The next wave of potential Canadian stars in the CFL will be on display this weekend in Winnipeg jockeying for the highest draft spots possible at the national combine.
With the in mind, here’s a Cole’s Notes version of what you need to know about every single offensive prospect that scouts will be assessing in the Manitoba capital.
Noah Picton, Regina
Picton followed up a 2016 Hec Crighton-winning campaign with 2,653 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions and 246 rushing yards plus two majors on the ground. The Regina native was the most impressive passer at the 2016 CFL combine and that should be the case again this year.
Christian Strong, Seton Hill
During his redshirt senior season, Strong completed 55.8 per cent of his passes for 3,064 yards, 18 touchdowns, 22 interceptions in 11 games. The Brampton, Ontario native is a classic pocket passer.
Running backs and fullbacks
Alex Taylor, Western
Taylor can send the film from the Mustangs 2017 Vanier Cup victory to every CFL team and boost his stock after rushing for 150 yards on 26 carries. The Winnipeg native is an ultra-productive back who sits second Western’s all-time rushing list with 3,106 yards rushing in 26 regular season games on 377 attempts ( 8.2 yards per carry) and 26 touchdowns.
Atlee Simon, Regina
Simon deserves more CFL hype. His lower body is already built to play in the CFL. He 1,136 rushing yards and four touchdowns adding 30 receptions for 331 yards and three touchdowns.
Christopher Amoah, Laval
Amoah managed 348 yards on 48 carries (7.2 yards per carry) and one touchdown in a Rouge et Or backfield that spread carries around in 2017. Top end speed is Amoah’s best trait: 4.47 time in the 40-yard dash at the 2017 USports East-West Bowl.
Ryder Stone, Dartmouth
Stone’s senior season was his best at Dartmouth. He rushed for 675 yards (4.7 yards per carry) and four touchdowns while grabbing 20 balls for 222 yards and one touchdown. After being born in Fort Worth, Texas Stone played high school football in Calgary, Alberta and then Phillips Academy, a prep school in Massachusetts, where he starred. Track background (javelin, jumping and sprinting).
David Mackie, Western
The Mustangs rushed for a USports-leading 2,479 yards in 2017 (averaging over 309 yards per game and 7.6 yards per carry) and Mackie was a key part of that powerful ground game. And he might be an even better long snapper.
Mark Chapman, Central Michigan
Led Central Michigan in catches (54) and yards (805), Chapman is the most pro-ready receiving prospect in the draft. Brother Jarret played for the Chippewa’s and later spent time with the Ticats after going unselected in the 2015 CFL supplemental draft.
Marco Dubois, Laval
Dubois was the Rouge et Or specials teams captain and could instantly contribute in that area at the CFL level. Great size and if he was at any other university Dubois would’ve started at receiver, but needs development as a pass catcher.
Archelaus Jack, Saint Mary’s
An only-in-the-CFL twist, Jack has already spent time with a CFL team. He was on the Riders practice roster from July 12 – October 11 in 2016, but that agreement is different from a standard player contract which would have made him ineligible for the draft. Jack led the Atlantic Universiy Sports conference with 48 receptions and 731 receiving yards in eight games plus five touchdowns.
Harry McMaster, Western
McMaster was the No. 1 target on a dominant run-heavy Western offence with 582 receiving yards on 31 receptions (18.8 yards per catch average). Solid height, size and speed are reasons why scouts are intrigued by McMaster.
Etienne Moisan, Laval
Moisan is well built and put up solid numbers – 27 catches for 385 yards and three touchdowns – in a Laval offence that is balanced in the way it uses skill position players. Change of direction ability stands out most for Moisan.
Daniel Petermann, McMaster
The Marauders were young at quarterback in 2017 and Petermann still put up 517 yards. Deceptively fast – 40-yard dash time at 4.59 at last year’s East-West Bowl. Petermann has been consistently productive since being named OUA rookie of the year in 2014.
Tyrone Pierre, Laval
Pierre is an explosive athlete: 38-inch vertical, 10-foot, two-inch broad jump and 4.58 40-yard dash at the 2017 USports East-West Bowl. Production at Laval hasn’t matched those athletic traits, but scouts and coaches could be drooling at his potential as a pro.
Rashaun Simonise, Calgary
Simonise had his draft year bumped back after a doping violation. He played five games for the CJFL’s Okanagan Sun in 2017 and caught 17 balls for 230 yards and two touchdowns. There is no questioning the talent as Simonise spent training camp with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2016, but he needs to show he’s learned from mistakes made in the past.
Darius Ciraco, Calgary
Ciraco is versatile having started games at centre, guard and tackle during his university career. He’s active with a CFL-type body for an offensive lineman.
Arnaud Gendron-Dumouchel, Montreal
Tower offensive lineman – over six-foot-eight – who moves well for his size. He played both right and left tackles for the Carabins with a noticeable edge to his game.
Peter Godber, Rice
Godber played in 48 games during four seasons with the Owls, starting 35 of them. Prototypical interior lineman stature with plenty of NCAA playing experience makes Godber a must-watch at the combine.
Mark Korte, Alberta
Korte dominated Canada West competition in 2017 winning the conference lineman of the year award. His pure athletic ability had NFL teams take notice at the East-West Shrine Game in January. Scouts from both sides of the border want to see Korte add more bulk to his frame.
Justin Lawrence, Alberta
Lawrence is scrappy in the best way possible. He was a 2017 first-team All-Canadian who has quick feet, good hands and projects as a centre at the CFL level. Both Korte and Lawrence played key roles in paving the way for running back Ed Illnicki who ran for a Canada West conference record 1,468 yards on the way to earning the Hec Crighton Trophy.
Sam MacMillan, Toronto
Bloodlines are strong for MacMillan whose brother Nolan was a first round pick, ninth overall in 2013. The younger MacMillan is smaller in stature but the pedigree helps.
Andrew Pickett, Guelph
First-team All-Canadian in 2017, Pickett has been viewed as a CFL player from the day he set foot on campus for the Gryphons. Strong and stout blocker.
Ryan Sceviour, Calgary
Sceviour weighed more and posted slightly better numbers than teammate Ciraco in the timed drills at the 2017 USports East-West Bowl. He as an All-Canadian selection last season while continuing to bring his physical brand of play to the field.
Dakoda Shepley, UBC
Shepley will battle Korte as the most athletic big man at the national combine. The former hockey player moves well and finishes plays. He belongs in the top group of offensive lineman in the 2018 class.