It’s that time again — time to grade, analyze, and re-select a CFL draft.

This is the sixth annual installment of my CFL re-draft series. Click any of the following links for past articles breaking down the drafts from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 or 2015.

There are a number of factors at play in determining the quality of a draft class — player development, playing time, coaching, trades, free agency, roster depth, and injuries. I’ve tried to consider all of these in my assessment, though this process is hardly scientific.

Keeping with the rating scheme of previous re-drafts, player selections will be graded as follows. Grades may be tweaked slightly depending on games played and overall production.

5 — perennial all-star
4 — consistent starter
3 — situational starter and/or strong depth player
2 — special teamer and/or distant depth player
1 — minimal contributor, has been released or has retired
0 — never appeared in a CFL regular season game

Grades only reflect the impact a player had with the team that drafted him. If John Doe is drafted and immediately released by Team A, it doesn’t matter if he becomes a perennial all-star with Team B; Team A would still receive a grade of zero for their selection.

Feel free to follow along with the whole draft here.

B.C. Lions

 

Vaillancourt struggled with injuries during a three-year stint with the Lions, appearing in 29 games between 2016 and 2017. He missed the entire 2018 season due to injury and has not been under contract with a CFL team since.

Thompson was the first defensive back selected in 2016 and rewarded the Lions by becoming a capable starter at safety and field-side cornerback. Though he was a late re-addition after becoming a free agent in 2019, the 29-year-old has still generated 102 tackles, four interceptions, and one forced fumble in 64 career games. Thompson is not currently under contract.

Blaszko was released after training camp in 2017, later resurfacing on Winnipeg’s practice roster. Traded to Saskatchewan that same year, Blaszko would appear in two games with the Roughriders without making a reception.

Guy was cut following training camp with an offer to join the Lions’ practice roster. Chris Jones swooped in before the paperwork was finalized, however, and brought the 315-pounder to Saskatchewan. Guy would later bounce around on practice rosters in Calgary and Ottawa before dressing with Montreal late in 2018.

Johnson has been the most impactful player from the Lions’ 2016 draft class, which is impressive for a fourth-round pick. The former Mustang became a starter in 2017 and has since caught 97 passes for 1,454 yards and seven touchdowns. Arguably the fastest player in the class — he ran a 4.47 forty-yard dash at the combine — has made him one of the league’s best Canadian deep threats.

O’Halloran spent time on B.C.’s practice roster in 2016 but never dressed for a game. He would appear in five contests with Montreal in 2017.

Van Nistelrooy and Richardson were released after of training camp and never signed another CFL contract.

Calgary Stampeders

 

Singleton became Calgary’s starting middle linebacker as a rookie and would go on to record 328 tackles, six forced fumbles, four sacks, and one interception in 54 games. The two-time CFL all-star signed with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles in 2019, dressing for ten games and recording five total tackles.

Brescacin had a breakout season with Calgary in 2018, catching 35 balls for 567 yards and three touchdowns. The former Huskie signed a big contract ahead of 2019 but suffered a season-ending knee injury that forced him to miss 14 games. He recently signed a contract with his hometown Toronto Argonauts as a free agent.

Grozman made the team in 2016 and appeared in eight games. After missing the 2017 season due to injury, Grozman retired in May 2018.

Bolduc was cut following training camp in Calgary but quickly signed a deal with the Redblacks. He has since dressed for 61 games in Ottawa, making 53 special teams tackles, one interception, and one forced fumble.

Caron replaced long-time long snapper Randy Chevrier in 2016 and has since played 71 of a possible 72 games in red and white.

Horton was converted to the offensive line in training camp but was cut before the season started. He was released the following season after participating in camp with the B.C. Lions.

Kashak was sent back to school in 2016 but signed again with the club in 2017. He would appear in nine games, making six tackles.

Edmonton Eskimos

 

Smith and Colquhoun were high-risk selections on draft day as the pair were under contract with the Indianapolis Colts and Dallas Cowboys, respectively.

Smith would spend time with Indianapolis, Oakland, and Jacksonville, dressing for two games with the Colts in 2016. He eventually signed with the Eskimos in February 2019 and started 15 games as a CFL rookie, catching 55 passes for 632 yards and six touchdowns. He remains signed through 2020.

Colquhoun was cut after training camp in Dallas and signed with Edmonton one year later. The cornerback has struggled with injuries through three seasons with the team, recording 52 tackles and two interceptions in 24 games. Colquhoun started seven games in 2019 at field-side cornerback and recently signed a contract with the Toronto Argonauts.

Woodman appeared in 33 games with Edmonton from 2016 to 2018, making 51 tackles, one sack, one interception, and one forced fumble. He followed former Eskimos’ general manager Ed Hervey to B.C. in 2019, recording one tackle in nine games. Woodman is currently a free agent.

Parrish appeared in just four games in 2017 due to injury, making two special teams tackles. He was briefly back with the team on the practice roster in 2018, but didn’t see the field.

Lalama returned to the University of Manitoba in 2016 where he became the second Bison ever to win the Presidents’ Trophy. Released following training camp in 2017, he signed in Montreal where recorded 10 special teams tackles in 15 games. After missing the entire 2018 season due to injury, Lalama split 2019 between Winnipeg and Montreal, recording 34 tackles and one sack.

Corby retired two days into his first training camp.

Saskatchewan Roughriders

 

St. John’s missed training camp in 2016 due to a contract dispute and his develop never seemed to recover. He started just eight games over three seasons in Saskatchewan before signing with Toronto in 2019. Cut after training camp, St. John would join the practice roster in B.C. before dressing with the Eskimos in November’s East Final. Remarkably, the Oklahoma product recently rejoined the Roughriders as a free agent.

Bouka slid down the board after he was signed by the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted free agent eight days before the draft. Suffering a hamstring injury with the Cards, Bouka would miss the 2016 season before signing with the Riders in 2017. He signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018, though he returned to Regina for 2019. All in all, the Calgary product has made 11 tackles and one interception in 22 games with the Riders.

Van Gylswyk spent most of his time in Regina on the practice roster, though he appeared in two games. The Victoria native went one-of-three on field goal attempts and was eventually released. He has since had brief stints in Montreal and B.C., though he has yet to dress for another regular season game.

Onyemata was the top-ranked player heading into the draft after being selected in the fourth round of the NFL draft by the New Orleans Saints. The former Bison has since rewarded the Saints by recording 123 tackles, 9.5 sacks, and one forced fumble while developing into a full-time starter. It’s safe to presume the native of Lagos, Nigeria will never play a down in the CFL.

Ogbongbemiga was traded to Edmonton after appearing in just one game with the green and white. He would dress for ten games with the Eskimos before playing one contest with the Lions in 2017.

Stanford bided his time with the team, eventually becoming a starter in 2018. He caught 17 passes for 165 yards that season before being traded to the Alouettes. Cut by the Lions in training camp in 2019, Stanford has since announced his retirement.

McKay never dressed for a regular season CFL game.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers

 

Corney appeared in 34 games in his first two years, making 29 tackles and four sacks. The physical freak suffered a season-ending injury early in 2018 and elected not to return to the CFL in the off-season, announcing his retirement.

Couture spent his first three seasons in Winnipeg as the club’s sixth lineman but was named the team’s starting centre following Matthias Goossen’s retirement. The 26-year-old started all 18 regular season games in 2019 and is the only player in the draft class who has yet to miss a regular season game. He recently signed a two-year extension with Winnipeg through 2021.

Loffler fell down the board on draft day due to his history of knee injuries. That didn’t stop him from becoming the team’s starting safety and being named a league all-star in his first three seasons. The UBC product signed with Montreal as a free agent in February 2019 but unfortunately suffered another torn ACL in August. He is planning a return for the 2020 season.

Gauthier has 40 special teams tackles in 49 career games with Winnipeg, also forcing one fumble. The Laval product made headlines in 2019 West Final when he caught Nick Marshall from behind on what appeared to be a surefire return touchdown late in the game.

Intzandt returned to McMaster for the 2016 season but was released after training camp the following year in Winnipeg. He would later sign with Ottawa, dressing for two games midway through the 2017 season.

Renaud battled injuries throughout his career, appearing in just 14 games between Winnipeg and Hamilton. Recording seven total tackles, the Windsor product hasn’t seen action since July 2018.

Butcher and Vitt never dressed for a regular season CFL game.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats

 

Revenberg was named a CFL all-star in 2018 and 2019 and is widely considered one of the league’s best interior blockers. He was also the East Division’s nominee for Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman in 2018 at just 25 years of age.

Timmis recorded just 52 carries in three seasons with the Ticats, rushing for 231 yards and four touchdowns. Though he also chipped in 17 special teams tackles, the Burlington native never quite lived up to the hype that accompanied him on draft day. Timmis signed with Toronto as a free agent in 2019 but announced his retirement shortly after the season started.

Jones enjoyed a breakout season in 2018, making 49 receptions for 841 yards and three touchdowns. That production plummeted to 22 grabs for 319 yards and no scores in 2019 despite starting all 18 regular season games. He is currently a free agent.

Davis appeared in 51 games with the Ticats, making 31 total tackles and two sacks. Signing with his hometown B.C. Lions as a free agent in February 2019, Davis surprised the club by announcing his retirement just prior to training camp.

Faubert-Lussier made the team in Hamilton in 2017 and would dress for 27 games over two years, making 23 catches and four special teams tackles. He signed with the Alouettes in 2019, catching nine passes in 13 starts at field-side wide receiver and still remains with the team.

Douglas dressed for just four games with Hamilton in 2016, making two special teams tackles. He has been out of football since 2017.

Barnett appeared in 29 games with the Ticats over two seasons, recording 12 total tackles. He signed with the B.C. Lions as a free agent in 2018 and recorded ten total tackles with one forced fumble. The UBC product missed the 2019 season due to injury but remains under contract with B.C. through 2020.

Uren dressed for one game with Hamilton in 2016. He is now out of football and works as a crossfit trainer in London, Ontario.

Toronto Argonauts

Rd Pick Pos Player Name College Grade
1 4 REC Brian Jones Acadia 2
2 13 OL D.J. Sackey Toronto 1
3 22 OL Jamal Campbell York 4
4 27 RB Declan Cross McMaster 3
4 31 REC Llevi Noel Toronto 3
5 40 LB Curtis Newton Guelph 1
6 49 OL Chris Kolankowski York 1
7 58 DB Johnathan Ngeleka Muamba McMaster 0
8 66 RB Ryan Nieuwesteeg Guelph 0

 

Toronto’s 2016 draft class is one defined by region. The team selected nine U Sports products — eight of whom played in the OUA — and zero NCAA players. The western-most school represented is Guelph, which is located an hour west of Toronto.

Jones wasn’t dominant with the Axemen but shot up draft boards with an excellent performance at the combine. Making 12 catches and 12 special teams tackles in 24 games with Toronto, Jones was traded to Saskatchewan in 2018 before signing with the Ticats in 2019. He has made just two receptions since his rookie season in 2016.

Sackey spent four years with the Argos, dressing for 13 games as he bounced between the active and practice rosters. Released in 2019, the Mississauga native has since been a member of the practice rosters in Ottawa and Edmonton. He is currently a free agent.

Campbell was a backup in Toronto for three seasons before a breakout year in 2019 during which he started 11 games at right tackle. The six-foot-seven blocker is still just 26 years of age and recently signed a lucrative three-year contract extension with the Boatmen.

Though he battled injuries in 2019, Cross has quickly established himself as one of the CFL’s best fullbacks. With 77 receptions for 682 yards and seven touchdowns in 66 career games, the Oakville native has produced more yardage than many of the receivers who were drafted in 2016.

Noel leads the entire 2016 draft class with career 64 special teams tackles, which is impressive considering he’s also been effective as a receiver. Making 28 catches for 829 yards and four touchdowns, the hometown product recently re-signed with his hometown Argonauts.

Newton dressed for 16 games as a rookie, making five special teams tackles. Cut in 2017, the Guelph product has since found a permanent home with the Ticats, notching 20 total tackles in 36 games over the past two seasons.

Kolankowski made the Argos in 2017 and dressed for 22 games over two seasons with the team. Cut prior to the 2019 season, the 27-year-old was out of football for a year before signing with Blue Bombers.

Muamba and Nieuwesteeg never dressed for regular season CFL games.

Ottawa Redblacks

Rd Pick Pos Player Name College Grade
1 7 OL Jason Lauzon-Seguin Laval 4
2 16 DB Mikael Charland Concordia 1
3 25 DL Mehdi Abdesmad Boston College 0
4 34 LB Kevin Jackson Sam Houston State 1
5 43 OL Randy Beardy Windsor 1
6 45 OL Kyle Fraser-Audit Guelph 0
7 54 LB Arto Khatchikian Concordia 0
7 60 REC Jamal Kett Western 0
8 69 LB Guillaume Tremblay-Lebel Laval 0

 

Lauzon-Seguin contributed immediately as a rookie at right tackle, even starting in the team’s Grey Cup victory. Named Ottawa’s Most Outstanding Rookie in 2016 and an East Division all-star in 2017, the Laval product just needs to stay healthy to remain one of the league’s top ratio-breaking tackles.

Charland dressed for just three games with Ottawa as a rookie before being released. He has since been a member of the Alouettes, Redblacks (again), and Eskimos, recording one special teams tackle. This pick was a complete miss with Arjen Colquhoun and Taylor Loffler still on the board.

Abdesmad made the Tennesse Titans as an undrafted free agent in 2016, dressing for two games and making one tackle. Released the following year, the Montreal native was briefly with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before retiring from professional football.

Jackson dressed for just five games over two seasons in Ottawa before he was cut. Signing in Edmonton in 2017, the Texas native made three special teams tackles in 13 games with the Eskimos but is now out of football.

Beardy dressed for one game as a rookie but didn’t make the club again in 2017. He has been out of football since.

Fraser-Audit, Khatchikian, Kett, and Tremblay-Lebel never dressed for a regular season CFL game.

Montreal Alouettes

 

Gagnon got off to a hot start in Montreal, dressing for all 18 regular season games as a rookie and regularly starting at guard. Injuries got in the way, however, with the Laval product dressing for just 18 games between 2017 and 2018 combined. Allowed to pursue free agency last year, Gagnon signed with Ottawa where he started seven games in 2019.

Moore was an off-the-board selection who didn’t pan out in La Belle Province. Released after one season in Montreal, Moore landed in Ottawa where he spent time on the practice roster. The McMaster product signed with B.C. in 2018 where has dressed for 25 games, contributing on special teams while recording 177 yards from scrimmage. He also served as half of the CFL’s best hit from the 2019 regular season.

Jamieson got off to a slow start in Montreal, but has developed into a solid blocker. The Winnipeg native started 14 games with the club in 2019 between right guard and right tackle, providing the team with valuable versatility along the offensive line.

Johnson started a number of games for the Alouettes at field-side wide receiver for two seasons, making 23 receptions for 264 yards and three touchdowns. He has not been under contract since 2018.

Fraser, Tims, Zepeda, and Toppan never appeared in CFL regular season games.

Final Grades

Team Total Grade Average Grade per Pick Picks still with Team
1 Hamilton Tiger-Cats 19 2.38 1
2 Toronto Argonauts 15 1.67 3
3 Winnipeg Blue Bombers 15 1.88 2
4 Edmonton Eskimos 11 1.83 1
5 Calgary Stampeders 13 1.86 1
6 B.C. Lions 11 1.38 1
7 Montreal Alouettes 10 1.25 1
8 Saskatchewan Roughriders 8 1.14 2
9 Ottawa Redblacks 7 0.77 1

 

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats finish atop our scorecard due to their strong average grade of 2.38 per pick. Though the club has retained only one selection from 2016, that player is Brendon Revenberg — arguably the best member of the draft class still playing in the CFL.

Toronto had a very nice draft and have retained three southern Ontario products in Jamal Campbell, Declan Cross, and Llevi Noel. The trio highlight the important of midround picks, considering none were selected in the draft’s first two rounds.

Ottawa finishes at the bottom with little success beyond the selection of Jason Lauzon-Seguin in the first round. Fortunately for the Redblacks, Lauzon-Seguin has developed into a solid tackle capable of starting on the right side.

Re-Draft

Knowing what we know now about player development, injuries, NFL opportunities, and more, here are how the first two rounds of the 2016 CFL draft may have looked.

Round 1, Pick 1: OL Brandon Revenberg – Saskatchewan Roughriders

Original draft: Round 1, Pick 3 – Hamilton Tiger-Cats

If you have the opportunity to draft a perennial all-star along the offensive line, you do it. Revenberg would have been a stud with the Riders.

Round 1, Pick 2: LB Alex Singleton – Montreal Alouettes

Original draft: Round 1, Pick 6 – Calgary Stampeders

Singleton only misses out on being the first overall selection because of his relatively quick departure for the NFL. He dominates in Montreal for three seasons before leaving for Philadelphia.

Round 1, Pick 3: OL Michael Couture – Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Original draft: Round 2, Pick 10 – Winnipeg Blue Bombers

With Revenberg already off the board, Hamilton goes with the next-best interior blocker available. Couture is able to contribute for the Ticats at centre and guard.

Round 1, Pick 4: REC Juwan Brescacin – Toronto Argonauts

Original draft: Round 2, Pick 15 – Calgary Stampeders

The Argos select the Mississauga native they just signed in free agency, getting him four years ahead of schedule. He makes an immediate impact at slotback, an area of need in The Six.

Round 1, Pick 5: DB Taylor Loffler – B.C. Lions

Original draft: Round 3, Pick 19 – Calgary Stampeders

A wrong is made right in our re-draft with the Lions drafting this native of Kelowna and product of UBC. Loffler wastes little time before becoming B.C.’s starting safety.

Round 1, Pick 6: REC Llevi Noel – Calgary Stampeders

Original draft: Round 4, Pick 31 – Toronto Argonauts

With Singleton and Brescacin off the board, the Stamps look to the Toronto product for help on special teams and in the receiving corps.

Round 1, Pick 7: OL Jason Lauzon-Seguin — Ottawa Redblacks

Original draft: Round 1, Pick 7 – Ottawa Redblacks

There’s no need to fix what was never broken. Lauzon-Seguin remains a perfect positional, cultural, and geographical fit in Ottawa.

Round 1, Pick 8: DB Arjen Colquhoun – Edmonton Eskimos

Original draft: Round 2, Pick 17 – Edmonton Eskimos

The Esks still secure the cornerback’s rights — they just do so one round earlier. Teams originally thought Colquhoun would be in the NFL for awhile, but he ended up signing a CFL contract by 2017.

Round 2, Pick 9: OL Sean Jamieson – Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Original draft: Round 3, Pick 20 – Montreal Alouettes

The Blue Bombers get help along the offensive line in a big-bodied blocker who also happens to be a native of Winnipeg.

Round 2, Pick 10: REC Shaquille Johnson – Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Original draft: Round 4, Pick 32 – B.C. Lions

The speedy pass catcher moves up 22 spots in our re-draft, finding a home with the Blue Bombers.

Round 2, Pick 11: OL Philippe Gagnon – Montreal Alouettes

Original draft: Round 1, Pick 3 – Montreal Alouettes

Montreal still drafts the local guard, but is able to do so one round later.

Round 2, Pick 12: REC Tevaun Smith – B.C. Lions

Original draft: Round 1, Pick 8 – Edmonton Eskimos

The Lions need to wait a few years for Smith to sign from the NFL, but he immediately becomes one of the league’s best national pass catchers.

Round 2, Pick 13: OL Jamal Campbell – Toronto Argonauts

Original draft: Round 3, Pick 22 – Toronto Argonauts

Campbell still ends up with his local squad but moves up nine spots in the process.

Round 2, Pick 14: FB Declan Cross – Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Original draft: Round 4, Pick 27 – Toronto Argonauts

Hamilton grabs the McMaster product who immediately becomes a weapon in the red zone.

Round 2, Pick 15: DB Anthony Thompson – Calgary Stampeders

Original draft: Round 2, Pick 12 – B.C. Lions

Thompson takes his talents to Calgary where the club needs depth at safety and cornerback.

Round 2, Pick 16: DB Jean-Philippe Bolduc – Ottawa Redblacks

Original draft: Round 5, Pick 38 – Calgary Stampeders

Ottawa still ends up with one of the best special teams players in the class — this time they get him on draft day.

Round 2, Pick 17: REC Mike Jones – Edmonton Eskimos

Original draft: Round 3, Pick 18 – Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Jones moves up exactly one spot, joining an Edmonton squad that was unable to select Tevaun Smith this time around.

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John Hodge
John Hodge is a CFL insider and draft analyst who has been covering the league since 2014. He is a two-time finalist in the Jon Gott lookalike contest.