The five best value selections from the 2022 CFL Draft

The 2022 CFL Draft has come and gone but it’s not too late to look back at some of the best picks that were made on Tuesday night.

Teams all enter draft day with different scouting reports and positional needs but at the end of the day their goal is the same: maximize the value of each respective pick. This list isn’t meant to reflect the five best players who were taken on Wednesday, but the five selections from which teams were able to extract the most value.

Players are listed alphabetically by last name.

Photo courtesy: McMaster Athletics

LB Nate Edwards, McMaster — Edmonton Elks

Round 8, pick 66

It was a bit of a stretch when Edwards appeared on the winter edition of the CFL scouting bureau rankings but he still deserved to be selected higher than the final round of the draft. He was a first-team OUA all-star as a special teams cover man in 2021 and has the physical tools replicate that success at the professional level.

There were whispers going into the CFL Combine that Edwards was going to run poorly but he ended up posting a 4.80 forty-yard dash, which is perfectly reasonable for a 223-pound linebacker who will make his living on special teams. In a thin draft, I think Edmonton found some nice value here in the eighth round.

Photo courtesy: LATechSports.com

REC Samuel Emilus, Louisiana Tech — Saskatchewan Roughriders

Round one, pick seven

The explosive six-foot-one, 194-pound receiver made 16 catches for 245 yards and three touchdowns this past season with the Bulldogs. Emilus was 3DownNation‘s top-ranked receiver outside of Alabama product John Metchie III, who was a second-round pick of the Houston Texans in the 2022 NFL Draft.

I was critical of Saskatchewan’s two most recent first-round picks — offensive lineman Mattland Riley in 2020 and defensive back Nelson Lokombo in 2021 — because I felt the Riders were too set on taking players from in-province programs. Noah Zerr would have been an easy pick here but Emilus is the better prospect with the higher ceiling.

DB Tyrell Ford, Waterloo — Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Round 2, pick 13

It’s not often that a team is able to select arguably the best athlete in the draft midway through the second round but that’s exactly what Winnipeg managed to do with this pick. The six-foot, 188-pound defensive back ran an elite 4.42 forty-yard dash at the CFL Combine while leaping a 36.5-inch vertical jump and ten-foot, three-inch broad jump.

Ford’s tape at defensive back from Waterloo wasn’t elite but he’s a hard-working, intelligent player who should develop quickly at the professional level at safety and cornerback. In the meantime he should be a solid contributor for Winnipeg on special teams as a cover man and return specialist.

Photo courtesy: McMaster Athletics

LB Enoch Penney-Laryea, McMaster — Toronto Argonauts

Round 3, pick 26

Toronto entered this year’s draft without any immediate positional needs, which allowed them to take an elite athlete late in the third round. Penney-Laryea has primarily played running back and defensive end in the past but is widely regarded as a positionless athlete capable of being developed at a number of different spots.

The five-foot-eleven, 217-pound native of Kingston, Jamaica could contribute at running back, weak-side linebacker, strong-side linebacker, safety, and on special teams. He might be shoe-horned into one particular position based on need with some other teams in the league, but not in Toronto where the Argos have strong national talent across the board.

Photo courtesy: Don Voaklander/Alberta Golden Bears Athletics

Josiah Schakel, Alberta — Calgary Stampeders

Round 2, pick 14

The versatile six-foot-one, 221-pound defender won the President’s Trophy this past season as the top defensive player in U Sports. He made 75 total tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, and three forced fumbles with the Golden Bears and was named a U Sports first-team All-Canadian in 2021.

The Stampeders needed to add depth behind starting linebacker Cameron Judge while also finding help at safety following the off-season departure of Royce Metchie. Schakel might have been the only player in the draft who could realistically filled both crucial roles and Calgary got him. He should also be great on special teams, which is a nice bonus.

Honourable mentions: Bryant running back Daniel Adeboboye (Toronto Argonauts, No. 15 overall), Guelph linebacker Jared Beeksma (Hamilton Tiger-Cats, No. 46), Queen’s defensive lineman Anthony Federico (Hamilton Tiger-Cats, No. 17 overall), St. Mary’s defensive back Adrian Greene (B.C. Lions, No. 32 overall), Saskatchewan defensive lineman Riley Pickett (B.C. Lions, No. 41 overall).