the late rounds of the CFL Draft.
That’s where teams can separate themselves from the pack in trying to maintain a consistently strong Canadian talent base. Current proven starters like Stampeders offensive lineman Shane Bergman (2013), Redblacks receiver Brad Sinopoli (2011), Ticats offensive lineman Ryan Bomben (2010), Alouettes offensive lineman Luc Brodeur-Jourdain (2008) and Eskimos receiver Chris Getzlaf (2007) were all selected in the fourth round or later to name a few.
Corps special teams players come from deep in the draft too. Eskimos linebacker Blair Smith, who was taken in the seventh round, 60th overall by Edmonton in 2015, is a prime example. He made 19 special teams tackles to tie for the third-most in the league last season.
Looking back on those picks now makes it easy to say they were steals, but it proves high calibre players can be found at the back end of the draft. So let’s identify five prospects from the 2016 CFL Draft that could bring a great return on investment.
Dillon Guy, offensive lineman, Buffalo
Draft spot: B.C. Lions, fourth round, 30th overall
Concerns surrounding Guy’s knee and injury history caused him to fall down the board. That said, health aside, the Hamilton native has elite abilities. If he can stay on the field B.C. might have landed a stud up front – in round four.
Felix Faubert-Lussier, receiver, Laval
Draft spot: Ticats, fifth round, 39th overall
Hamilton likely never would’ve imagined the Laval product would be available in the back half of the draft. Faubert-Lussier should contribute on special teams with his speed and toughness. The ultra-athletic and well-built receiver has the tools to become a versatile piece in Kent Austin’s offence. He could line up at various receiver positions and play some H-back.
Pierre-Luc Caron, long snapper/linebacker, Laval
Draft spot: Stampeders, fifth round, 42nd overall
The accurate long snapper held that position from day one at Laval. It’s a valuable spot that often gets taken for granted, but it certainly doesn’t get overlooked by CFL teams. Caron could be a long-time high-end snapper.
Rupert Butcher, defensive lineman, Western
Draft spot: Bombers, sixth round, 46th overall
Part of the reason Butcher slid was because some teams felt he might not be able to rush the passer from the interior. He wasn’t asked to do it very often at Western and that’s what his film showed. But at the CFL Combine, Butcher displayed burst and explosion off the line along with quick hands that he used to win almost every one-on-one rep.
Josh Stanford, receiver, Kansas/Virginia tech
Draft spot: Riders, eighth round, 62nd overall
Going into the CFL Combine, Stanford was the top rated receiver by some teams. That setting didn’t suit Stanford well and as a result, his stock plummeted. After that evaluation weekend in Toronto, Saskatchewan did plenty of background research on the talented pass catcher and Chris Jones believes that if the proper environment is provided for Stanford he can thrive.