2022 CFL Draft position rankings: specialists

Photo courtesy: Kyle Rodriguez/Guelph Gryphons

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.

We’ve looked at every major position group so far: quarterbacks, running backsreceiversoffensive linemendefensive linemen, linebackers, and defensive backs. Today, we wrap the whole exercise up with the specialists. Canadian kickers and punters have unquestionably decreased in value with the advent of the Global program, but there is still a role for guys with multiple tools. Plus, it would be wrong to forget about the long snappers.

Kickers & punters

Photo courtesy: GetMyPhoto.ca/Saskatchewan Huskies

1. David Solie, University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon, Sask.)

A 2021 All-Canadian punter, Solie averaged 40.8 yards per punt with eight over 50 yards and a long of 77. He wasn’t nearly as successful as a kicker, going 15-of-25 from distance, but was 21-for-25 with a long of 47 back in 2019.

2. Eric Stranz, University of Guelph (Ayr, Ont.)

Last season’s All-Canadian kicker selection is a career 34-of-43 from the field with a long of 50 yards. He’s been a three-tool guy the past two seasons as well, averaging 39 yards per punt and 57.7 yards per kickoff in 2021.

3. Christopher MacLean, University of Toronto (Brampton, Ont.)

MacLean was just 9-of-14 with a long of 35 yards as a kicker last season, but made strides as a punter by averaging 41.8 yards per kick and pinning opponents inside their twenty yard line a whopping 20 times. He has transferred to the University of Calgary for his final years of U Sports eligibility and could be an intriguing futures pick.

4. Dante Mastrogiuseppe, York University (London, Ont.)

Limited sample size in his final season, but still averaged 40.6 yards per punt in 2021. Doesn’t bring as much upside as a field goal kicker, but has a big leg and has shown a willingness to make the tackle himself with 14.5 in his career.

5. Eric Maximuik, Regina Thunder (Regina, Sask.)

A high volume kicker in the Canadian Junior Football League, Maximuik was 24-of-36 last season with a long of 51 yards and an average of 39.9 yards as a punter. Larger than other prospects at six-foot and 230 pounds.

6. Vincent Plouffe, Carleton University (Gatineau, Que.)

Went viral online over the pandemic with a 70-yard field goal in training, but has primarily punted. Averaged 39.6 yards per kick last year with a long of 52.

7. Michael Bobak, Kentucky State University (Caledon, Ont.)

A transfer from Albany, Bobak last played in 2019 as a punter and point after touchdown specialist. He averaged 35.9 yards per punt that season, but didn’t return after the pandemic.

Long Snappers

Photo courtesy: Laurel Jarvis/Guelph Gryphons

1. Simon Chaves, University of Guelph (Guelph, Ont.)

An extremely intriguing athlete, Chaves is the reigning Ontario University Athletics Conference silver medalist in wrestling for the 90 KG weight class. He’s been a consistent snapper during his tenure with the Gryphons and fast down the field with a 4.86 forty.

2. Peter Adjey, Queen’s University (Toronto, Ont.)

Good size at six-two and 220 pounds, Adjey looks the prototype for the position and is willing physically. He has chipped in with 13 tackles in the past two seasons.

3. Louis Cavanagh, Carleton University (Laval, Que.)

A very solid snapper at six-foot-one and 230 pounds, Cavanagh is athletic enough to have seen significant time in a talented Ravens’ linebacking corps the past few seasons.

4. Connor Ross, St. Francis Xavier University (Coldbrook, N.S.)

Primarily used as a tight end/fullback in the Atlantic University Sport Conference, Ross checks in at 259 pounds, is strong enough to help as a blocker and brings long snapping versatility to the table.

J.C. Abbott is a University of British Columbia graduate and high school football coach. He covers the CFL, B.C. Lions, CFL Draft and the three-down league's Global initiative.