CFL Global Draft Position Rankings: Defensive backs

Photo courtesy: Cleveland Browns / Matt Starkey

We’ve talked a lot over the last few days about offence, but defence is where the real action is likely to happen in Thursday’s Global draft.

We’ll start today with defensive backs and while it’s true that you are unlikely to see many Global players take reps in the defensive backfield next season, there are a few with enough talent to not look out of place.

Several others could become impact special teamers, though defensive back will be unpredictable as one of the oldest position groups overall. Will a class of talented 29-year-olds be seen as players who can step in right away or prospects past their best before date?

1. Tigie Sankoh, United Kingdom, Kent Exiles

After two years with the Cleveland Browns as part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program, Sankoh is still just 25 and brings all the right skills to the table. In 80 defensive snaps during the 2019 NFL pre-season, Sankoh had five tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and a pass breakup while recording a positive Pro Football Focus grade of 73.2.

2. Tony Anderson, France, Grand View

Anderson jumped off the tape in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics as an explosive athlete who can cover the whole field and lay the lumber as a safety. At six-foot-three and 207 pounds with 32-inch arms, his build is special but it’s a minor concern that he was the rare player whose testing got worse over the past year.

3. William James, Sweden, Uppsala 86ers

A former starter at North Dakota, James is an instinctual safety with exceptional change of direction ability and great football IQ. Physical enough to play linebacker this past year, James has all the makings of an impact Global but being 29 years old could drop him significantly.

4. Roedion Henrique, Netherlands, Hildesheim Invaders

An impactful special teams player at New Mexico State, Henrique has excelled as a zone corner in Germany. He’s got the build you look for and makes up for a lack of long speed with great explosiveness.

5. Osvaldo Zumalacarregui, Mexico, Puebla Artilleros

The all-time leading tackler for the Aztecas UDLAP of Mexican college football, Zumalacarregui flies around the field like a rebel without a cause and isn’t afraid to finish. You love what he could do in kick coverage.

6. Bryan Billy, France, Thonon Black Panthers

An underwhelming athlete, Billy makes up for poor testing by being a 205-pound menace coming downhill.

7. Nicholas Peterson, Sweden, Uppsala 86ers

A tremendous man corner with great length, Peterson would translate well to special teams but is another Swedish athlete pushing 30.

8. Cosme Lozano, Mexico, Monterrey Fundidores

Only Anderson measures in taller than the six-foot-two and a half Lozano and the Mexican moves well with good open field tackling ability.

9. Oleksandr Posunko, Ukraine, Rostock Griffons

Cut up and the strongest DB available, the Global Draft’s only Ukrainian has never been afraid to get his nose dirty. Posunko is another player with a solid skill set sitting at that 29-year old threshold.

10. Maxime De Falcis, France, Kuopio Steelers

A former walk-on at Southern Utah who finished his career with the Montreal Carabins, De Falcis is a savvy safety and much better player than tester.

11. Jeronimo Arzate, Mexico, Mexico City Mexicas

Five-foot-nine and 175 pounds with bad testing numbers, there is nothing about Arzate on paper that says CFL player. His tremendous instincts stand out however and the LFA interception leader captured my attention when I watched him in person last year.

12. Carl Achy, France, Laval

Achy is pint-sized at just five-foot-seven and didn’t see the field a ton at Laval, but his special teams ability is surprising for his size and no DB ran faster than his 4.73 seconds at the Virtual Combine.

J.C. Abbott is a University of British Columbia graduate and high school football coach. He covers the CFL, B.C. Lions, CFL Draft and the three-down league's Global initiative.