The 2023 CFL Draft is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, May 2 at 8:00 p.m. ET and, as always, 3DownNation has you covered with all the in-depth analysis.
Over the next week, we’ll be unveiling our top prospects at every position group, culminating in our pre-draft top 25 ranking. We already revealed our top running backs and fullbacks and make sure to come back tomorrow when we rank the offensive linemen.
Here we continue with the receivers, a deep group that has quietly gained some hype as the pre-draft process has gone on. With every team in the league starting at least one Canadian pass-catcher — and many fielding more — this is annually one of the most important positions at which to add depth through the draft.
1. Jared Wayne, University of Pittsburgh (Peterborough, Ont.)
The son of former CFL linebacker Patrick Wayne has established himself as one of the top receivers in the ACC, hauling in 60 passes for 1,063 yards and five touchdowns last season. While his below-average 4.73-second speed will likely prevent him from being selected in the NFL Draft, his physical six-foot-three, 209-pound frame, exceptional route-running and elite explosiveness give him a good shot at making a roster as an undrafted free agent. Wayne’s CFL stock is expected to drop as a result, though it would change the complexion of the draft if he were unsigned come Tuesday.
2. Cole Tucker, Northern Illinois University (DeKalb, Ill.)
A Canadian citizen thanks to his Brandon, Man.-born mother, Tucker is a reliable possession receiver with five years of production at the Division I level. His strong hands, physicality as a blocker, and understanding of space make him a potential starter at field-side wideout as a rookie, but the waggle could help eliminate some speed deficiencies if he were lined up in the slot.
3. Clark Barnes, University of Guelph (Brampton, Ont.)
Durability and effort level are the concerns with Barnes after a disappointing final season with the Gryphons but his explosive athletic ability is unquestioned. He has the elite speed to threaten defenders vertically as a receiver and the burst to separate at the breakpoint, while also bringing game-breaking return ability to whichever team selects him.
4. Jeremy Murphy, Concordia University (Montreal, Que.)
A contested-catch specialist with baseball mitts for hands, Murphy’s physical style and ability to absorb contact makes him seem larger than six-foot and 190 pounds. The 2019 U Sports Rookie of the Year has surprising long speed but tends to decelerate out of his cuts, leading to a failure to separate that could be a concern at the next level.
5. Daniel Perry, University of Saskatchewan (Calgary, Alta.)
The number one target on the most dangerous passing attack in the nation, Perry was a legitimate threat on the outside despite measuring under six feet tall with short arms. A precision route runner with the speed to threaten, he works the sideline like a seasoned pro and tracks the football as well as anyone in this class.
6. Richard Burton, Queen’s University (Ottawa, Ont.)
An impact performer in all four seasons he played with the Gaels, Burton doesn’t have the same speed as some of the prospects above him but compensates with an excellent ability to find space against zone defences. He’s a well-rounded, high-effort player with the strong hands to make tough catches and the gumption to find work as a blocker.
7. Caleb Morin, University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon, Ssk.)
The third-tallest receiver available this year at a hair under six-foot-two, Morin finally broke out in 2022 after walking on with the Huskies way back in 2017. He’s speed deficient but makes up for it with buttery smooth route-running, setting defenders up to flip their hips before breaking away thanks to his excellent initial quickness and change of direction ability.
8. James Basalyga, University of Waterloo (Thunder Bay, Ont.)
A burner who clocked 4.56 seconds in the forty, Basalyga was extremely productive as a deep threat for the Warriors and tracks the ball well down the field. However, he was not asked to run a particularly diverse route tree in college and is a little stiff when changing directions, a potential red flag when translating to the pros.
9. Shedler Fervius, Saint Mary’s University (Scarborough, Ont.)
Fervius sat out the 2022 season due to academic issues but the six-foot, 200-pound physical specimen remains on the radar for several CFL teams. Though he was never truly dominant for the Huskies, the US-born, Scarborough-raised receiver tested with elite explosiveness at last year’s East-West Bowl and has intriguing playmaking ability with the ball in his hand.
10. Daniel Oladejo, University of Ottawa (Ottawa, Ont.)
Short and thick at five-foot-10 and 192 pounds, Oladejo has problematic long speed but a physical skillset that allows him to effectively box out opponents and high point the ball. He’s bull strong and put up a whopping 20 bench press reps at the combine, something that might help him carve out a role on special teams.
11. Bennett Stusek, University of Regina (Regina, Ssk.)
Currently nursing a back injury, Stusek is rail thin at five-foot-11 and 175 pounds but was a productive four-year starter with the Rams. While he isn’t as fast as his teammate and Saskatchewan Roughriders’ draft pick Riley Boersma, he shows flashes of the same explosive burst to separate.
12. Jonathan Rosery, University of Alberta (Edmonton, Alta.)
A converted running back with a thick lower body, the five-foot-eight, 199-pounder posed a match-up challenge in space at the collegiate level but is not polished as a pass catcher. While his change of direction is solid, Rosery’s small stature, average explosiveness and poor long speed make him a difficult CFL projection.
13. Zakariya Karim, St. Francis Xavier University (Ottawa, Ont.)
Karim is quick as a hiccup with the ability to win in the short areas and at the breakpoint. However, his slight, five-foot-10, 175-pound frame is a concern, especially given his average production against relatively weak competition in the AUS.
14. Savaughn Magnaye-Jones, Western University (Hamilton, Ont.)
A two-time first-team All-Canadian with impressive production during his time as a Mustang, Magnaye-Jones isn’t a speedster but has excellent short-area burst and separates well. Nevertheless, teams will have a difficult time overlooking the fact he stands five-foot-seven and 164 pounds, even if he holds up reasonably well physically.
15. Gabriel Appiah-Kubi, York University (Brampton, Ont.)
A combine darling who tested like a freak in every category, the tape tells a different story about Appiah-Kubi than the headlines generated by his 4.41-second forty-yard dash. At five-foot-nine and 157 pounds, he is easily rerouted by light contact and has struggled to produce in college.
16. Michael O’Shea, Okanagan Sun (Winnipeg, Man.)
The son of the Blue Bombers’ head coach of the same name, O’Shea briefly attended his father’s alma mater of Guelph before becoming an All-Canadian receiver and kick returner in the CJFL. He is a limited athlete with a thin build but shows the savvy route-running and willingness as a blocker that you would expect from a coach’s son.
17. Retsen Daley, York University (Brampton, Ont.)
After playing just two games last season due to injury, Daley has declared his intention to return to school and still needs to prove he can produce at an elite level. Standing at six-foot-one and 176 pounds, he posted intriguing testing numbers at last year’s East-West Bowl and has a frame that could be developed.
18. Willy-Pierre Dimbongi, University of Ottawa (Ottawa, Ont.)
A transfer from Guelph to the Gee-Gees, Dimbongi has a solid build at six-foot-one and 188 pounds but is athletically stunted. He is a laboured runner and doesn’t have the quickness or explosiveness to excel in the CFL.
19. Javonni Cunningham, Cornell University (Suwanee, Ga.)
The son of former CFL all-star returner Jimmy ‘The Jet’ Cunningham has rarely seen the field on offence for the Big Red and contributed mostly on special teams. While his 4.66-second forty shows acceptable speed, he tested generally poorly at the Invitational Combine and has no meaningful production.
20. Ronnie Oling, University of Alberta (Edmonton, Alta.)
A big-bodied target who excelled in the CJFL with the Edmonton Huskies, Oling is stiff and has struggled to see the field at the U Sports level. Even so, his six-foot-two, 203-pound body could generate interest.