2024 CFL Draft position rankings: receivers

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

There are just six days remaining until the 2024 CFL Draft, with hundreds of players waiting to see their pro football dreams realized on Tuesday, April 30 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

As always, 3DownNation will be your go-to source for extensive coverage of all eight rounds. Analysts J.C. Abbott and Ben Grant will be live on YouTube for the entirety of the selection process, while mock draft guru John Hodge is set to provide up-to-the-minute written analysis with his annual live blog.

In the lead-up to the festivities, our team has collaborated on prospect rankings at every position, culminating in the unveiling of our annual Top 25. Yesterday, we broke down the quarterbacks, running backs, fullbacks, and tight ends. Make sure to check back tomorrow when we rank the offensive linemen.

Receivers

1. Kevin Mital, Université Laval (Longeuil, Que.)

The 2022 Hec Crighton Trophy winner ended his Laval career with a whimper due to a high ankle sprain and an off-the-field suspension, but he answered every question he needed to at the CFL Combine. At six feet and 229 pounds, Mital provides a unique physical mismatch worthy of comparison to Lemar Durant or even Nik Lewis, with all the tools to thrive as a possession slotback. At his peak, you could argue he was the most dominant receiver in U Sports history and he’s ready to contribute Week 1 for a CFL squad.

2. Nick Mardner, Auburn University (Mississauga, Ont.)

A thousand-yard receiver for Hawaii back in 2021, Mardner transferred first to Cincinnati then Auburn and saw his role reduce each time, in part due to injuries. That could be to the benefit of CFL clubs, as there is no way that a true six-foot-six, 208-pound deep threat would be in training camp for them otherwise. Like many players that tall, the college journeyman has some stiffness and limitations to his route tree but will stack defenders like few others on the outside.

3. Kevens Clercius, University of Connecticut (Montreal, Que.)

At six-foot-two and 217 pounds, it is Clercius’ physical frame and willingness to get his nose dirty that is most attractive to CFL teams. A solid depth receiver at UConn who won occasionally on the outside, his role on offence disappeared almost entirely last season and he was forced to embrace special teams. Simply put, no receiver in this class approaches blocking with the same fervour. He’ll likely never be a thousand-yard target, but the things he does well that don’t show up on the box score will ensure a long career.

Photo courtesy: Kortney Carlin/Bemidji State Athletics

4. Dhel Duncan-Busby, Bemidji State University (Toronto, Ont.)

A Division II standout with more yardage under his belt than any other receiving prospect available, Duncan-Busby proved at the CFL Combine that he has the athletic tools to translate to the next level. An ex-basketball player who fell into football by accident, he flashes a good release off the line and is hard to bump off his route, with a solid understanding of how to attack a defender’s leverage. He may take a year to develop given that he has never actually played the Canadian game, but the tools are there for success.

5. Ezechiel Tieide, Concordia University (Lachine, Que.)

A talented high school quarterback who was one of the nation’s top recruits, Tieide has very limited experience at the receiver position. He practiced as a defensive back for much of his time at Boston College and played just eight snaps on the outside at Toledo, before returning home to Concordia last season. His high upside and drool-worthy length were on full display in a 143-yard, two-touchdown performance that nearly drug the Stingers to an unlikely overtime upset of Laval in the RSEQ playoffs. While underwhelming testing at the Combine was a surprise, his frame and wealth of special teams experience from the NCAA are reassuring.

6. Jahquan Bloomfield, Prairie View A&M University (Chateauguay, Que.)

Between his time at Louisiana-Monroe and Prairie View A&M, nobody has suited up for more collegiate games than the 50 that Bloomfield has under his belt. That didn’t result in consistent production at either level but the high-end flashes have always been there, with a career 20.9 yards per catch proving his ability to bust deep or turn short catches into something more. The lack of consistency is a concern and his six-foot, 188-pound frame is significantly smaller than the other top receivers, but his 17 career tackles as a special teams gunner prove he won’t shy away from contact as a result.

7. Frederik Antoine, Université Laval (Quebec City, Que.)

From a physical standpoint, it’s impossible not to be intrigued by Antoine. At six-foot-one and 213 pounds, he looks like he was chiselled out of marble and put up 21 reps on the bench, all while blazing a 4.53-second forty-yard dash. The big question then becomes why an athlete of that calibre, who transferred from Old Dominion two years ago, never became an impact player in U Sports. The presence of Mital is a convenient excuse, but he’s also a tentative route runner who never showed his true explosion on the field. CFL teams will have to hope they can unlock what no one else ever has.

Photo courtesy: Maddie Williams/Clemson Athletics

8. Ajou Ajou, Garden City Community College (Brooks, Alta.)

As divisive as any prospect in recent draft memory, Ajou was the feel-good story of 2020 and looked bound for stardom at Clemson before it all blew up in his face. Poor decision-making and immaturity took him from Death Valley to South Florida, then to community college in Kansas where he was little more than a role-playing tight end. The freakish frame and elite athletic potential are still there, with his painfully slow forty-yard dash at the Combine being artificially deflated by poor start technique. The concern is whether he’s serious about doing what it takes to be a successful pro.

9. D’Sean Mimbs, University of Regina (Regina, Sask.)

The son of three-time CFL all-star running back Robert Mimbs, we’d likely be talking more about D’Sean if he didn’t pull his hamstring while running the forty in Winnipeg. An exceptional natural athlete with a smaller build, he already jumped out of the gym and likely would have proven himself among the fastest players in attendance. That isn’t always obvious on tape, however, where Mimbs has a tendency to throttle down and round his routes, while battling drops at times. He’s rarely had the quality of QB play to showcase himself at Regina, so there is hope he can elevate with better talent at the next level.

10. Nicholas Gendron, University of Ottawa (Gatineau, Que.)

With his impressive athletic showing at the Invitational Combine, Gendron would have risen in a lot of other draft years but the depth in the 2024 class limits his ceiling. The Gee-Gees’ Offensive Player of the Year last season stepped up big amidst injuries and sometimes played a possession role rife with blocking responsibilities for which he was not perfectly suited. At five-11 and 197 pounds, I felt he was at his best when threatening deep and believe he could provide value as a late-round depth target.

Photo courtesy: U Sports

11. Abdul-Karim Gassama, University of Manitoba (Winnipeg, Man.)

From a pure talent perspective, Gassama should be much higher on this list. The two-time All-Canadian has been a threat to score from everywhere on the field thanks to his quick twitch route running and long speed, with the body control and focus to routinely haul in difficult catches. The only thing that will matter to most scouts is his minuscule five-foot-eight, 158-pound frame, which is viewed as simply too small for the pros.

12. Mohsen Jamal, Western University (London, Ont.)

Ask anyone at Western and they’ll tell you that Jamal is the hardest-working player on the roster, going from clipboard holder to impact starter last season. He’s a five-foot-nine, 181-pound grinder who punches above his weight class in the gym and on the field, showing elite short-area quickness and a knack for finding the soft spot. Like Gassama, the concern is size, though his 15 bench reps prove he at least has the strength to battle.

13. Darius Simmons, McGill University (Lachine, Que.)

A two-time All-Canadian who racked up yardage on one of the worst teams in the country, Simmons flashed with a few acrobatic catches on the final day of the Combine. He’s got nice thickness to his frame at 204 pounds and a good understanding of where to settle in space, but I question if he has enough explosiveness to consistently separate. He’ll be asked to do more in the CFL than exploit soft coverage while playing from behind.

14. Michael Boland, Aurora University (Huntley, Ill.)

A productive pass catcher at the Division III level, Boland has an adequate frame and shows some refined route-running ability against low-level competition. The problem, like with most small school prospects, is that most of his athletic measurables are a tier below the rest of the pack, which leads to doubts about whether his game will translate.

15. Harvey Mafuta, Carleton University (Toronto, Ont.)

A potential late-round shot in the dark, Mafuta has limited production and is coming off rotator cuff surgery. However, you still see the flashes of game-breaking ability and top-end speed that made him the CJFL’s Rookie of the Year back in 2019, when he was playing receiver, defensive back, and kick returner simultaneously for the GTA Grizzlies. A flyer on his untapped potential wouldn’t be wasted if he returns to school and breaks out in his final season.

On the fringes: Maxim Malenfant, Ottawa (Drummondville, Que.) | Edgerrin Williams-Hernandez, UBC (Hamilton, Ont.) | Liam Stewart, Saint Mary’s (Port Coquitlam, B.C.)

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.