3DownNation top 100 CFL players: No. 32 DB Marcus Sayles, B.C. Lions

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Marcus Sayles holds a prestigious record from his days at West Georgia, but it’s not one you’d normally expect from a defensive back.

The native of Alpharetta, Georgia — a suburb of Atlanta — recorded 13 blocked kicks over four seasons with the Wolves, including seven as a junior. Those numbers made Sayles one of the most prolific special teams players in the history of Division II football and remain school records.

Sayles went unselected in the 2017 NFL draft but was signed by the Buffalo Bills to an undrafted free agent contract. He played in three pre-season games — making two tackles and defending one pass — but was released among final training camp cuts.

Three months later, the Los Angeles Rams added Sayles to their practice roster. Sayles signed a futures contract with the Rams in January 2018, though L.A. let him go in April. That eventually led Sayles to sign with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The five-foot-nine, 176-pound cover man quickly earned a starting role in the secondary, recording 77 total tackles, three interceptions, two forced fumbles, and one sack in 16 games as a rookie. He continued to excel the following year, making 66 total tackles, three forced fumbles, three interceptions, and one sack.

Sayles was named a West Division all-star in 2019 and played a key role in helping the Blue Bombers win their first Grey Cup in 29 years at the boundary halfback position. This drew the attention of NFL scouts with the veteran signing a contract with the Minnesota Vikings.

The 26-year-old was cut following training camp with the Vikes in August 2020, but was brought back as a member of the practice roster for five weeks. On December 1st, he was released for good.

Sayles returned to the CFL in early January when he signed a three-year contract with the B.C. Lions. Blue Bombers’ general manager Kyle Walters told the media that the team made an offer to Sayles, but the Lions were able to offer more money.

Though it remains unclear how B.C. will deploy its talent in the secondary in 2021 — they recently signed Anthony Cioffi, as well — it’s clear that the Lions now have one of the CFL’s best groups of defensive backs.

3DownNation is unveiling its list of the top 100 active CFL players. To read the criteria for player eligibility, click here. The list to date can be found below.

33. DE Kwaku Boateng, Edmonton Football Team
34. QB Vernon Adams Jr., Montreal Alouettes
35. DB Nick Marshall, Saskatchewan Roughriders
36. DB Aaron Grymes, B.C. Lions
37. LB Larry Dean, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
38. OL Ucambre Williams, Calgary Stampeders
39. DB Ciante Evans, Montreal Alouettes
40. K/P Justin Medlock, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
41. REC DaVaris Daniels, Toronto Argonauts
42. DT Micah Johnson, B.C. Lions
43. OL Shane Bergman, Calgary Stampeders
44. SAM Don Unamba, Ottawa Redblacks
45. DB Ed Gainey, Saskatchewan Roughriders
46. DB Tommie Campbell, Toronto Argonauts
47. LB Adam Bighill, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
48. REC DeVier Posey, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
49. DT Cleyon Laing, Ottawa Redblacks
50. OL Matt O’Donnell, Edmonton Football Team
51. REC Kyran Moore, Saskatchewan Roughriders
52. SAM Kenny Ladler, Free Agent
53. DE Jackson Jeffcoat, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
54. SAM Dexter McCoil, Free Agent
55. OL Sean McEwen, Calgary Stampeders
56. REC Eugene Lewis, Montreal Alouettes
57. DB Greg Reid, Montreal Alouettes
58. DT Mike Moore, Edmonton Football Team
59. OL Ryker Mathews, B.C. Lions
60. DB Tunde Adeleke, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
61. LB Jameer Thurman, Free Agent
62. QB Matt Nichols, Toronto Argonauts
63. DB Jamar Wall, Calgary Stampeders
64. DB Loucheiz Purifoy, Saskatchewan Roughriders
65. REC Lemar Durant, B.C. Lions
66. OL Brendon LaBatte, Saskatchewan Roughriders
67. OL SirVincent Rogers, Edmonton Football Team
68. QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Free Agent
69. DB/RET Frankie Williams, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
70. DB T.J. Lee, B.C. Lions
71. QB Zach Collaros, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
72. SAM Anthony Cioffi, Free Agent
73. DB Shaquille Richardson, Toronto Argonauts
74. REC Kamar Jorden, Calgary Stampeders
75. OL Darius Ciraco, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
76. REC Jalen Saunders, Free Agent
77. QB Dane Evans, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
78. REC Brad Sinopoli, Ottawa Redblacks
79. RET Janarion Grant, Free Agent
80. DE Avery Ellis, Ottawa Redblacks
81. DE Cordarro Law, Calgary Stampeders
82. DB Brandon Alexander, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
83. OL Jermarcus Hardrick, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
84. DB Branden Dozier, Free Agent
85. SAM Otha Foster, Saskatchewan Roughriders
86. DB Antoine Pruneau, Ottawa Redblacks
87. RB John White, B.C. Lions
88. LB Avery Williams, Ottawa Redblacks
89. LB Jovan Santos-Knox, Free Agent
90. DB Richard Leonard, Calgary Stampeders
91. REC Armanti Edwards, Edmonton Football Team
92. RB C.J. Gable, Free Agent
93. DT Mike Rose, Calgary Stampeders
94. REC S.J. Green, Free Agent
95. DB Mike Edem, Saskatchewan Roughriders
96. DE John Bowman, Montreal Alouettes
97. DB Taylor Loffler, Montreal Alouettes
98. QB Nick Arbuckle, Ottawa Redblacks
99. ST Mike Miller, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
100. DE Chris Casher, B.C. Lions

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.