Canadian receiver Josh Palmer moves to No. 1 amid top five shakeup in CFL’s Spring Scouting Bureau rankings

Photo courtesy: CFL

The Canadian Football League has published its third and final edition of the Scouting Bureau, which ranks the top-20 prospects eligible for the upcoming 2021 CFL Draft.

The three-down league’s Scouting Bureau, comprised of CFL scouts, player personnel directors, and general managers from the league’s nine teams, releases rankings three times each year: fall, winter, and spring.

Please note: The number in parentheses is the player’s ranking from the last CFL Scouting Bureau, published in January.

*Rene has transferred to Rutgers
**Dobson has transferred to Texas State

2021 CFL Draft: Refresher

The 2021 CFL Draft will take place on Tuesday, May 4 beginning at 7 p.m. ET with TSN broadcasting the first two rounds.

The CFL announced in February some modifications to this year’s CFL Draft, below is a recap:

  • The draft order was determined by a random draw that was equally weighted across the nine CFL franchises.
  • The 2021 CFL Draft will feature a “snake” format.
  • 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.
  • U Sports athletes had the opportunity to defer their draft year to 2022, if they decided to. In total, 132 prospects chose to move back their draft year to 2022.
  • NCAA players who are draft eligible in the 2021 CFL Draft, and decide to use their extra year of eligibility, will not have their draft year deferred.

Top five prospects


After finishing his senior season with Tennessee, Palmer was invited to participate in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. Palmer performed very well in practices and scored a touchdown in the game, which helped boost his NFL and CFL draft stock. During the 2020 season, Palmer led the Volunteers with 33 receptions for 475 receiving yards and four touchdowns. The Brampton, Ont. native finished his NCAA career with 99 receptions, 1,514 yards and seven touchdown receptions across 47 games.


Like Palmer, Jackson was the second of three Canadians to take part in the Senior Bowl. In his final season with the Hawkeyes, Jackson started all eight games at left tackle, and was part of an offensive line unit that ranked second in the Big Ten in fewest sacks allowed, first downs, fourth down conversions and scoring offence and third in red zone offence. In the fall and winter scouting bureau rankings, the Windsor, Ont. native was ranked the top prospect.


Holland opted out of the 2020 NCAA football season as well as his playing eligibility to enter the NFL draft. In his first two seasons at Oregon, the Coquitlam, B.C. native notched nine interceptions for the Ducks. As a freshman and sophomore, he led the team in interceptions, marking the first time an Oregon player has done that since Jarius Byrd. In two seasons he racked up 108 tackles, 71 solo, 37 assisted, 10 passes defended and 4.5 tackles for a loss. Holland also took part in punt returns where he accumulated 17 punt returns with a 15.3 yards per return average.


Ogbongbemiga had a terrific final season in Stillwater, Okla. He finished second on the team with 80 tackles, 50 solo, 30 assisted, while adding five tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. For consecutive seasons, the Calgary, AB native was named to All-Big 12 second team. He finished his collegiate career with 208 tackles, 131 solo, 77 assisted, 25 tackles for a loss, nine sacks, three fumble recoveries and one interception.


Despite missing several games due to an injury, Hubbard led the Cowboys in rushing with 625 yards, averaging 4.7 yards per carry and scoring six touchdowns (five rushing, one receiving). The six-foot, 208-pound back was named to the 2020 All-Big 12 second team. In his sophomore season, the Sherwood Park, AB native rushed for 2,094 yards and 21 majors. That led to him being named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and finishing eighth in Heisman Trophy voting. In his three seasons with the Cowboys, he rushed for 3,459 yards, scored 36 touchdowns and averaged 5.9 yards per carry. In 2020, Oklahoma State finished 20th in the final Associated Press Poll.


  • The rankings include: six offensive linemen and defensive backs, two defensive linemen, receivers and linebackers, a running back and a tight end.
  • 18 schools are represented on the list and two schools that feature two players:
    • Oklahoma State (No. 4 Amen Ogbongbemiga and No. 5 Chuba Hubbard)
    • Maine (No. 12 Liam Dobson and No. 20 Deshawn Stevens)
  • 16 prospects come from NCAA; 4 from U Sports
  • Last year, 19 of 20 prospects identified in the winter rankings were selected in the 2020 CFL Draft
  • Of the nine first round selections in the 2020 CFL Draft, six appeared in the spring rankings.