The 2022 CFL Draft is almost upon us and as always, 3DownNation will have you covered with the most in-depth coverage anywhere in Canada.
With all the debates raging in the CFL, collective bargaining ongoing, and two separate drafts set to take place on May 3, it can be difficult for fans to keep track of all the prospects who might make an impact for your team next season. We’re here to help by giving you the inside scoop on the top players at every position in the lead up to the league’s annual pick-fest.
Today, we kick off our annual position rankings with those in the offensive backfield: quarterbacks, running backs and fullbacks. While the 2022 CFL Draft is a weaker pool of talent overall than other recent drafts, it doesn’t lack for big names in marquee roles. That includes a difference-making prospect under centre and a pair of backfield stallions with starting potential.
1. Tre Ford, University of Waterloo (Niagara Falls, Ont.)
The reigning Hec Crighton Trophy winner is a generational athlete at the quarterback position, coupling a live arm with 4.45 speed in the forty. Ford lacks an ideal frame, but his dynamic playmaking ability outside of structure gives him a real chance to be the first Canadian university quarterback to sign in the NFL since 1982. Age-old concerns about his ability to read a defence and go through progressions in the pocket have some validity, but they pale in comparison to the potential upside Ford brings when allowed to be creative.
2. Dimitrios Sinodinos, McGill University (Laval, Que.)
Sinodinos isn’t a legitimate CFL prospect as a passer, but someone could see value in the five-foot-ten, 188-pounder’s elite change of direction ability — 4.06 short shuttle and 6.97 three-cone — as a potential receiver convert in a weak draft class.
3. Mason Nyhus, University of Saskatchewan (Regina, Sask.)
Nyhus has been a steady hand for the Huskies program, helping lead them to a Vanier Cup appearance last season. He is a functional camp arm who has the talent to continue his career overseas if he so chooses.
Running backs & fullbacks
1. Daniel Adeboboye, Bryant University (Toronto, Ont.)
One of the National Combine’s athletic testing standouts, Adeboboye is the type of one-cut slasher that often thrives in the CFL. At five-foot-nine and 218 pounds, he’s not a home-run hitter, but possesses the patience and power to consistently pick up chunk yardage. High end athletic traits hint at Adeboboye’s ability to exceed his college production behind a good offensive line and he should be a capable backup from day one.
2. Adam Machart, University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon, Sask.)
Extremely productive in a pro scheme, Machart still plays physical despite his small size and has elite contact balance. He runs low with great vision and can make something out of any run, seeming to shrink behind his shoulder pads with every cut and leave defenders grasping at air. Machart’s five-foot-seven, 189-pound frame will limit his ability to contribute in other areas, but any team willing to give him touches on offence will be rewarded.
3. Ryth-Jean Giraud, Université de Montréal (Laval, Que.)
A former Quebec conference all-star as both a running back and return specialist, Giraud’s value comes from his prowess at the less glamorous aspects of the game. A gritty pass blocker with decent burst and some receiving upside, the 200-pounder will be a capable special teamer and could add weight to play more of a hybrid fullback role.
4. Chase Arseneau, McMaster University (Durham, Ont.)
Listed as a tight end, Arseneau is surprisingly slippery and sudden in his routes for being nearly six-foot-three and 230 pounds. Not a butt-kicker at the point of attack, he is a functional leverage blocker with special teams upside and a unique H-back skill set that can be bumped out to slot for a schematic advantage.
5. Rasheed Tucker, Queen’s University (Ajax, Ont.)
The fastest back in this class with a 4.61 forty, Tucker is a break away threat who always plays at top speed. More of an upright runner, he lacks high-end vision but keeps his legs churning forward once he hits a seam. Tucker shows some deceptively smooth route-running ability as well, but needs to add some bulk to his frame to contribute from the backfield.
6. Cole Estabrooks, Acadia University (Moncton, N.B.)
The poor man’s Ante Milanovic-Litre, Estabrooks is a powerful runner who can grind out chunk yardage despite a lack of top end speed. His six-foot, 213-pound frame is built for special teams and he has shown enough physicality to translate to the next level.
7. Jean-Paul Cimankinda, University of Ottawa (Ottawa, Ont.)
Cimankinda’s unique five-foot-eleven, 237-pound body is designed for power, but he wants to win with finesse on tape. A middling athlete overall, he’ll need to embrace a fullback role to succeed at the next level.
8. Ted Kubongo, University of British Columbia (Calgary, Alta.)
Once a commit to the University of Maine, a variety of circumstances contributed to Kubongo barely playing in college. Nevertheless, the five-foot-ten, 214-pounder’s frame and athletic profile makes him an intriguing project in a shallow draft.
9. Konner Burtenshaw, Queen’s University (Amherstview, Ont.)
An undersized fullback who has carved out a gritty role on special team’s, racking up 33 tackles over the course of his career. A lack of length may limit his ability to get off blocks in the CFL, but Burtenshaw’s effort will never be a question and neither will his willingness to deliver a blow.
10. Alessandro Molnar, University of Calgary (Calgary, Alta.)
An underrated part of the Calgary offence, the five-foot-nine, 197-pound Molnar showed good burst inside as a runner to average 7.1 yards per carry last season. He tests well across the board athletically, with particularly good change of direction ability.