Save the date: Canadian Football League Draft set for May 4

Photo courtesy: CFL

After months of waiting, the 2021 CFL National Draft finally has a date to call its own.

The annual selection event for Canadian players will take place on Tuesday, May 4 starting at 7:00 p.m. ET, the league announced Tuesday.

The first two hours of the Draft will be broadcast on TSN and the rest can be followed along live on’s Draft Tracker.

Below is the draft order for the 2021 CFL Draft:

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3
1. Hamilton 10. Montreal 19. Hamilton
2. Saskatchewan 11. Calgary 20. Saskatchewan
3. Winnipeg 12. Toronto 21. Winnipeg
4. BC 13. Ottawa 22. BC
5. Edmonton 14. Edmonton 23. Edmonton
6. Ottawa 15. BC 24. Ottawa
7. Toronto 16. Winnipeg 25. Toronto
8. Calgary 17. Saskatchewan 26. Calgary
9. Hamilton via Montreal 18. Hamilton 27. Montreal


Round 4 Round 5 Round 6
28. Montreal 37. Hamilton 46. Montreal
29. Calgary 38. Saskatchewan 47. Toronto via CGY
30. Toronto 39. Winnipeg 48. Winnipeg via TOR
31. Ottawa 40. BC 49. Ottawa
32. Edmonton 41. Edmonton 50. Edmonton
33. Toronto via BC 42. Ottawa 51. BC
34. Winnipeg 43. Calgary via TOR 52. Toronto via WPG
35. Saskatchewan 44. Calgary 53. Saskatchewan
36. Hamilton 45. Montreal 54. Hamilton

In November the CFL announced tweaking its plans for its 2021 draft of Canadian players from U Sports in Canada, NCAA teams in the United States, and Canadian junior football.

General managers from the nine teams proposed the changes which were subsequently approved by the club presidents serving on the CFL’s management council.

Below are the changes along with the rationale for each one.

  • The draft order will be determined by a random draw that is equally weighted across the nine CFL clubs. Teams traditionally pick eligible players in an order based on their records in the previous season, with the team with the worst record choosing first, barring trades, to encourage parity. The 2020 CFL Draft followed that traditional format. But the CFL is not staging a season in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The 2021 CFL Draft will feature a “snake” format. That means that after teams pick in the first round, with the order determined by random draw, they will then pick in reverse order in the second round, and that pattern will continue. For example, the team that picks ninth in the first round will pick first in the second round.
  • The 2021 CFL Draft will be six rounds long instead of the traditional eight rounds. This is in recognition of the fact that 2021 CFL training camps will feature a “double cohort” of Canadian rookies, with a group from each of the 2020 and 2021 CFL Drafts.
  • There will be no territorial selections in the 2021 CFL Draft.

University-level football on each side of the Canada-US border has also made adjustments which could affect which players participate in the draft or are available to begin playing in the CFL in 2021.

In July, U Sports announced a one-time exemption to its Policy, which means that football players who did not have an opportunity to play Canadian university football this year because of the pandemic would be allowed another year of eligibility next year. In August, the NCAA Division 1 board of directors also decided to grant another year of eligibility to any fall sport athletes denied an opportunity to compete this year because of COVID-19.

In light of these changes, the CFL will allow 2021 Draft eligible players to defer their Draft year to 2022.