2024 CFL Draft position rankings: offensive linemen

Photo: Boston College Football/Joe Sullivan

There are just five 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. We’ve already broken down the quarterbacks, running backs, fullbacks, tight ends, and receivers. Make sure to check back tomorrow when we rank the defensive linemen.

Offensive linemen

1. Isaiah Adams, University of Illinois (Ajax, Ont.)

You can safely expect Adams to be bypassed entirely by the CFL, as he should hear his name called on Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft. The former freshman starter at Laurier bet on himself by transferring to Garden City Community College following the pandemic and making his way to Illinois, where his buttery smooth ability to get to the second level proved to be a catalyst for the success of fellow Canadian Chase Brown. His stock was hurt by having to play out of position at right tackle last year and the athletic measurables don’t jump off the page, but those who watched the 2022 film know he can be a rookie starter at guard.

2. Kyle Hergel, Boston College (Toronto, Ont.)

Once dubbed “a program changer” by his college head coach, that’s exactly what scouts see in Hergel after he dominated at three dramatically different levels of college competition — first in the FCS with North Dakota and then in the FBS with Texas State and Boston College. Credited with one of the highest career PFF grades of any draft-eligible guard, he’s a gritty tone-setter with technical hands, smooth feet, and a tremendous anchor. The six-foot-two, 302-pound blocker lacks ideal NFL length, though his absurd strength and underdog mentality are expected to serve him well as a priority undrafted free agent. If he was available in Week 1, Hergel would be the consensus top CFL pick, but teams love him so much they fear they’ll be waiting forever.

3. Theo Benedet, University of British Columbia (North Vancouver, B.C.)

The most accomplished offensive lineman in U Sports history, Benedet has taken home back-to-back J.P. Metras Trophies as the country’s top big man and attracted plenty of NFL attention along the way. He’s as polished a tackle prospect as Canada has ever produced, combining stunning initial quickness and fluid footwork with unparalleled flexibility and bend. In a just world, he’d be selected in the NFL Draft based on talent alone but there will be concerns about the lack of bulk on his six-foot-seven, 295-pound frame and his sub-par 32-inch arms. At worst, he will be a priority undrafted free agent and CFL teams know they’ll be waiting at least a couple of years if they want to draft the potential ratio-breaking bookend.

Courtesy: Bob Frid/UBC Athletics

4. Giovanni Manu, University of British Columbia (Pitt Meadows, B.C.)

Standing at a mountainous six-foot-seven and 353 pounds, Manu is not nearly as polished as his UBC teammate but has all the freakish athletic ability to make scouts swoon. He jumped 33.5 inches in the vertical and clocked a ridiculous 5.03-second forty-yard dash at his pro day, while boasting all the length and bulk the NFL covets. Though his lateral agility has led some to question whether he can play tackle at the next level, he has prior experience at guard and generational traits that will make him a Day 3 NFL Draft pick. That means it is “buyer beware” for anyone in the CFL.

5. Nathaniel Dumoulin-Duguay, Université Laval (Rimouski, Que.)

A two-time All-Canadian left tackle for the Rouge et Or, Dumoulin-Duguay’s lack of ideal length will require a kick inside at the next level but he can comfortably play all five spots up front. A modern offensive lineman with a trim physique, the former Canadian Army enlistee is a fluid athlete when pulling in space and has easy feet when mirroring, with a great natural anchor when stonewalling larger opponents to boot. His versatility will make him a fantastic sixth man as a rookie, but it won’t be long before Laval can claim another CFL starter up front.

6. George Una, University of Windsor (Toronto, Ont.)

Another potential future starter with some positional versatility, Una has great length for an interior player and pairs it with excellent lateral quickness off the snap, allowing him to make even the toughest reach blocks. He’s equally agile as a pass protector and maintains good position throughout each rep, rarely losing an edge. There is still room to develop in terms of his hand usage in the passing game, but he’s ready to contribute as a rookie.

7. Gabe Wallace, University at Buffalo (Salmon Arm, B.C.)

A neck-roll-wearing mauler, Wallace has played plenty of tackle with the Bulls but will happily move back to his natural guard spot in the CFL. At a broad-shouldered six-foot-six and 344 pounds, there are concerns that the former high school rugby star is carrying too much weight and lacks the foot speed to re-direct, causing his stock to fall. However, his size will be a feature in the right downhill rushing attack and his heavy hands effectively stop defenders in their tracks before they are able to get going.

Photo courtesy: AP Photo/Young Kwak

8. Christy Nkanu, Washington State University (Montreal, Que.)

Finding a consistent starting role has been a challenge for Nkanu at the collegiate level, but the ultimate Mr. Fix-It could realistically step into any of the five positions as a CFL player. Despite his small number of snaps at Southern Utah and failure to get on the field for the Cougars, the six-foot-two, 309-pound blocker’s efficiency as a pass protector has been exceptional when he’s played. With good technique and enough quickness to get you out of a season at tackle, he’s a far more gifted player than his stubby build would suggest.

9. Anim Dankwah, Howard University (Brampton, Ont.)

An NFL Combine attendee this year, Dankwah likely lands a UDFA contract south of the border due to his enormous six-foot-eight, 353-pound frame. Unlike fellow behemoth left tackle Manu, the Ghanaian immigrant lacks the corresponding freak athletic measurables and relies purely on his length to avoid disaster as a pass protector. Some CFL scouts believe the HBCU star’s heavy feet and lack of knee bend will preclude him from ever having success if he comes back to Canada, though his ability to physically manhandle opponents with size in the run game is almost unmatched.

10. John Bosse, University of Calgary (Calgary, Alta.)

The Dinos are no longer the offensive line factory they once were and Bosse will not arrive in the CFL as a finished product. At six-foot-four and 336 pounds, he’s not the people mover his size would suggest and poor lateral quickness will require a move inside to guard. However, you simply can’t teach the physical advantage that comes with his whopping 36 1/2-inch arms — freakish by even NFL standards — and he showed progress in learning how to utilize them effectively at the Combine. That blue trait can compensate for other weaknesses and give him an exceptionally high ceiling with the right coaching.

11. Daniel Johnson, Purdue University (London, Ont.)

The brother of former Alouettes’ receiver George Johnson, Daniel has the prototypical build for an offensive tackle at six-foot-six and 313 pounds with long arms. He’s logged some quality minutes against elite NCAA competition and flashes the movement skills you’d expect from a former tight end commit, but knee injuries have limited him to just 13 starts in six seasons between Kent State and Purdue. He still wasn’t fully healthy from the latest setback at his pro day in March and there are worries his best days are behind him, though some team will still take a swing on this fascinating reclamation project.

12. Owen Mueller, University of Windsor (London, Ont.)

A six-foot-five, 306-pound left tackle who earned his way onto the radar with exceptional athletic testing at the Invitational Combine, Mueller has just 10 career starts under his belt after sitting out 2021 and missing 2022 with a torn ACL. He’s a lot stiffer on the field than his measurables would suggest, but the strength and power of his punch come through as part of a road-grading Lancers’ front five. He lacks bend and tends to play over-aggressive, but his ceiling has not yet been reached.

Photo courtesy: Jay Fawler/ Windsor Athletics

13. Jaxon Morkin, University of Windsor (Windsor, Ont.)

The third member of the Windsor offensive line up for selection this year, Morkin is a back-alley brawler of a guard with enough nasty for the entire class. While coaches will love that mentality, his slow first step and average processing leave a lot to be desired. Too many of his matchups turn into wrestling matches due to sloppy technique but that can be taught, while his desire to finish can’t be.

14. Ethan Kalra, University of Waterloo (Acton, Ont.)

The son of a former women’s national rugby team captain, Kalra is a stout interior blocker with better footwork than his testing numbers would suggest. An elevation from the Invitational Combine, he plays too high and lacks a violent finish to his game, but wins thanks to sound technique and great pre-snap recognition. He feels like a natural CFL centre who can out-play a late-round selection.

15. John Kourtis, University of Saskatchewan (Toronto, Ont.)

Strictly a backup over five seasons at Liberty University, Kourtis finally got starting minutes after moving to Saskatoon this year. He tested despite recovering from a torn pec at the Combine and his poor numbers may have been affected as a result, though it is clear on tape that foot speed and lateral quickness are a significant issue. He exceeds his limitations thanks to excellent mental processing and toughness, traits which could elevate him as a centre in the right downhill power scheme.

16. Ryan Berta, Queen’s University (Hamilton, Ont.)

The Combine bench press champion plays with the bulldozing power in the run game that you might expect from someone that strong at the centre position and gets the job done climbing on double teams. The limitations come in pass protection, where Berta has bad eyes and sets his feet too early, resulting in ugly busts. Those tendencies could be worked out of him, but Queen’s rarely trusted him on an island and CFL teams won’t be eager to either.

17. Patrick Lavoie, Carleton University (Gatineau, Que.)

Carleton’s second-team All-OUA left tackle has a solid skillset across the board and showed it with a strong outing at this year’s FCS Bowl, but he lacks the elite traits to separate himself in this year’s deep class. The six-foot-four, 294-pounder is best suited to playing inside in the CFL but has problematic play strength, which results in a failure to displace at the point of attack. He has added muscle over the last year, but more work needs to be done to be a pro.

Photo courtesy: Christian Bender/Laurier Athletics

18. Cooper Hamilton, Wilfrid Laurier University (Innisfil, Ont.)

At six-foot-six and 301 pounds, Hamilton has the type of tackle frame that scouts immediately notice. The two-time OUA all-star’s game simply doesn’t match that image yet, with heavy feet that are slow to react and wild hand placement. If he hears his name called, it will be by virtue of a body projection from a team willing to work through the kinks.

19. Curtis Woodmansey, University of Guelph (Toronto, Ont.)

The brother of former Ticats’ first-round pick Coulter Woodmansey, Curtis has spent his career as an unspectacular gap-plugging defensive tackle with limited production. His heavy get-off, strong punch, and limitations sorting through traffic as a tackler scream a potential guard convert at the next level. Some intriguing testing measurables at the Invitational Combine back that theory up if he’s willing to embrace change and match his sibling.

20. Daniel Shin, University of Alberta (Edmonton, Alta.)

Shin’s fall from grace has been hard to watch for all who have admired the first-team All-Canadian centre’s game at Alberta, but his lack of athleticism is impossible to ignore. Underweight with disqualifyingly short arms, his style of play is all about intelligence, leverage, and unstoppable effort, but you can’t survive as a pro without other tools to compensate.

21. James Stockwood, Okanagan Sun (Bowmanville, Ont.)

A former OUA all-rookie defensive tackle at Toronto in 2019 and CJFL All-Canadian in 2021, Stockwood has been out of football for the last few years while on the development track for the Canadian national rugby team. His testing at the Invitational Combine underwhelmed for a pass rusher but his six-foot-five, 298-pound frame and movement style look a lot like a diamond-in-the-rough offensive tackle. The main question is whether he’s committed enough to returning to football to entertain that possibility.

On the fringes: Evan Anseeuw, York (Walsingham, Ont.) | Nick Pilichos, Acadia (Bedford, N.S.) | Alexander Hall, Concordia (Ottawa, Ont.) | Michael Vlahogiannis, McGill (Mt. Royal, Que.) | Taylor Burns, McMaster (Riverview, N.B.) | Matthew Hajewich, Regina (Regina, Sask.)

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.