Comprehensive guide to Canadians and former CFL players in NFL training camps in 2023

Photo courtesy: AP Photo/John Raoux

NFL training camps are officially open across the United States, which means it’s time to take a look at all 51 Canadians and former CFL players who are participating this year.

Players are listed in alphabetical order by last name. Please note that ‘N’ denotes nationals (ie. Canadians), ‘A’ denotes Americans, and ‘G’ denotes Globals.

DB DeAundre Alford (A) — Atlanta Falcons

CFL rights holder: None

The former CFL all-star cornerback dressed for 16 games with his hometown Falcons in 2022 and recorded 25 combined tackles, one tackle for loss, one interception, seven pass knockdowns, and one safety. After serving as a rotational player during his first NFL season, it will be interesting to see if Alford gets a chance to start in 2023.

DL Eli Ankou (N) — Buffalo Bills

CFL rights holder: Ottawa Redblacks

The Ottawa native was on and off the practice roster with the Bills last season and did not dress for a regular season game. He has made 43 combined tackles, three tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks over 33 career NFL games since signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent in 2017.

OL Matthew Bergeron (N) — Atlanta Falcons

CFL rights holder: None

The native of Victoriaville, Que. was selected No. 38 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft out of Syracuse University, making him the first Canadian player off the board. Bergeron has been moved from offensive tackle to guard with the Falcons where he’ll look to contribute in the team’s run-heavy attack.

Photo: AP/Jeff Dean

RB Chase Brown (N) — Cincinnati Bengals

CFL rights holder: Montreal Alouettes

The native of London, Ont. won the Jon Cornish Trophy as the top Canadian football player in the NCAA after rushing for 1,643 yards and 10 touchdowns with the University of Illinois. Brown was selected in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft and is looking to earn the primary backup job behind former Pro Bowl running back Joe Mixon.

DB Sydney Brown (N) — Philadelphia Eagles

CFL rights holder: None

The six-foot, 200-pound cover man was named first-team All-Big Ten while playing alongside his twin brother, Chase, at the University of Illinois last season. He recorded 60 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, six interceptions, seven pass knockdowns, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery, drawing enough NFL attention to be selected by the Eagles in the third round of this year’s draft.

DL Brandin Bryant (A) — New York Giants

CFL rights holder: None

The interior defender dressed for eight games over the past three seasons with the Buffalo Bills, recording nine total tackles. After recently signing with the Giants as a free agent, the 29-year-old has now been a member of nine professional football teams including the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Montreal Alouettes.

REC Hakeem Butler (A) — Pittsburgh Steelers

CFL rights holder: None

The six-foot-five, 227-pound target dressed for one game with the Edmonton Elks in 2022 and made one catch for five yards prior to his release. He later joined the St. Louis BattleHawks of the XFL and had a great season, recording 51 receptions for 599 yards and eight touchdowns, which earned him a contract with the Steelers.

DB Tevaughn Campbell (N) — Jacksonville Jaguars

CFL rights holder: None

The Regina product and native of Scarborough, Ont. stuck with the Jaguars last season following stints with the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders. He has dressed for 35 career NFL games since 2020 and made 65 total tackles, seven pass knockdowns, one interception, three forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery.

Photo: AP/Adam Hunger

REC Chase Claypool (N) — Chicago Bears

CFL rights holder: B.C. Lions

The former second-round pick saw his production plummet last year after he was traded from the Pittsburgh Steelers at the midway point of the season. Entering the final year of his contract, Claypool will have to prove he can match the production he generated in his first two seasons in the league to earn a big new deal for 2024 and beyond.

DL Christian Covington (N) – Detroit Lions

CFL rights holder: B.C. Lions

The son of all-time CFL sack leader Grover Covington is entering his ninth NFL season and first with the Lions after signing with them as a free agent in May. The Vancouver native has made 196 total tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, two pass knockdowns, and two forced fumbles over 102 career NFL games with Houston, Dallas, Cincinnati, and Los Angeles.

QB Danny Etling (A) — Green Bay Packers

CFL rights holder: None

The LSU product spent only three weeks on the practice roster with the B.C. Lions in 2019 but has found steady work in the NFL ever since with Seattle, Denver, Green Bay, and Jacksonville. The 29-year-old has been a member of eight different professional teams over the past five years but has yet to throw a pass in a regular season game.

DB Tyrell Ford (N) — Green Bay Packers

CFL rights holder: Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The native of Niagara Falls, Ont. made 13 total tackles as a rookie with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers last season before being released in order to allow him to sign with Green Bay. The two-time U Sports second-team All-Canadian has enough speed and explosiveness to play in the NFL and is currently getting a chance to prove that he belongs.

DL Neville Gallimore (N) — Dallas Cowboys

CFL rights holder: Saskatchewan Roughriders

The Ottawa native has recorded 74 total tackles, nine tackles for loss, three sacks, and two pass knockdowns since being selected in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Gallimore started only one game this past season after being a regular starter during his first two years with the Cowboys, which means he’ll likely be looking to return to a first-string role heading into a contract year.

LB DeMarquis Gates (A) — Chicago Bears

CFL rights holder: None

The transient linebacker played five games with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2021 and made eight total tackles but has since returned down south. Gates won a USFL championship last year as a member of the Birmingham Stallions and signed with the Bears after being named All-USFL.

P Trenton Gill (N) — Chicago Bears

CFL rights holder: None

The 24-year-old was born and raised in North Carolina but received his Canadian citizenship by virtue of his mother, who is from Sarnia, Ont. Gill was a seventh-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and had a solid rookie season for the Bears last year, punting 66 times for a net average of 39 yards with three touchbacks.

OL Julian Good-Jones (A) — Philadelphia Eagles

CFL rights holder: None

The six-foot-five, 319-pound blocker made 22 starts over two seasons with the Calgary Stampeders, which evidently drew the attention of NFL scouts. He was part of a unit last year that allowed 17 sacks and helped produce 6.4 yards per carry along the ground, both of which ranked first league-wide.

DL Michael Hoecht (N) — Los Angeles Rams

CFL rights holder: Ottawa Redblacks

The native of Oakville, Ont. made huge strides in his third season with Los Angeles last year, setting all-new career highs with 36 total tackles, four tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, and one forced fumble over 17 games. Hoecht started six games last season and will look to prove he’s ready to be a full-time starter in 2023.

Photo: AP/Doug Murray

DB Jevon Holland (N) — Miami Dolphins

CFL rights holder: None

The native of Coquitlam, B.C. has established himself as one of the best safeties in the AFC through two seasons in Miami, recording 165 total tackles, four tackles for loss, four sacks, four interceptions, 17 pass knockdowns, three fumble recoveries, and three forced fumbles over 33 career games. Holland has yet to be named to the Pro Bowl, which could happen for the first time in 2023.

RB Chuba Hubbard (N) — Carolina Panthers

CFL rights holder: Calgary Stampeders

The native of Sherwood Park, Alta. carried the ball 95 times for 466 yards and two touchdowns last season, seeing his role increase after the Panthers traded perennial Pro Bowl running back Christian McCaffrey midseason. Though his overall production was down slightly from his rookie year, his yard-per-carry average increased dramatically from 3.6 in 2021 to 4.9 in 2022.

OL Alaric Jackson (N) — Los Angeles Rams

CFL rights holder: B.C. Lions

The Windsor, Ont. native made six starts for the Rams last season, which is impressive considering he joined the team as an undrafted free agent in 2021. Jackson is currently listed as the team’s second-string left tackle behind Joe Noteboom, who is recovering from a torn Achilles he suffered last season.

TE Nikola Kalinic (N) — Los Angeles Rams

CFL rights holder: None

The 26-year-old dressed for seven games with the Indianapolis Colts last season, his first in the NFL, and recorded one kickoff return for 15 yards. The Toronto native recently signed with the Rams after working out for a number of teams following his release from the Colts, including Green Bay, Cleveland, and Atlanta.

TE Dalton Kincaid (N) — Buffalo Bills

CFL rights holder: None

The former first-team All-Pac 12 selection was taken in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft and is expected to be a strong contributor for the Bills behind incumbent starter Dawson Knox. Though he was born in Las Vegas, Kincaid recently revealed in an interview that he has dual Canadian-American citizenship.

DB Deane Leonard (N) — Los Angeles Chargers

CFL rights holder: Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The Calgary native was a seventh-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and dressed for all 17 regular season games as a rookie, recording five total tackles, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. Leonard will look to take more defensive reps in his second NFL season after contributing almost exclusively on special teams one year ago.

LB Jesse Luketa (N) — Arizona Cardinals

CFL rights holder: Ottawa Redblacks

The six-foot-three, 255-pound defender dressed for seven games as a rookie in 2022, recording three total tackles and two tackles for loss. The Ottawa native played multiple positions at Penn State but is currently listed as a depth player at outside linebacker with the Cardinals.

K/P Brett Maher (A) — Denver Broncos

CFL rights holder: None

The well-travelled kicker is coming off the best season of his career during which he connected on 29-of-32 field goal attempts for an average of 90.6 percent with the Cowboys. The Nebraska product will be competing in training camp against fellow journeyman Elliott Fry.

Photo: AP/Maria Lysaker

REC John Metchie III (N) — Houston Texans

CFL rights holder: B.C. Lions

The Alabama product was a second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft but missed his entire rookie year after being diagnosed with leukemia. Metchie is set to be a full participant in training camp this year after reportedly being medically cleared and he’ll be looking to make an impact as part of a new-look Texans offence.

OL Jordan Murray (A) — Indianapolis Colts

CFL rights holder: None

The six-foot-nine, 330-pound blocker was the starting left tackle for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats during their Grey Cup in 2021. Murray spent the entire 2022 season on the practice roster with the Colts and will be looking to crack the active roster in training camp this year.

OL Carter O’Donnell (N) — Indianapolis Colts

CFL rights holder: Edmonton Elks

The University of Alberta product suffered a season-ending Lisfranc injury early in training camp last year, though the Colts elected to bring him back for a fourth season since signing him as an undrafted free agent in 2020. After three years on the practice roster or injured reserve, O’Donnell will be looking to dress for his first career NFL game in 2023.

LB Amen Ogbongbemiga (N) — Los Angeles Chargers

CFL rights holder: Calgary Stampeders

The graduate of Notre Dame Senior High School in Calgary has dressed for 32 games since going unselected in the 2021 NFL Draft, recording 32 total tackles, two tackles for loss, and one sack. Ogbongbemiga played almost exclusively on special teams last year after being on the field for 11 percent of the Chargers’ defensive snaps in 2021.

DL David Onyemata (N) — Atlanta Falcons

CFL rights holder: Saskatchewan Roughriders

The University of Manitoba product signed a three-year deal worth $35 million with the Falcons in March, ending a seven-year run with the New Orleans Saints. Onyemata has recorded 244 total tackles, 28 tackles for loss, 23 sacks, six knockdowns, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble, and one interception over 106 career NFL games.

LB Ayo Oyelola (G) — Jacksonville Jaguars

CFL rights holder: None

The University of Nottingham product dressed for one game with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2021 as a linebacker but is listed as a safety with the Jags. Oyelola dressed for all three of the team’s preseason games in 2022 but wasn’t active for the regular season. He has a practice roster exemption through the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program.

Photo: AP/Kyusung Gong

REC Josh Palmer (N) — Los Angeles Chargers

CFL rights holder: None

The Brampton native has caught 105 passes for 1,122 yards and seven touchdowns over 33 games since being selected in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Palmer started 11 games last season as the Chargers fought through injuries to star receivers Mike Williams and Keenan Allen.

DB Rodney Randle Jr. (A) — New England Patriots

CFL rights holder: None

The six-foot, 170-pound cover man played 23 games over two seasons with the Montreal Alouettes and Hamilton Tiger-Cats, recording 69 total tackles and four interceptions. This is Randle’s second shot at the NFL after previously being a member of the Chargers in 2019.

DB Taylor Rapp (N) — Buffalo Bills

CFL rights holder: None

The former second-round pick signed a one-year, $1.8 million contract with Buffalo as a free agent following a four-year stint with the Los Angeles Rams. Rapp qualifies for Canadian citizenship through his father, Chris, who was raised north of the border.

DL Shane Ray (A) — Buffalo Bills

CFL rights holder: None

The 30-year-old edge rusher is back in the NFL following a two-year stint with the Toronto Argonauts during which he recorded 17 total tackles and six sacks. Ray was originally a first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, spending the first four years of his career as a member of the Denver Broncos.

DL Tavius Robinson (N) — Baltimore Ravens

CFL rights holder: Saskatchewan Roughriders

The six-foot-seven, 257-pound native of Guelph, Ont. was a fourth-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft following a solid career at Ole Miss. Robinson made 90 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks and five forced fumbles over 43 games with the Rebels after transferring to the program from U Sports amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

QB Nathan Rourke (N) — Jacksonville Jaguars

CFL rights holder: B.C. Lions

The native of Victoria, B.C. was sensational as the starting quarterback of the B.C. Lions last season, completing 78.7 percent of his passes for 3,349 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions along with 39 carries for 304 yards and seven touchdowns. After being named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian with B.C., Rourke is currently looking to win the primary backup job behind Trevor Lawrence.

QB Brett Rypien (N) — Los Angeles Rams

CFL rights holder: None

The nephew of Calgary native and Super Bowl XXVI MVP Mark Rypien signed with the Rams following a four-year run with the Denver Broncos during which he started three games. Rypien has thrown for 778 yards, four touchdowns, and eight interceptions in the regular season and is currently listed as the primary backup behind Matt Stafford.

OL Dakoda Shepley (N) — Indianapolis Colts

CFL rights holder: None

The native of Windsor, Ont. dressed for four games with the Dallas Cowboys last season but was claimed off waivers late in the year by the Colts. The 28-year-old has dressed for 13 career NFL games with San Francisco, Seattle, and Dallas since opting out of his contract with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2020.

DL Nathan Shepherd (N) — New Orleans Saints

CFL rights holder: Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The Ajax, Ont. native signed a three-year, $15 million contract with New Orleans as a free agent in March, ending a five-year run with the New York Jets. The six-foot-four, 315-pound defender has recorded 104 total tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and six sacks over 73 career NFL games.

Photo: AP/Bart Young

LB Alex Singleton (N) — Denver Broncos

CFL rights holder: None

The former Calgary Stampeder signed a three-year extension with the Broncos in March that will pay him $18 million, half of which is guaranteed. Singleton is coming off a strong season in which he made a career-high 163 total tackles along with six tackles for loss, three knockdowns, and one forced fumble.

OL Sidy Sow (N) — New England Patriots

CFL rights holder: Saskatchewan Roughriders

The six-foot-five, 323-pound native of Bromont, Que. was a fourth-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft after an outstanding career at Eastern Michigan University. He spent six seasons with the Eagles and started 54 of 56 games in which he played, setting all-time school records in both categories.

REC Diontae Spencer (A) — New York Jets

CFL rights holder: None

The 31-year-old return specialist fielded 68 punts for 667 yards and a touchdown and 47 kickoff returns for 1,008 yards over 42 career games with the Denver Broncos, but spent last season bouncing on and off New York’s practice roster. He was placed on injured reserve ahead of training camp and will not play this season unless he reaches an injury settlement with the team to secure his release.

DB Benjamin St-Juste (N) — Washington Commanders

CFL rights holder: Toronto Argonauts

The Montreal native was a third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and broke out in his second season, recording 42 total tackles, two tackles for loss, and seven knockdowns as a full-time starter. His impressive combination of speed and length gives him a very high ceiling in the NFL.

Courtesy: AP Photo/Jeff Lewis

QB Chris Streveler (A) — New York Jets

CFL rights holder: None

The dual-threat quarterback was activated for three games by the Jets last year and came off the bench in Week 16 to replace a struggling Zach Wilson. He completed 10-of-15 passes for 90 yards while adding a team-high nine carries for 54 yards on the ground. The 28-year-old will be attempting to double down on a 2022 preseason that head coach Robert Saleh dubbed “one of the greatest preseasons in the history of football.”

DB Jonathan Sutherland (N) — Seattle Seahawks

CFL rights holder: Montreal Alouettes

The five-foot-eleven, 202-pound native of Ottawa signed with Seattle as an undrafted free agent in 2023 following a storied career at Penn State. The four-time team captain recorded 137 tackles, eight tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, an interception, a forced fumble, and two blocked kicks in 58 career games.

DL Brent Urban (N) — Baltimore Ravens

CFL rights holder: Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The Mississauga native returned to the team that drafted him in 2014 last season and chose to stick around for his tenth NFL campaign. Urban has played 92 career games with the Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Tennessee Titans, and Dallas Cowboys, recording 128 total tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 12 knockdowns, and seven sacks.

OL Greg Van Roten (A) — Las Vegas Raiders

CFL rights holder: None

The former Toronto Argonaut continues to enjoy success south of the border, entering his tenth NFL season. He has dressed for 93 games with 54 starts as a member of the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers, New York Jets, and Buffalo Bills.

DL Kendal Vickers (A) — Buffalo Bills

CFL rights holder: None

The six-foot-three, 295-pound defender has made 20 total tackles, three tackles for loss, and two sacks since departing the Edmonton Football Team following the 2018 season. He has dressed for 25 games over the past two seasons in Las Vegas with two starts.

DL Luiji Vilain (N) — Minnesota Vikings

CFL rights holder: Toronto Argonauts

The Ottawa native dressed for three games with the Vikings after being signed as an undrafted free agent last season, recording four tackles. Vilain originally attended Michigan but transferred to Wake Forest in 2021, recording 34 total tackles, nine tackles for loss, eight sacks, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery.

REC Jared Wayne (N) — Houston Texans

CFL rights holder: Toronto Argonauts

The six-foot-three, 210-pound native of Peterborough, Ont. joined the Texans as an undrafted free agent following the 2023 NFL Draft, signing a three-year deal that includes $200,000 in guaranteed money. He caught 60 passes for 1,063 yards and five touchdowns at the University of Pittsburgh last year, capping a productive four-year career.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.