Top NFL draft prospects Chase Claypool, Neville Gallimore could make Canadian history together

Never before have two players from Canada been selected in the first round of the NFL draft in the same year. Thursday night, Abbotsford’s Chase Claypool and Ottawa’s Neville Gallimore have a chance to complete the feat.

Just five Canadians have ever heard the NFL commissioner announce their names in the first round: receiver N’Keal Harry, 2019; offensive lineman Danny Watkins, 2011; running back Tim Biakabutuka, 1996; offensive lineman Tony Mandarich, 1989; and offensive lineman Mike Schad, 1986.

Canadian athletes have been chosen in the first and second rounds of the same NFL draft twice: Watkins and offensive lineman Orlando Franklin in 2011 and Schad and defensive lineman Markus Koch in 1986.

Canucks even came off the board in the first, second and third rounds of the 1986 NFL draft in Schad, Koch and running back Rueben Mayes.

Claypool has a rare combination of size and athleticism making him a matchup nightmare. The Canadian Megatron can speed past defensive backs or use his ultra-physical mindset to beat press and create space against linebackers.

Imagine Claypool being paired with creative offensive minds in the NFL for example New Orleans Saints’ head coach Sean Payton or playing alongside a franchise quarterback like the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers. His potential seems limitless.

The same could be said for Gallimore’s upside. His athletic ability is at an elite level following five years of development at one of the best programs in the NCAA. After redshirting in 2015 at the University of Oklahoma, he played 52 games for the Sooners — battled-tested and pro-ready.

The six-foot-two, 305-pounder possesses explosive ability off the line, running a 1.69 10-yard split on his 4.79 forty-yard dash. Gallimore has fast-twitch muscles which will arm him for success at the NFL level. He can dunk a basketball with essentially zero runway.

Two special young men in Claypool and Gallimore have a shot to earn the ultimate compliment from NFL personnel men while making Canadian football history at the same time.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.