A comprehensive guide to Canadians and former CFLers in NFL training camps

With NFL training camps opening across the United States, it’s time to remind ourselves about the Canadians and former CFLers looking to make their mark down south.

DL Mehdi Abdesmad – Tennessee Titans (N)

CFL rights holder: Ottawa Redblacks

Abdesmad, a third-round selection in last year’s CFL draft, was mostly a reserve player with the Titans a season ago. He’ll look to get regular snaps on defence in 2017.

DL Eli Ankou – Houston Texans (N)

CFL rights holder: Ottawa Redblacks

Ankou joins fellow Canadian Christian Covington along the interior of Houston’s defensive line. Many scouts believe Ankou could be one of the most impactful undrafted players from this year’s NFL class.

TE Antony Auclair – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (N)

CFL rights holder: Saskatchewan Roughriders

The Laval product has lots to learn about the NFL game, but his size, athleticism, and sweet hands will help his bid for a roster spot in the Bay.

LB Alex Bazzie – Arizona Cardinals (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Bazzie has bounced around a lot this off-season — he’s already been released by Indianapolis and Carolina this off-season — but his lanky frame and quickness off the edge will get him plenty of NFL looks.

DL Frank Beltre – New York Jets (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Beltre had just three sacks in 26 career CFL games, but he’ll still get a shot at outside linebacker alongside former Stampeder teammate Freddie Bishop III.

LB Adam Bighill – New Orleans Saints (I)

CFL rights holder: None

The four-time CFL all-star will look to make the Saints as a special teams ace. He may be undersized for the NFL, but Bighill’s quickness, intelligence, and toughness make him a likely bet to earn a spot on the Saints’ 53-man roster.

DL Freddie Bishop III – New York Jets (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Bishop started three games for New York after spending most of the season on the practice roster. He’ll look to build off that in 2017.

DB Elie Bouka – Arizona Cardinals (N)

CFL rights holder: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Arizona kept Bouka on injured reserve all of last season after he suffered a hamstring injury in training camp, a strong indication the Cardinals are high on Calgary product.

OL Brett Boyko – Los Angeles Chargers (N)

CFL rights holder: B.C. Lions

Having exhausted his NFL practice roster eligibility in Philadelphia (2015) and San Diego (2016), 2017 will be a make-or-break year for the former second-round CFL draft pick.

DB Delvin Breaux – New Orleans Saints (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Breaux had an injury-riddled encore to a breakout 2015 season that saw him voted the club’s defensive MVP on the Saints’ website. Breaux, now healthy, will look to regain his 2015 form.

DL Stefan Charles – Jacksonville Jaguars (N)

CFL rights holder: Edmonton Eskimos

Charles continues to find work south of the border, now with his fourth team since 2013.

DL Christian Covington – Houston Texans (N)

CFL rights holder: B.C. Lions

Covington’s role with the Texans increased in his sophomore season, earning five starts in 2016. That workload should only increase following the departure of future hall of fame nose tackle Vince Wilfork.

DL Tyrone Crawford – Dallas Cowboys (N)

CFL rights holder: None

Crawford recorded 28 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 14 starts with the Cowboys last season. Needless to say, Crawford is never coming north.

OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif – Kansas City Chiefs (N)

CFL rights holder: Calgary Stampeders

Fresh-off a five-year, $41.25 million contract extension, Duvernay-Tardif has become one of the NFL’s best young interior offensive linemen.

DB Otha Foster – Baltimore Ravens (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Foster looks to turn years of success at the CFL’s tough strong-side linebacker position into a special teams/depth defender role with the Ravens.

OL Orlando Franklin – New Orleans Saints (N)

CFL rights holder: None

Recently released by the Chargers after just the second year of a five-year, $36.5 million contract, Franklin has found a new home in New Orleans.

LB Jerrell Freeman – Chicago Bears (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Freeman has become a solid starter at linebacker for the Bears. He also recently saved a man’s life by performing the Heimlich maneuver at an airport in Austin, Texas.

OL Geoff Gray – Green Bay Packers (N)

CFL rights holder: Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Some people I’ve talk to are convinced the eighth overall pick in this year’s CFL draft will stick down south for close to a decade. Others are confident he’ll be playing for Winnipeg by next season.

DB Aaron Grymes – Philadelphia Eagles (I)

CFL rights holder: None

The former Eskimo halfback enters his second NFL season after spending most of 2016 on the practice roster in Philly.

DB Erik Harris – New Orleans Saints (I)

CFL rights holder: None

The former Ticat defender was making waves on the Saints’ special teams units before tearing his ACL last October.

WR Dontrelle Inman – Los Angeles Chargers (I)

CFL rights holder: None

The former Argonaut had a breakout season with the Chargers a season ago, recording 810 receiving yards and four touchdowns.

DB Josh Johnson – Jacksonville Jaguars (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Johnson got spot duty with the Jags’ defence a season ago, possibly seeing his role increase in 2017.

OL Brett Jones – New York Giants (N)

CFL rights holder: None

Jones is entering the final season of the three-year pact he inked with New York in February of 2015. This is a make-or-break year for the former Stampeder.

WR T.J. Jones – Detroit Lions (N)

CFL rights holder: None

Spending most of last season on Detroit’s practice roster, Jones has never shown interest in playing CFL football.

LB Jeff Knox Jr. – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (I)

CFL rights holder: None

The former Rider will look to make an impact on Tampa Bay’s special teams as a rookie in 2017.

LB Deon Lacey – Miami Dolphins (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Lacey was one of the CFL’s few NFL departures to get a decent signing bonus this winter, an indication the Dolphins see him as a serious contender to make the squad.

LS L.P. Ladoceur – Dallas Cowboys (N)

CFL rights holder: None

The Montreal-native enters his 13th season as the Cowboys’ long snapper.

P Richie Leone – Arizona Cardinals (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Leone, the Lions’ former kicker/punter, looks to make the NFL performing only punting duties.

LB Boseko Lokombo – Baltimore Ravens (N)

CFL rights holder: None

Lokombo was supposed to be a lock as a high-round NFL draft pick coming out of Oregon in 2014. After three seasons in Canada, this is Lokombo’s chance to make waves down south.

WR Chris Matthews – Baltimore Ravens (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Matthews enters his fourth NFL season since starring with Winnipeg in 2012-2013. His breakout performance in Super Bowl XLIX is old news, making this a make-or-break season for the 6’5 pass catcher.

DB Dexter McCoil – Los Angeles Chargers (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Making two starts with the Chargers as an NFL rookie in 2016, McCoil’s role with Los Angeles should only increase in his second season with the club.

WR/KR Quincy McDuffie – Free Agent (I)

CFL rights holder: None

McDuffie, signed by the Cowboys this past winter, is currently a free agent on both sides of the border. He is expected to exhaust his NFL opportunities before considering a return to the CFL.

LB Andy Mulumba – Los Angeles Rams (N)

CFL rights holder: Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Mulumba’s looking to crack an NFL roster after his practice roster eligibility has been exhausted. Key training camp for him.

DB John Ojo – Free Agent (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Ojo was released by the New York Jets this past May, one month after signing with the team. Ojo, who missed the entire 2016 season due to an Achilles injury, may need to play another year in the CFL to garner future NFL interest.

OL Michael Ola – Buffalo Bills (I)

CFL rights holder: None

The former Alouette continues to find work south of the border.

DL David Onyemata – New Orleans Saints (N)

CFL rights holder: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Onyemata’s role in New Orleans should increase in his second NFL season with former first-round pick Nick Fairley unlikely to play again due to a heart condition.

OL Austin Pasztor – Free Agent (N)

CFL rights holder: Edmonton Eskimos

With 43 NFL starts under his belt, Pasztor is likely to find work again down south.

LB Brian Peters – Houston Texans (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Peters has become a force on the Texans’ special teams units over his two years with the club.

DB Jeff Richards – Carolina Panthers (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Richards will look to make the Panthers’ roster after a breakout season with Ottawa in 2016.

WR Eric Rogers – Free Agent (I)

CFL rights holder: None

One of the mostly highly sought-after CFL departees in recent years, Rogers visited sixteen NFL teams before signing with San Francisco in January of 2016. Suffering a torn ACL in training camp last year, Rogers is now a free agent.

P Jon Ryan – Seattle Seahawks (N)

CFL rights holder: None

Ryan enters his twelfth NFL season on a club that could push for another Super Bowl in 2017.

OL Justin Senior – Seattle Seahawks (N)

CFL rights holder: Edmonton Eskimos

A sixth-round selection in this year’s NFL draft, Senior will look to earn playing time on a Seattle offensive line that has struggled in recent years.

WR Tevaun Smith – Indianapolis Colts (N)

CFL rights holder: Edmonton Eskimos

The eighth overall pick of the 2016 CFL draft spent most of last season on the Colts’ practice roster.

DB Terrell Sinkfield – Minnesota Vikings (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Sinkfield failed to make the Vikings last season and underwhelmed in B.C. during the Lions’ stretch run to the playoffs. He’s now seeking to make the Vikings as a defensive back.

DL Brent Urban – Baltimore Ravens (N)

CFL rights holder: Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Urban was a strong rotational pass rusher for Baltimore a season ago, recording ten tackles and two sacks in sixteen games.

OL Greg Van Roten – Carolina Panthers (I)

CFL rights holder: None

The former Argonaut will look to make the Panthers as Ryan Kalil’s back-up at centre.

DL Cameron Wake – Miami Dolphins (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Wake is arguably the best NFL player the CFL has ever produced, recording 81.5 sacks in eight seasons with the Miami Dolphins. The former Lion’s career earnings sit at a cool $35.85 million.

WR Derel Walker – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Walker is likely to make the Buccaneers’ active roster after receiving a sizeable signing bonus in the off-season, but getting playing time behind Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson may be easier said than done.

DB Mitchell White – Philadelphia Eagles (I)

CFL rights holder: None

White will look to build off an impressive two-year CFL stint between Montreal and Ottawa.

TE Luke Willson – Seattle Seahawks (N)

CFL rights holder: Toronto Argonauts

Willson enters the 2017 season fresh-off a one-year, $3 million extension with Seattle.

*‘N’ denotes national, ‘I’ denotes international

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