Every CFL team’s worst draft pick since 2015

Photo Courtesy: CFL.ca

There are plenty of reasons why a draft pick may not pan out in the CFL.

Some players sustain injuries from which they never fully recover. Others are unable to translate their postsecondary success to the professional level. Sometimes a player is selected far too early, making it impossible to live up to draft-day expectations. Other times a player simply chooses to walk away from the game.

Drafting is an inexact science that involves a lot of projection and speculation. It’s inevitable that many picks don’t work out and that’s what we’re looking at today.

Here is every CFL team’s worst draft pick since 2015. Please join us later in the week when I review each team’s best draft pick over that same timespan.

B.C. Lions — REC Danny Vandervoort, McMaster

Draft spot: round 1, pick 3 — 2017 CFL Draft

The native of Barrie, Ont. played two seasons before being cut by the Lions and made just one reception for 25 yards during that time. He dressed for 13 games with Edmonton in 2021 and caught two touchdown passes in Week 14, so there might still be an opportunity for the 28-year-old to turn his career around.

Vandervoort was part of a relatively weak draft class but there were still some excellent players available for B.C. to select, including Saskatchewan offensive lineman Evan Johnson, Carleton defensive back Tunde Adeleke, and Wilfrid Laurier defensive lineman Kwaku Boateng.

Calgary Stampeders — DL Randy Colling, Gannon

Draft spot: round 1, pick 6 — 2017 CFL Draft

The six-foot-five, 312-pounder played four years in the Arena Football League before qualifying for Canadian citizenship through his Hamilton-born father. The Stampeders even traded up two spots to make this selection, which is even worse in retrospect.

Colling was hurt for most of his rookie season and dressed for only two games, making five tackles. Calgary tried converting him to the offensive line but the experiment didn’t work and he was released prior to the 2018 season getting underway. He never signed another CFL contract.

Edmonton Elks — OL Danny Groulx, Laval

Draft spot: round 1, pick 7 — 2015 CFL Draft

Injuries limited the six-foot-six, 325-pound blocker to just 17 regular season games over three seasons in Edmonton. He made 12 starts along the offensive line but never developed into the consistent starter that the Green and Gold hoped he’d become.

The native of Gatineau, Que. went unsigned after his rookie contract expired and never appeared in another CFL game. The silver lining for Elks fans was that the club used its second-round pick on local product David Beard, who has since become arguably the best centre in the CFL.

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Saskatchewan Roughriders — OL Josiah St. John, Oklahoma

Draft spot: round 1, pick 1 — 2016 CFL Draft

The Toronto native started only four games over two seasons with the Sooners, which was a sign of things to come at the professional level. St. John signed with the Riders during the second week of the regular season following a contract dispute and started only eight games over three years with the team.

The six-foot-five, 305-pound blocker has since returned to the Riders in a depth role following brief stints with Toronto, B.C., and Edmonton. Perennial all-star guard Brandon Revenberg was selected by Hamilton two spots after St. John, then Calgary picked two-time CFL all-star linebacker Alex Singleton another three spots later.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers — DL Faith Ekakitie, Iowa

Draft spot: round 1, pick 1 — 2017 CFL Draft

The native of Brampton, Ont. reported to his first training camp out of shape and made only five tackles over 14 games during his rookie season. He was cut the following year before suffering a torn Achilles with Montreal in training camp, which ended his CFL career.

Among the players the Blue Bombers passed over to select Ekakitie were linebacker Cameron Judge and offensive lineman Dariusz Bladek. The solace for fans in Winnipeg was that this pick was acquired from Toronto via the Drew Willy trade, which lessens the sting of squandering it.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats — REC Mark Chapman, Central Michigan

Draft spot: round 1, pick 1 — 2018 CFL Draft

The native of Port Huron, Mich. tore up the national combine and appeared primed to become the CFL’s next great Canadian receiver. He ended up not signing with the Ticats due to a contract dispute and had brief stints with the Denver Broncos and Salt Lake Stallions of the AAF before moving on from professional football.

Hamilton passed on a number of top offensive linemen to draft Chapman, including UConn’s Trey Rutherford, Alberta’s Mark Korte, and UBC’s Dakoda Shepley. This was a big swing and miss from a team that has generally drafted over the past half-decade.

Toronto Argonauts — REC Brian Jones, Acadia

Draft spot: round 1, pick 4 — 2016 CFL Draft

The six-foot-four, 233-pound target looked like a rock star at the national combine but managed only 12 receptions for 128 yards and one touchdown over three seasons with the Argos. He rejoined the club in 2021 following stints in Saskatchewan and Hamilton but dressed for just one game, making two catches for four yards.

Alex Singleton was selected by Calgary two picks after Jones, while East Division Most Outstanding Rookie offensive tackle Jason Lauzon-Séguin and two-time Grey Cup champion centre Michael Couture were taken not long after by Ottawa and Winnipeg, respectively.

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Ottawa Redblacks — OL Alex Fontana, Kansas

Draft spot: round 1, pick 7 — 2019 CFL Draft

Ottawa desperately needed to add an offensive skill player in this draft but passed on UConn’s Hergy Mayala, York’s Nikola Kalinic, and New Mexico’s Brayden Lenius to select Fontana. He spent the 2019 season buried on the depth chart before electing not to play in 2021 when the CFL returned following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Toronto native signed with Hamilton during the league’s free agent frenzy in February where he will look to potentially earn a starting role at centre. Fontana may still end up being a good player but the Redblacks got little value for this pick, which did nothing to address their largest positional need at the time.

Montreal Alouettes — RB Wayne Moore, McMaster

Draft spot: round 2, pick 11 — 2016 CFL Draft

Montreal passed on players like Northern Illinois receiver Juwan Brescacin, Michigan State defensive back Arjen Colquhoun, and UBC defensive back Taylor Loffler to take Moore, who never ended up playing a down for them. He spent his rookie season on injured reserve before departing for Ottawa the following year.

Moore ended up being a solid contributor over two years with B.C. (2018-19) but this was simply too high to take the former Marauder. Fortunately for the Als, they struck gold just one round later with the selection of Western’s Sean Jamieson, who is now a staple along their offensive line.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.