2023 CFL Draft position rankings: offensive linemen

Photo courtesy: AP Photo/Adrian Kraus

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 list of the top running backs and fullbacks, and the top receivers. Make sure to come back tomorrow when we rank the defensive linemen.

Here we continue with the offensive lineman, a group where the talent at the top may be out of reach for CFL teams. With the 2023 class lacking depth overall, you can expect a run at the position in the first two rounds as teams scramble to add one of the handful of players who could help them right now.

Offensive linemen

1. Matthew Bergeron, Syracuse University (Victoriaville, Que.)

An elite four-year starter at tackle for the Orange, Bergeron’s smooth feet and ability to move in space as a run blocker make him the betting favourite to be the first Canadian selected in this year’s NFL Draft. He is projected to be an early Day 2 draftee with some analysts even slipping him into the first round, but the high degree of interest south of the border will likely drop him off of CFL teams’ draft boards entirely.

2. Sidy Sow, Eastern Michigan University (Bromont, Que.)

A five-year starter for the Eagles who has experience at both tackle and guard, Sow projects as a stout interior run blocker with excellent initial quickness and a veteran’s understanding of leverage. He was on the NFL Draft bubble for much of the process but an outstanding athletic showing at the NFL Combine has all but guaranteed a Day 3 selection, dropping him from a potential first-overall CFL pick to a mid-round flyer.

3. Dontae Bull, Fresno State University (Victoria, B.C.)

A six-foot-six, 322-pound behemoth who started for four seasons at tackle with the Bulldogs, Bull is a people mover in the run game who could slip through the NFL cracks after breaking his leg last season. Scouts have concerns about his top-heavy build and slow feet at the next level but his incredible 84-inch wingspan compensates for some of those deficiencies as a pass blocker, making him a potential ratio-breaking starter at tackle.

Photo: Bob Butrym/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

4. Phillip Grohovac, Western University (Victoria, B.C.)

A nasty road-grader with a zest for the finish, Grohovac was a key part of the Mustangs’ powerhouse rushing attack and earned All-Canadian status each of the past two seasons. He’s a bit stiff laterally and needs to improve his ability to combat counter moves as a pass protector, but could contribute right away for a team that prioritizes a downhill rushing attack.

5. Evan Floren, Queen’s University (Ancaster, Ont.)

The best mover of this offensive line group, Floren has great initial quickness to establish play side position in the Zone run game, seal the edge as a puller, or climb to the second level while keeping his feet driving through contact. He can get upright and sloppy with his hands in pass protection but has all the physical tools to keep even the most athletic defenders in front of him.

6. Dayton Black, University of Saskatchewan (Brandon, Man.)

A high-ceiling project with just 12 career starts at left tackle, all of which came in 2022, Black has a prototypical six-foot-five, 298-pound frame with long arms. The former high school quarterback is an excellent pass protector with smooth feet, a powerful punch and a great natural anchor, but remains technically raw with some lapses on film. He may not be quite quick enough to stick at tackle in the CFL and a stiff lower body makes the projection to guard difficult.

7. Theo Grant, Queen’s University (Halifax, N.S.)

An experienced starter at both tackle spots, Grant projects as a centre at the next level and will need time to add weight to his 280-pound body. His tremendous short-area quickness and surprising anchor bode well for that transition, with his relentless effort and foot drive on contact endearing him to teams.

Photo courtesy: Piper Sports Photography/ Regina Rams

8. Parker Hodel, University of Regina (Regina, Ssk.)

A brick wall of a man at six-foot-three and 337 pounds, Hodel is heavy-footed and slow but swallows up defenders once he gets his hands on them. He can be too comfortable leaning on opponents with his massive weight rather than displacing them but shows some flashes as a run blocker, including some impressive reps moving down the field for a man of his size.

9. Edouard Paradis, Houston Christian University (Levis, Que.)

An inside mauler who never established himself as a full-time starter in the NCAA, Paradis effectively covers up or walls off opponents but generates little displacement. He is stiff and struggles to redirect, but has the size and strength to be viewed as a worthy project.

10. Anthony Vandal, Université de Sherbrooke (Sorel-Tracy, Que.)

A three-time RSEQ all-star at tackle, Vandal has intriguing size, length and foot speed. However, his lack of physical strength in the run game, difficulty anchoring and general stiffness present some major red flags for the next level.

11. Alexandre Marcoux, McGill University (Levis, Que.)

A versatile player with starting experience at four positions for the Redbirds, Marcoux projects as a CFL centre and flashed with some solid testing numbers on the Combine circuit. On the field, he shows good effort but looks much more awkward athletically, with inconsistent pad level and wide hands that make some of his blocks look like a bear hug.

12. Ryder Klisowsky, University of Manitoba (Watrous, Ssk.)

A 2021 Canada West all-star at guard, Klisowsky is currently on the mend from a torn ACL suffered last season. He is short and squat with difficulty redirecting but has a solid anchor and vice grip hands that won’t let go once he has you in his grasp.

Photo courtesy: Sean Arbaut/Minot State Athletics

13. Troy Kowal, Minot State University (High River, Alta.)

Coming off a meniscus tear, Kowal could be a wild card due to his multiple years of starting experience at tackle at the Division II level. He has ideal measurables at over six-foot-five and 313 pounds with 34-inch arms, but teams will be turned off by his poor body and lack of strength.

14. Spencer Masterson, University of Guelph (Richmond Hill, Ont.)

Masterson has a great frame, tall and lean with long arms, but he’s far too laboured in his movements to stick at tackle in the pros. He is extremely stiff and can’t bend well enough to establish leverage inside, making it difficult to see him thriving at the next level.

15. Matthew Famurewa, University of Guelph (Markham, Ont.)

Simply put, Famurewa’s 260-pound weigh-in at the Invitational Combine will disqualify him from many teams’ draft boards. However, his 34-inch arms and fluidity of movement could intrigue someone enough to make him a long-term project, as the tape is better than some of those ranked above him.

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.