Justin McInnis Arkansas State University receiver
Justin McInnis Arkansas State University receiver

The CFL has published its final scouting bureau rankings ahead of the 2019 CFL draft on May 2.

1 (1) Mathieu Betts DL Laval Montreal, Que.
2 (2) Shane Richards OL Oklahoma State Calgary, Alta.
3 (3) Justin McInnis WR Arkansas State Pierrefonds, Que.
4 (17) Zach Wilkinson OL Northern Colorado Vancouver
5 (6) Hergy Mayala WR Connecticut Montreal
6 (4) Jonathan Kongbo DL Tennessee Surrey, B.C.
7 (NR) Drew Desjarlais OL Windsor Belle River, Ont.
8 (8) Maleek Irons RB Ohio Chilliwack, B.C.
9 (13) Kaion Julien-Grant WR St. FX Toronto
10 (5) Alex Fontana OL Houston Toronto
11 (NR) Brayden Lenius WR New Mexico North Vancouver, B.C.
12 (16) Samuel Thomassin OL Laval Quebec City
13 (11) Maurice Simba OL Concordia Laval, Que.
14 (NR) Jesse Gibbon OL Waterloo Hamilton, Ont.
15 (12) Robbie Smith DL Laurier Brampton, Ont.
16 (9) Kurleigh Gittens Jr. WR Laurier Ottawa
17 (19) Michael O’Connor QB UBC Orleans, Ont.
18 (10) Brady Oliveira RB North Dakota Winnipeg
19 (NR) Malcom Lee DB UBC Surrey, B.C.
20 (7) Alexandre Savard WR Laval Quebec City

 

Below are some thoughts on the ranking.

#FakeNews

The scouting bureau rankings are created based on the input of scouts, personnel people, and coaches around the league. While the list features some legitimate prospect rankings, there are always names included or withheld for the purpose of throwing off other teams.

Ranked players go in the draft’s late rounds (or even undrafted) every year, while unranked players regularly get selected in rounds two and three (or even round one).

So nobody should put too much stock in any scouting bureau ranking. That said, they’re fun to talk about and a good way to educate fans about the players available in the CFL’s annual pickfest.

Welcome to the show

Windsor offensive lineman Drew Desjarlais, New Mexico receiver Brayden Lenius-Dickey, Waterloo offensive lineman Jesse Gibbon, and UBC defensive back Malcolm Lee all made their debut on the final edition of this year’s scouting bureau.

Lenius-Dickey’s six-foot-five, 242-pound frame have teams drooling. He can play wideout, slotback, H-back, fullback, tight end, and special teams, which makes him remarkably versatile. If we see teams trade into the first round of this year’s draft — and I suspect we will — it could be for the purpose of drafting Lenius-Dickey.

Gibbon could realistically be drafted second overall this year by his hometown Tiger-Cats after receiving little buzz heading into the combine. I have spoken to multiple people who feel Gibbon is the best offensive lineman in this year’s draft, projecting as a CFL guard. He’s a name to watch out for.

Lee solidified himself as the best cover man in this year’s draft class with an impressive performance in the one-on-ones at the combine. A weak linebacker class should also help his stock given that Lee will be able to contribute on special teams.

The Beast from Belle River

Windsor offensive lineman Drew Desjarlais has become one of the highest-ranked prospects ever to make his debut on the final scouting bureau ranking.

Rice defensive tackle Christian Covington reached the number one spot in 2015 after going unranked in September and December. He has since enjoyed a solid career in the NFL, recently signing a one-year, 1.75-million dollar contract with the Dallas Cowboys.

Concordia defensive tackle Quinn Smith debuted at fourth in the final ranking in 2014 and was selected in the first round by the Stampeders. He is currently a free agent after five seasons in Calgary during which he sustained a number of injuries.

The only other player to debut at seventh or higher is Alex Singleton, now a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. Singleton is a two-time CFL all-star and was named the league’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2017.

If Desjarlais turns out anything like Singleton, he’ll make an excellent addition to whichever team chooses to draft him.

Dropping off

Ottawa defensive back Jamie Harry, Western linebacker Fraser Sopik, and Missouri defensive lineman Nate Anderson all dropped off the board, albeit for different reasons.

Harry had a weak combine and was overshadowed by UBC’s Malcolm Lee and Western’s Hakeem Johnson. His fall appears to be an accurate reflection of his draft stock.

Sopik is seen by some teams as a pure special teams player, though that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In a weak linebacker class, he won’t slide too far come draft day.

Anderson didn’t test brilliantly at the combine but should still be selected relatively high. Teams love his film, swagger, and his SEC pedigree. His departure from the draft board feels like shenanigans.

UBC receiver Trivel Pinto also dropped off the board after his draft year was deferred to 2020.

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John Hodge is a lifelong follower of the CFL who has been writing about the league since 2014. He is a two-time finalist of the Jon Gott lookalike contest.