It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
CFL Draft season is upon us and the big day is just days away. Wondering what gifts your team could be receiving this year? 3DownNation has you covered.
Every day in the lead-up to the draft, we’ll give you our assessment of the top players at each position. Today, we’re starting with a triple-header, knocking off all three offensive backfield positions in one go.
From explosive running backs to bruising fullbacks, when we look back on the 2021 CFL Draft a decade from now, these might be some of the biggest names.
There is even a legitimate QB prospect in there to boot, just to make the season extra merry.
1. Mike Beaudry, Idaho Vandals (Regina, SK)
Raised for most of his childhood in Orlando, Fla., Beaudry is still a proud Regina native. He helped lead West Florida to an NCAA Division II National Championship in the program’s second season in 2017 before jumping to UConn in 2019.
Beat out for the starting job by fellow Canadian Jack Zergiotis, he moved to Idaho this season and just wrapped up his spring season. Likely headed back to school, Beaudry has shown enough flashes to merit a late-round flyer, but has a lot to clean up about his game.
2. Andreas Dueck, McMaster Marauders (Winnipeg, MB)
Dueck helped lead the Marauders to an upset victory in the 2019 Yates Cup, but has a long way to go as a passer before being considered a CFL prospect.
3. Sam Girard, Windsor Lancers (Amhertsburg, ON)
Slightly less athletic than Dueck, Girard has put together some truly impressive games behind centre for a bad Windsor program, but has never been considered among the U Sports elite at the position.
1. Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State Cowboys (Sherwood Park, AB)
After setting the NCAA world ablaze with a 2,000-yard season in 2019, Hubbard put forward a disappointing 2020 campaign. Once considered a potential first rounder, the former Heisman Trophy candidate will likely find a home in the late rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Like most running backs, Hubbard has proved to be largely system dependent and he struggles to create when plays break down, choosing instead to rely on his impressive initial burst. An inconsistent pass protector who wasn’t showcased as a receiver in Stillwater, the Canadian Cowboy may struggle to find a role in an NFL backfield rotation as a late-round pick.
That has CFL teams licking their lips, as Hubbard could be a difference-maker in the more open Canadian game and would easily slide in as a full-time starter if he makes his way back north.
2. Kyle Borsa, Regina Rams (Regina, SK)
Most of the prospects in this draft didn’t play last year, but Borsa has been out of the game since his breakout 2018 campaign after testing positive for steroids.
Now clean, past PED violations have rarely scared away CFL teams and Borsa is an intriguing prospect. He blew up the virtual National Combine with a blazing 4.46 forty-yard dash and 10-foot-two-inch broad jump. Scouts will question those numbers due to the format but both were better than Hubbard.
Two years ago, Borsa looked like a future star with great burst, deceptive wiggle and the ability to contribute in the receiving game. If teams believe that projection holds true, the Regina native will go very high.
3. Deonté Glover, Shepherd Rams (Inwood, WV)
A late addition to the draft after it was revealed he spent five years in Canada as a child, Glover was a man amongst boys at the NCAA Division II level, putting up more than 2,000 all-purpose yards as a senior.
Level of competition will be a concern for teams and Glover is a step behind Borsa athletically, but he proved to have excellent vision and elusiveness in college. A compact runner at five-foot-nine and 216 pounds, Glover’s experience as both a kick returner and cover man are also major pluses.
4. Michael Ritchott, Manitoba Bisons (Winnipeg, MB)
The latest in a string of talented Winnipeg-born backs to enter the draft, Ritchott isn’t quite the same player as his predecessors. A smaller player with some shiftiness in space, he isn’t as fast as you would hope from an all-conference kick returner.
5. Louis-Philippe Gregoire, Bishop’s Gaiters (Jonquiere, QC)
A straight-line power runner who has had success putting his head down in the AUS, Gregoire doesn’t possess elite athletic traits but is strong enough to hold up physically at the CFL level.
1. Bruno Labelle, Cincinnati Bearcats (Montreal, QC)
Labelle has been called the best fullback prospect since Rolly Lumbala and I can’t say I disagree. An absolute menace in the run game, Labelle has technique and physicality that rival some of the linemen in this class and he’s even been known to shut down NCAA edge rushers as a pass blocker.
Though he was used sparingly as a receiver in the NCAA, Labelle ran a 4.73 forty at his pro day and has traits to develop. At six-foot-four and 247 pounds, he could be truly special as a CFL fullback or H-back if he doesn’t stick as an NFL undrafted free agent.
2. Jake Burt, Boston College Eagles (Lynnfield, MA)
A late addition to the draft when it was discovered that he was born in Regina, Burt is a talented enough player to challenge Labelle in these rankings late in the process.
A 2020 undrafted free agent signing by the New England Patriots, Burt earned an NFL opportunity as a smart and tenacious blocker, though he is less technical than Labelle. What he does add is slightly more experience as a downfield passing threat and a good ability to adjust to the football, though he was never regarded as an exceptional athlete at 260 pounds.
3. Felix Garand-Gauthier, Laval Rouge et Or (Mirabel, QC)
A prototypical CFL H-back, Garand-Gauthier earned the rare distinction of being named an All-Canadian as a fullback in 2019.
An enforcer on offence, the Laval product lives off big hits but needs to clean up his technique as an in-line blocker to match his aggression, which will be an advantage on special teams.
Though not particularly fast, Garand-Gauthier is comfortable when motioned into the slot and has shown the ability to separate when afforded the advantage of the waggle. Despite being the least athletic, he may be the best pass catcher among the fullbacks.