Monday Mailbag: late-round gems, CFL-XFL merger & should Ottawa have drafted Canadian receiver Terrell Jana?

The 3DownNation Monday Mailbag answers questions from readers across the country every week.

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We’ve answered a handful of questions below. If your question didn’t get picked, don’t panic — we’ll save it to potentially answer here next week or on the 3DownNation Podcast.

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Everyone seems to think the Redblacks should have picked Terrell Jana with their first pick (me included). But with the fact they have signed quite a few new receivers and likely other teams will be releasing good ones after camp, do you feel press has been overcritical to Paul LaPolice’s offensive outlook?

Thanks,

Bill from Brantford

Thanks for the question, Bill. Frankly, I think it’s hard to be overcritical of anything Ottawa has done considering how bad they were in 2019.

Remember when Marcel Desjardins signed SirVincent Rogers, Brad Sinopoli, Ernest Jackson, Greg Ellingson, and Chris Williams after the team went 2-16 in 2014? That’s the type of overhaul I thought we would see from the Redblacks over the past 15 months. It didn’t happen.

I’d love to see Anthony Coombs finally have a breakout year, but he’s only got 2,047 yards from scrimmage over his six-year career. Jalen Saunders is exciting, but is he a true No. 1 target coming off a torn ACL? These are the only two proven weapons Ottawa has added. It’s fair to ask questions.

As for Jana, I see him as the perfect replacement for an aging Brad Sinopoli. They’ve both got great hands and run smart routes, knowing exactly where to sit down in zone coverage to get open. Sinopoli is a little bigger, but Jana is a little faster.

It’s hard to argue with Ottawa’s two top picks because Deshawn Stevens and Alonzo Addae will be great players when/if they sign with the team. I just think Jana is an equally talented player who’d help them win games in 2021 at a key position of need.

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If the CFL and XFL merge, who don’t they hold an Internet vote with the fans of both leagues. For example, they could ask: do you want three downs or four downs?

They could even ask additional questions on the voting page as long as they require ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. This way they will know where they stand, and will reduce the risk of losing too many fans.

-John Anderson

Thanks for the question, John.

This might be a nice way to engage fans, but we know the CFL and XFL are already discussing what the rules would look like for a potential merger.

As for three downs vs. four downs, I get emails from CFL fans almost every day begging for the league to keep its rules the same. We know that the NFL is growing in popularity in Canada, but there’s no evidence to suggest that four-down football is growing in popularity.

The number I keep seeing on informal polls is 30 to 35 percent of existing CFL fans are firmly opposed to rule changes of any kind. I think the CFL will lose a lot of diehard fans if they agree to play four-down football and I am skeptical that enough new fans will step up to fill the void.

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Who is the player taken near the end of the 2021 CFL Draft who you think could have the biggest impact on their team? It’s always great when underdogs succeed.

-Eric G.

Great question, Eric.

Chuba Hubbard and Benjamin St-Juste will have a huge impact on the field if either signs in the CFL, though that remains unlikely as both were mid-round NFL Draft selections.

The two I’ll highlight from round six are defensive back Josh Hagerty and offensive lineman Tyler Packer.

Hagerty has drawn comparisons to Taylor Loffler due to his height and hitting ability, though he’s not as thick or instinctual as the three-time CFL all-star. The University of Saskatchewan product should be able to make an impact on special teams with Toronto while filling a depth role at safety.

Packer, meanwhile, played the 2019 season with the Calgary Dinos at 340 pounds but has since dropped to 302. For a team like B.C. that needs help in the trenches, I think Packer could add a lot of value as a developmental blocker who moves a lot more fluidly now than he last did on film.

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