Edmonton Elks select University of Cincinnati LB Joel Dublanko first overall in 2024 CFL Draft

Photo: AP/Tony Tribble

The Edmonton Elks selected University of Cincinnati linebacker Joel Dublanko with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 CFL Draft.

The six-foot-three, 240-pounder recently qualified for Canadian citizenship through his father who was born in Edmonton. He’s hoping to follow in Alex Singleton’s footsteps.

Dublanko went unselected in the 2022 NFL Draft but signed with the New Orleans Saints as a priority free agent. He was waived by the team the following month and joined the Seattle Seahawks for training camp, though he was cut upon its conclusion. He spent the 2023 season with the Philadelphia Stars in the United States Football League, recording 27 total tackles and half-a-sack over seven games with four starts.

The Aberdeen, Wash. native reportedly ran a 4.76-second 40-yard dash at his pro day in 2022 along with a 35-inch vertical, 115-inch broad jump, 4.40-second short shuttle, 7.22-second three-cone drill, and 20 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. He lit up the CFL Combine in Winnipeg, improving on almost all the testing numbers.

Dublanko played five NCAA seasons with the Bearcats after redshirting in 2016. He finished his collegiate career with 233 total tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and one interception over 64 games, starting during his final two seasons.

The 26-year-old was named first-team All-American Athletic Conference during his final season in 2021 and served as a team captain, helping Cincinnati reach the College Football Playoff semifinal round against the University of Alabama.

Dublanko was originally a four-star recruit coming out of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. and garnered offers from Mississippi State, Washington State, and Tennessee.