Insider Talk: CFL scouts, personnel experts react to changes, random draw for 2021 draft

The CFL announced a number of changes to the 2021 draft last week, including a random draw that will decide the order of selections.

Photo courtesy: Brian Ray/

The changes were made due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that forced the cancellation of the 2020 U Sports season and impacted a number of conferences in the NCAA. For a full list of the changes, click the link below.

CFL using random draw to determine 2021 draft order among other changes

I communicated with a number of CFL scouts and personnel experts to gather their opinions on the changes to the upcoming draft. Here is an anonymous collection of their thoughts.


Most of it seems logical. I worry about when the CFL will provide us with a list of which kids want to defer to 2022. I hope it’s sooner than later but really, if these guys are wanting to play some spring ball, then the later the better for them.


I love the random draft order and snake style. Not a huge fan of waiting until November to decide that kids can defer. If they were gonna do that they should have done it immediately when season was cancelled. It is the right thing to do, though, to give kids the option, in my opinion.


I’m glad they’re letting kids opt out. We’re evaluating everyone right now like they’ll be available for 2021 so if they opt out, we’ll just be that much more prepared for 2022.


This was a smart way for the league to save money. We all still have to sign our picks from 2020. Limiting the number of rounds will help focus the talent pool and bring down the number of players in training camp next year. And it accommodates guys who want to go back to school and defer their draft for a year. It’s a win-win.


I’m anxious to find out where we’ll pick. Picking first sounds great until you realize 16 guys will be off the board by the time you pick again.


I think the snake style of the draft is cool and should make things fair. I hope TSN makes a big deal of the draft lottery on TV and gets fans excited. We really need the attention right now as a league.


Looks good to me. We have to be fluid in this situation. I’m cool with kids being able to opt out for 2022.


You’re gonna see a lot of guys rise and fall depending on who opts out. If all these NCAA guys opt out, there will be U Sports o-linemen who go from the fourth round to the first round just because of the numbers game.


The consensus regarding the changes to the 2021 CFL draft seems to be very positive.

The cancellation of the 2020 season will likely result in a number of veteran players retiring. This will open more jobs for young players, but that doesn’t change the fact that training camps will have two draft classes reporting at the same time.

Grading every pick in the 2020 CFL draft

Lowering the number of rounds in 2021 from eight to six will help keep numbers manageable. Assuming at least a handful of players defer from 2021 to 2022, it will prevent the bottom rounds of the draft from being dominated by players who wouldn’t normally get selected.

To learn more about the 2021 CFL draft class, be sure to follow J.C. Abbott’s outstanding Intro to Canadian Studies series in which he assesses the play of every Canadian in the NCAA.

Intro to Canadian Studies: Tropical breakout tops Week 10 NCAA action

We’ve also got our preliminary draft rankings out, though they will be subject to change as players opt out.

3DownNation 2021 CFL draft rankings 1.0

The CFL draft has traditionally taken place in late April or early May. A date for the 2021 draft has yet to be determined.

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