Bo Levi Mitchell believes Taylor Powell has ‘potential to be an amazing QB’ in CFL

Photo courtesy: Bob Butrym/RFB Sport Photography

While Taylor Powell was winning state championships at Fayetteville High School in Arkansas, he watched Bo Levi Mitchell’s highlights on YouTube. Since entering the CFL, the 2016 Mr. Football has been learning from the man he first saw through a screen.

“Surreal. He’s like an older brother to me. He doesn’t have to help me, he’s been a Hall of Famer. He’s taken me under his wing and showing me the ropes,” Powell said. “I’ve been a fan of Bo’s since high school, not to make him feel old.”

Mitchell signed a three-year contract with the Tiger-Cats prior to the 2023 season and Powell inked his deal immediately after attending rookie minicamp with the Carolina Panthers last May.

“I knew I wanted to play in the CFL. When I was coming out of college, I knew I probably wasn’t going to be an NFL draft pick,” Powell said. “I’ve always loved this league and the tradition. I’ve followed the league for a long time.”

The 25-year-old suited up in 16 games for the Ticats as a rookie and made nine starts, producing a 4-5 win-loss record when Mitchell was injured. The six-foot-two, 207-pound QB completed 67.4 percent of his passes for 2,283 yards with 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions while adding 28 carries for 196 yards plus one touchdown.

“He’s progressed quickly with playing nine games last year and being put in a position that’s very tough as a rookie and coming out with the results that he did,” Mitchell said.

The Ticats felt his play warranted a raise with one year added to his contract, which now runs through 2025. He will earn $92,000 in hard money for this year with an additional $2,000 per game in playtime incentives, plus $1,500 each if he leads the team in passing yards and touchdown passes. He also has $5,000 available in all-star and award bonuses.

For 2025, Powell can earn $99,500 in hard money with the same playtime and performance bonuses included in the deal.

“I’m pleased with what he’s done over the last six to eight months. I have a lot of confidence in him,” head coach Scott Milanovich said. “He still has to take leaps. He won some games but we were by no means dominant, even when he was playing well. He knows he belongs now. I’m trying to elevate his game even more.”

“Scott’s been one of the biggest blessings in my life,” Powell said. “He coaches me hard, which I love and feed off. He pushes me to try to be great. He’s coached a lot of good ones. I try to keep improving.”

Powell wants to be in Hamilton for “a long time” and did not want to wait until after the season or go into free agency to sign his next contract. Milanovich said he has to “earn” being the Tiger-Cats quarterback of the future every day.

“I don’t want to overhype, he’s got potential to be an amazing quarterback in this league for a very long time. My favourite thing about him is consistency, he does the same thing every single day,” Mitchell said.

“One of the most underrated things with quarterbacks is your relationship with teammates. Taylor might be one of the best I’ve ever seen at that, he’s a guy that connects with Tim White all the way down to the last receiver on the list.”

The 34-year-old veteran wants to teach Powell from his mistakes and allow him to go about playing the most important position in football his own way with “tidbits” thrown in that helped Mitchell in the past.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.