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2020 CFL draft

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Welcome to my live grading of the 2020 CFL draft.

Before we begin, it should be noted that I am grading picks, not prospects. The same player who would be a steal in round five (A+) would be considered a reach in round one (F).

As with any live draft grades, take these with a grain of salt. Allow them to serve as a reference point based on the collegiate performance of the prospects below, analysis from scouts across the league, and team needs. Years from now, it’s inevitable that many of these grades will be considered too high or too low for a variety of reasons.

The CFL draft is a great event — enjoy it!

Editor’s note: this page does not refresh automatically; refresh as the draft progresses to see the latest grades.

1 (1) B.C. Lions (via Ottawa & Calgary) — LB Jordan Williams, East Carolina

3DownNation’s #3 prospect.

Three-year starter with the Pirates who made 251 tackles in 38 career games. Hasn’t played since he graduated in 2017. Born in Fayetteville, N.C. but qualified for the draft through his mother’s Canadian citizenship.

Considered too small for the NFL at five-foot-eleven and 218 pounds, but perfectly-suited for the Canadian game given his ability to cover sideline-to-sideline. Has elite speed and quickness. Projects as a starter at weak-side or middle linebacker.

The Lions still have a need along the offensive line, but Williams is the type of player who only comes around once every five to ten years. B.C. can sign him immediately and have a player who will dominate on special teams and potentially start at weak-side linebacker, where the club started Isaiah Guzylak-Messam in 2019. A

Read his full draft profile here.

1 (2) Toronto Argonauts — REC Dejon Brissett, Virginia

3DownNation’s #12 prospect.

Had his draft year deferred after suffering a broken ankle as a senior at Richmond. Transferred to Virginia for 2019 but struggled to make an impact, recording just one reception in 12 games.

A bit of a risky selection given his injury history, but Brissett remains one of the draft’s most polished receivers who is also capable of contributing as a return specialist.

The safe pick here would have been Buffalo offensive lineman Tomas Jack-Kurdyla, who would have met Toronto’s biggest area of need. The Argos will have to hope the blocker falls to nine.

As for Brissett, this is a bit of a reach for me. I like the fact that he’s local, but taking a receiver at second overall who hasn’t produced in two years is risky. C+

Read his full draft profile here.

1 (3) Calgary Stampeders (via B.C.) — DE Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund, Southeastern Louisiana

3DownNation’s #7 prospect.

Six-foot-two, 243-pound pass rusher who was converted from interior linebacker as a junior in 2018. Has extensive experience as an upback on punt team, which CFL teams consider a major asset.

Recorded 16 sacks over his junior and senior seasons, three of which came against Heisman Trophy winner and first overall NFL draft pick Joe Burrow of LSU. Has a good repertoire of pass-rushing moves, though he lacks an optimal wing span. Potential ratio-breaking pass rusher.

Calgary coveted Adeyemi-Berglund because he can rotate alongside Derek Wiggan on the interior while also providing depth on the edge with Connor McGough. Smart player. Great pick. A

Read his full draft profile here.

1 (4) Edmonton Eskimos — OL Tomas Jack-Kurdyla, Buffalo

3DownNation’s #10 prospect.

A four-year starter who plays at an appropriate weight (305 pounds) for his six-foot-three frame. Plays with good leverage, but rarely finishes his blocks with dominance. Moves well and is able to get to the second level in the run game.

Bends well and displays solid balance. Has one of the best twitter handles ever: @LastStringQB. With Carter O’Donnell in the NFL, Jack-Kurdyla is considered by many scouts to be the only offensive lineman capable starting as a CFL rookie. Read his full draft profile here.

This is a safe depth move for the Esks. For a team that missed out on Waterloo’s Jesse Gibbon last year, this is a safe pick to address the interior of Edmonton’s offensive line. Jack-Kurdyla could compete for a starting job right away. A

Read his draft profile here.

1 (5) Hamilton Tiger-Cats (via Montreal) — OL Coulter Woodmansey, Guelph

Nasty blocker who plays consistently to the whistle — and sometimes slightly after it. Uses leverage effectively and is able to bury opposing defenders.

Not an explosive athlete who can sometimes get heavy feet. Highly coachable. Projects as a CFL guard.

This pick is a shocker. The local product could become a starter, but he’ll need a lot of time to develop. The Ticats have plenty of depth along the offensive line already with needs at linebacker and receiver. I think Woodmansey is a player that Hamilton could have waited on until the second or third round. C

Read his draft profile here.

1 (6) Ottawa Redblacks (via Calgary) — LB/DB Adam Auclair, Laval

3DownNation’s #11 prospect.

One of the most versatile defenders in the draft, capable of playing in the box or dropping back into coverage. Has a nose for the football and runs well in space.

Should play on all four special teams units as a CFL rookie. 2019 Bruce Coulter Award winner. The younger brother of Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ tight end Antony Auclair.

The Redblacks desperately needed to upgrade its personnel on cover teams, a need that Auclair fills immediately. He could eventually take over from Antoine Pruneau at safety and is bilingual, which matters in Ottawa’s market. B+

Read his full draft profile here.

1 (7) Saskatchewan Roughriders — OL Mattland Riley, Saskatchewan

2019 first-team U Sports all-Canadian who is stout and physical, but not dynamic. Gets to the second level on short screens effectively. Could play guard in the CFL but might be best-suited to playing centre; has experience at both positions.

Smart player who provides some much-needed depth for Saskatchewan along the offensive line. Not many teams had him ranked as a first-round talent, but he rose late in the process due partly to strong interviews with teams.

This might have been a round too early, but it’s hard to criticize taking a smart local product in the first round considering there’s a chance he could start in a year or two. B

Read his draft profile here.

1 (8) Hamilton Tiger-Cats — DE Mason Bennett, North Dakota

3DownNation’s #9 prospect.

Winnipeg native who finished his career second all-time in Fighting Hawks history with 20 sacks. Has an excellent pass-rushing frame at six-foot-four and 258 pounds, though he’ll need to prove he can play special teams early in his CFL career.

A high-end athlete who plays with a violent streak. Nine-sack junior season put him on the NFL’s radar, though the lack of a pro day hurt his chances of earning a contract down south. Potential ratio-breaking pass rusher.

With Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund unavailable at fifth overall, Bennett is an excellent consolation prize three picks later. Potential ratio-breaking defensive end who will fill the role of a linebacker early in his career on special teams. B+

Read his full draft profile here.

1 (9) Toronto Argonauts (via Winnipeg) — OL Theren Churchill, Regina

Plays with good balance and relatively quick feet. Hand positioning is consistent and difficult to out-leverage. Punishing in the run game – finishes blocks and manhandles interior defenders.

Susceptible when forced to cover distance, but often makes up space. Projects as a CFL guard with the ability to play tackle if called upon.

I really liked Churchill when I saw him live in Winnipeg this past year, but this is early for him. He brings crucial depth behind Jamal Campbell, but Churchill is a player who could probably have taken in the third round. C+

2 (10) Ottawa Redblacks — DT Michael Hoecht, Brown

3DownNation’s #5 prospect.

Physical freak who ran a 4.65 forty-yard dash at 295 pounds at his virtual pro day. Was born in Oakville, Ont. and raised in Ohio, though he moved back to Canada for a portion of high school. Served as a calculus tutor throughout his degree. Recently signed with the Los Angeles Rams as a priority undrafted free agent.

Hoecht is a perfect fit for an Ottawa team that will need an heir apparent to Cleyon Laing in the next 2-3 years. There’s some risk here in case he never reports, but his talent is off the charts. Upgrade this pick to an A if he reports by 2022 and an A+ if they get him by 2021. B+

Read his full draft profile here.

2 (11) Toronto Argonauts — LB Jack Cassar, Carleton

3DownNation’s #15 prospect. Missed the 2019 East-West Bowl due to a broken ankle. Relies on his six-foot-four, 240-pound frame; will need to become a better block-shedder at the professional level.

Knows how to get after the quarterback, recording eight sacks in 31 games with the Ravens. Will excel on special teams and has the potential to become a starter at middle linebacker.

Makes perfect sense for a Toronto team that could look to start two Canadian linebackers in the next year or two. Great fit. B+

2 (12) Calgary Stampeders (via B.C.) — REC Trivel Pinto, UBC

3DownNation’s #16 prospect.

Had his draft year deferred from 2019 after failing a drug test following his senior season. An explosive athlete who put up 3,224 receiving yards and 30 touchdowns over four seasons with the Thunderbirds.

This is a bit of a surprise, but there’s no doubting Pinto is talented. He’s flashy and could also contribute as a return specialist in Calgary. He’ll ignite some excitement into the Stampeders’ receiving corps, upgrading a group that lost Juwan Brescacin to free agency. B

Read his full draft profile here.

2 (13) Edmonton Eskimos — DE Alain Pae, Ottawa

Hasn’t played since 2017 when he recorded right tackles for loss and six sacks with the Gee-Gees. The native of Prague recently qualified for the draft after attaining his Canadian citizenship and is already 27 years of age.

Has a great frame at six-foot-four and 240 pounds and came in as one of the draft’s biggest wildcards and he goes shockingly high here at 13. This pick is an indication to me that the Eskimos could start two Canadian defensive ends (Kwaku Boateng and Mathieu Betts) and need a backup.

Pae might be a great player, but this is such a risky pick with so many more proven options on the board. C

2 (14) Montreal Alouettes — DB Marc-Antoine Dequoy, Montreal

3DownNation’s #6 prospect.

Lanky defensive back who ran a blazing 4.35 forty-yard dash at his pro day in March, which was attended by two NFL teams. Played halfback with the Carabins but projects as a CFL field-side cornerback or safety.

One scout calls him a “once-in-a-decade defensive back.” Has a nose for the football and makes plays. Versatile and athletic though not overly physical. Recently signed with the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent.

This is a great local pick that addresses a major need for the Alouettes. As a long-shot to make the Packers, it’s entirely possible Dequoy reports to Montreal in 2020. A

2 (15) B.C. Lions (via Calgary) — QB Nathan Rourke, Ohio

3DownNation’s #8 prospect.

Started with the Bobcats for three years following a one-year stint at Fort Scott Community College. Threw for 7,457 yards, 60 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in 39 games while rushing for 2,634 yards and 49 touchdowns. Considered by many to be the best Canadian quarterback prospect of the past decade.

Was not signed as an undrafted free agent following the 2020 NFL draft. Lacks elite size at six-foot-two and 210 pounds, which was a factor in Rourke not signing an NFL contract.

This is a slam dunk for the Lions. They get a player who will serve as the backup to Mike Reilly right away and do so at a cap-friendly number. The only thing holding this pick back from an A+ is B.C.’s need along the offensive line. A

Read his full draft profile here.

2 (16) Montreal Alouettes (via Saskatchewan) — DT Cameron Lawson, Queen’s

3DownNation’s #17 prospect.

Played his senior season at 280 pounds, shedding weight from the 2019 East-West Bowl. Commands double-teams often and rarely loses one-on-one match-ups. Stout but lacks an elite motor.

Doesn’t have the highest ceiling, but he has a high floor. Lawson should rotate a lot as a rookie and provide the Alouettes with some flexibility up front along the defensive line. B+

Read his full draft profile here.

2 (17) Hamilton Tiger-Cats — LB Bailey Feltmate, Acadia

3DownNation’s #18 prospect.

Big-bodied linebacker (six-foot-two, 229 pounds) who put up 203 tackles over four seasons with the Axemen. The 2019 Tony Proudfoot Trophy winner has the size to play middle linebacker and the athleticism to play weak-side at the professional level. Should be one of the draft’s top special teams players.

I love this pick. I’ve been a big fan of Feltmate for a long time as a potential ratio-breaking linebacker. Perfect fit for a team that needed to address the linebacker position. A

Read his full draft profile here.

2 (18) Winnipeg Blue Bombers — DB Noah Hallett, McMaster

3DownNation’s #23 prospect.

Athletic freak who recorded a 44-inch vertical jump at the 2019 East-West Bowl. Was named a second-team All-Canadian in 2019 at halfback, but should move to safety at the CFL level. Capable of delivering big hits, but needs to wrap up consistently.

The younger brother of Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ defensive back Nick Hallett who will contribute heavily on special teams. Strong pick that meets the Bombers’ biggest area of need. B+

Read his full draft profile here.

2 (19) Ottawa Redblacks (territorial selection) — LB Daniel Basambambo, Laval

Big-bodied linebacker (six-foot, 230 pounds) who tested well at the 2019 East-West Bowl, including a 10-foot, five-inch broad jump and 20 reps on the bench. Didn’t play in 2020 due to academic ineligibility and plans to return to school this year.

Basambombo is not a top-20 talent, but there weren’t many players available to Ottawa with this pick. He plans to return to school in 2020, but he could be a great special teams player for the Redblacks in 2021. A

2 (20) Toronto Argonauts (territorial selection) — DT Sam Acheampong, Wilfrid Laurier

3DownNation’s #14 prospect.

Has a good burst off the line and moves well for his 275-pound frame. Gets held up at times, but excels at hitting the gap. Played defensive end when the Golden Hawks played a 30-front. Versatile and athletic. A boom-or-bust-type prospect with a high ceiling.

This is a good pick for the Argos considering Acheampong’s potential. He’ll take time to develop, but this is a shrewd pick for a player who could have gone earlier in the second round. A

Read his full draft profile here.

3 (21) Calgary Stampeders (via Ottawa) — REC Rysen John, Simon Fraser

Massive target at six-foot-seven and 225 pounds. A red zone threat who recorded 1,828 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns with the Clan. Named after longtime NFL/CFL receiver Andre Rison.

Recently signed as an undrafted free agent with the New York Giants. May be a better fit for the American game than the Canadian game given his size.

There’s risk here considering John is in the NFL, but I like this pick for Calgary considering their Canadian receivers lack size. B

Read his full draft profile here.

3 (22) Montreal Alouettes — OL Carter O’Donnell, Alberta

3DownNation’s #4 prospect.

The Red Deer native attended the Shrine Bowl in January where he caught the attention of NFL scouts. Athletic, violent, and technical. Capable of playing tackle or guard. Some scouts consider O’Donnell to be the best U Sports offensive line prospect of the last three to five years.

Recently signed with the Indianapolis Colts as a priority undrafted free agent, earning a signing bonus of $25,000. Consensus is teams feel it will take at least two years for O’Donnell to report to the CFL.

This pick has risk, but the reality is that O’Donnell is elite. Even if you never see him, a third-round pick is a small price to pay to secure his rights. B+

3 (23) B.C. Lions — DT Court Hammond, Western Oregon

The native of Corvallis, Oregon qualified for the draft through parental citizenship. Registered four sacks in 23 games with the Wolves and has a solid frame at six-foot-four and 275 pounds, but has a history of knee problems.

Most teams had Hammond in the fifth-to-seventh round. The Lions reached here because they need a defensive tackle but Lawson and Acheampong are off the board. I like addressing this position, but this is way too early for Hammond. D

3 (24) Edmonton Eskimos — LB Malik Tyne, Towson

Converted basketball player who was not a regular starter at Towson, but still recorded 21.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks in 42 games. Considered very raw; has great physical tools, but requires development. Has drawn comparisons to Boseko Lokombo and could factor in at defensive end, linebacker or safety.

This is a good pick for a team that needs better personnel on special teams. I would expect the club to address the linebacker position again before the night is out. B

3 (25) Montreal Alouettes — DE Benoit Marion, Montreal

Posted six sacks in 2019 (second in the RSEQ) and drew the attention of scouts as the Carabins’ season progressed. Late-bloomer who was not invited to the 2019 East-West Bowl. Has an ideal frame at six-foot-five and 250 pounds.

Late-riser who is a great regional fit for the Alouettes. That said, this is at least one round early for the pass rusher. C+

3 (26) Calgary Stampeders — OL Jonathan Zamora, St. FX

Three-time AUS all-star and four-year starter who is one of the few offensive linemen in this year’s draft with extensive experience at centre. A punishing blocker who is stout in run and pass protection. Lacks optimal range and quickness.

I like Zamora, but this is a weird fit given the Stamps’ depth at centre (Sean McEwen, Justin Lawrence). A fine pick, but this feels a little bit early. C+

3 (27) Hamilton Tiger-Cats — REC Tyler Ternowski, Waterloo

3DownNation’s #24 prospect.

Speedy target who plays bigger than his five-foot-ten, 190-pound frame. Has great hands and doesn’t shy away from contact. Posted 169 receptions for 3,068 yards and 26 touchdowns with the Warriors including 1,257 yards in 2018. Read his full draft profile here.

This is a perfect pick for the Ticats, fitting a positional need and getting a local player. Ternowski has 4.50 speed and could be a big contributor at the CFL level. A

3 (28) Toronto Argonauts (via Winnipeg) — OL Dylen Giffen, Western

3DownNation’s #19 prospect. The six-foot-eight, 320-pound left tackle should move to guard at the professional level. Struggles at times when isolated, but excels in zone blocking schemes.

Physically dominant in the run game. Has drawn comparisions to CFL all-star Shane Bergman, who is of similar size and was also a member of the Mustangs.

A nice pick for the Argos who need to continue building the interior of the offensive line. Giffen bends really well for his size and could become a really good guard in the CFL. A-

Read his full draft profile here.

4 (29) Ottawa Redblacks — OL Jakub Szott, McMaster

Career guard who was named a second-team OUA all-star in 2019. Not rangy, but has quick feet. Brings some of the nastiness that teams covet along the offensive line.

Often finishes blocks with authority. Has practiced centre of the past two years and may find a permanent home there in the CFL.

I’m really high on Szott, particular as a centre. Ottawa has plenty of offensive linemen, but — if the club wants to prioritize carrying interior blockers — Szott’s a nice fit for the fourth round. A-

Read his full draft profile here.

4 (30) Saskatchewan Roughriders (via Toronto) — REC Kian Schaffer-Baker, Guelph

Possesses solid size (six-foot-three, 203 pounds) and tested very well at the Ontario regional combine. His career production isn’t elite — 95 receptions for 1,544 yards and eight touchdowns — though the Gryphons have had a run-oriented offence over the past few seasons. Considered a sleeper by some scouts heading into the draft.

Great pick for a team that needs some depth behind 2019 draft selections Justin McInnis and Brayden Lenius-Dickey. Schaffer-Baker’s not a sure-thing, but he’s got a high ceiling. Good value in the fourth round. A-

4 (31) Calgary Stampeders (via B.C.) — LB/DB Kurtis Gray, Waterloo

Projects as a CFL safety given his size (six-foot-two, 210 pounds) but often played strong-side linebacker with the Warriors. Made 208 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, and 8.5 sacks in 32 games. Hits hard and runs well with receivers. Sticky defender with a long wingspan.

A nice fit for a team that already has Fraser Sopik on the roster — another Canadian ‘tweener.’ Solid pick for the Stamps. B+

4 (32) Edmonton Eskimos — DB Dotun Aketepe, Guelph

Fleet-footed cover man who’s a better tackler than most defensive backs. Posted eight interceptions in 26 games with the Gryphons.

The Esks have a lot of national defensive backs, but I think Aketepe could be good on special teams. B

4 (33) Montreal Alouettes — LB Brian Harelimana, Montreal

Rotated heavily with the Carabins, contributing at MIKE and as an edge rusher. Lacks elite speed, but was able to cover sideline-to-sideline in the RSEQ. Should contribute heavily on special teams.

Another member of the Carabins follows Danny Maciocia to the Montreal Alouettes. Solid special teams player for a team that lost Chris Ackie and Boseko Lokombo in the off-season. B+

4 (34) Calgary Stampeders — REC Tyson Middlemost, McMaster

Posted limited production with the Marauders (69 catches, 896 yards, and seven touchdowns in 21 games) but tested well at the Ontario regional combine at six-foot-one and 193 pounds.

This feels very early for Middlemost — especially considering the Stamps already have already taken two receivers tonight. Not sure about this pick considering some of the talent still available. D

4 (35) Saskatchewan Roughriders — LB A.J. Allen, Guelph

Five-foot-eleven, 215-pounder who got to the quarterback 5.5 times over 30 games with the Gryphons. Ran a solid 4.70 forty-yard dash at the Ontario regional combine.

Special teams player who will provide some depth behind Cameron Judge and Micah Teitz. Can’t go wrong with this type of selection. B+

4 (36) Hamilton Tiger-Cats — DB Stavros Katsantonis, UBC

3DownNation’s #20 prospect.

2015 Bruce Coulter Award winner who had his draft year deferred from 2019 when he failed a drug test following CFL combine. Lacks optimal size but plays with elite instincts. Made 18 interceptions in 43 games with the Thunderbirds, earning the nickname “The Bakersfield Bandit.”

Fantastic pick. I understand why he fell, but Katsantonis projects as a starting safety in the CFL. Steal. A

Read his full draft profile here.

4 (37) Winnipeg Blue Bombers — REC Brendan O’Leary-Orange, Nevada

3DownNaton’s #22 prospect.

Son of retired all-star CFL running back Doyle Orange. Caught just five passes this past season, though he recorded 618 yards and 4 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2018. His NCAA pedigree and frame — six-foot-four and 210 pounds — makes him an intriguing prospect, though his stock fell due to injury concerns.

Great value here for a player who could be the best receiver in the draft. If he stays healthy, this is an absolutely steal. A

Read his full draft profile here.

5 (38) Ottawa Redblacks — DB Treshaun Abrahams-Webster, Calgary

Smooth cover man who was sometimes overshadowed in a deep Dinos secondary by Sterling Taylor IV and 2021 CFL draft first-round hopeful Deane Leonard.

I like the special teams value of Abrahams-Webster, though he is a bit on the small side. More depth at safety was also an area of need for the Redblacks. B

5 (39) Winnipeg Blue Bombers (via Toronto) — K/P Marc Liegghio, Western

Holds the U Sports record for most field goals of all-time. Has drawn comparisons to Lirim Hajrullahu, given they attended the same school and perform all three kicking duties. Attended the College Gridiron Showcase in January. Considered by many to be the best Canadian kicking prospect of the past five years.

Great pick here with Winnipeg taking a player who never should have fallen to the fifth round. Justin Medlock isn’t going to kick forever and Liegghio is the perfect heir apparent. A

Read his full draft profile here.

5 (40) B.C. Lions — OL Matt Guevremont, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Top-heavy blocker who played left tackle with the Crimson Hawks and right tackle with the Malone Pioneers, but projects as a CFL guard. Doesn’t move brilliantly, but plays a smash-mouth style sought after by some teams.

The Lions finally address the offensive line position, taking a guy who’s played just about every position up front. I’m not sure he’s the best option available, but still a solid add. B-

5 (41) Edmonton Eskimos — K/P Dante Brown, Fort Hays State

Mississauga native who went 47 of 56 on field goals (83.9 percent) in 35 games with the Tigers. Booted a 56-yard field goal as a senior. Also a capable punter, averaging 42.4 yards gross per punt during his collegiate career.

This pick makes perfect sense considering how much the Eskimos are pay Sean Whyte. Brown’s a solid placekicker who could push for work as early as 2020. A-

Read his draft profile here.

5 (42) Toronto Argonauts (via Montreal) — RB Dion Pellerin, Waterloo

Rushed for 977 yards in 2019 behind a young Warriors offensive line. Has deceptive speed for a 225-pounder, along with the ability to make quick cuts in traffic. Was recruited by Regina and Queen’s as a linebacker coming out of high school. Doesn’t project as an every-down ball carrier, but should become a solid CFL fullback and special teamer.

One of my sleeper picks. Pellerin will contribute in a lot of different ways for the Argos. A

Read his full draft profile here.

5 (43) B.C. Lions (via Calgary) — REC Cordell Hastings, Acadia

Slender receiver who recorded 2,047 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns with the Axemen. Played a lot of field-side wideout but was still a popular target of Hunter Guenard. Runs well for his size (six-foot-four, 200 pounds).

This pick is a bit of a surprise, but there’s no questioning Hastings’ height and speed. Could give Shaq Johnson some competition at field-side wide receiver. B

5 (44) Saskatchewan Roughriders — DB Vincent Dethier, McGill

Posted 123 tackles, four sacks, and two interceptions in 31 career games and posted a jaw-dropping 28 reps on the bench press on his virtual pro day. Lacks elite cover skills but should contribute on special teams.

The Riders needed to add depth behind Mike Edem at safety and Dethier can provide that while also contributing on special teams. B+

5 (45) Hamilton Tiger-Cats — OL Joseph Bencze, McMaster

Local blocker who will be a project for a team that likes to bring its offensive linemen along slowly. Converted defensive tackle who will need patience to develop. B-

5 (46) Winnipeg Blue Bombers — DE Nicholas Dheilly, Saskatchewan

A former member of the Regina Rams and Okanagan Sun who was named a 2019 first-team Canada West all-star. Has a good burst off the line and consistently gets the edge – sometimes to a fault. Uses his wingspan effectively.

Pursues well in the run game and can get skinny in the hole. Will need to contribute on special teams. A bit lanky at six-foot-five and 230 pounds; could stand to add weight.

Winnipeg lost Jonathon Kongbo to the NFL this winter; though Dheilly’s not at the same level, he should help the team as a rotational defensive lineman. B

6 (47) Ottawa Redblacks — LB Brad Cowan, Wilfrid Laurier

Big-bodied tackler who tested relatively well at the Ontario regional combine, posting a 7.00-second three-cone drill at 229 pounds. The Redblacks continue to add help on special teams, which is wise. Cowan brings size and pretty decent speed. B

6 (48) Toronto Argonauts — REC Samuel Baker, Saskatchewan

The native of Esterhazy, SK struggled through injuries, but still managed to record 70 receptions for 980 yards and 12 touchdowns with the Huskies. Considered a sleeper by our draft analyst JC Abbott. B+

6 (49) Montreal Alouettes (via B.C.) — OL Andrew Becker, Regina

3DownNation’s #25 prospect.

Has impressive versatility with experience at centre and both guard spots. Arguably the draft’s most athletic offensive lineman, though some scouts would like to see him get thicker in his lower body.

His stock fell due to concussion concerns, without which he may have been a first-round pick. If he stays healthy, this pick will be a steal for Montreal. A

Read his full draft profile here.

6 (50) Edmonton Eskimos — OL Chris Gangarossa, Wagner

3DownNation’s #13 prospect.

The six-foot-five, 305-pound blocker is versatile, having played guard, right tackle, and left tackle with the Seahawks. He needs to continue building his lower body, but Gangarossa is an imposing blocker who is capable of beating defenders with power and technique. The first member of his family to graduate with a four-year college degree. Read his full draft profile here.

Frankly, I’m shocked to see Gangarossa on the board this late. He’s the perfect fit for a team that play Matt O’Donnell and Kyle Saxelid at guard and tackle. A

Read his draft profile here.

6 (51) Montreal Alouettes — LB Jersey Henry, Concordia

Slight-framed defender (six-foot, 205 pounds) who could end up rotating at linebacker or safety. Posted 119 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and three sacks with the Stingers in 23 career games. B-

6 (52) Calgary Stampeders — DT Andrew Seinet-Spaulding, McGill

The reigning J.P. Metras Trophy winner was a one-man wrecking crew in 2019. He moves well for his six-foot, 285-pound frame and uses leverage to overpower opposing blockers. His lack of height hurt his draft stock, but he should still be an effective player in the CFL.

Nice depth pick for a team that could use another rotational player behind Derek Wiggan and 2019 second-round pick Vincent Desjardins. B+

6 (53) Saskatchewan Roughriders — RB/FB Jonathan Femi-Cole, Western

Transferred to the Mustangs after playing sparingly during two seasons with Minnesota. Served as a backup to Trey Humes in 2019. Shows impressive balance of speed and power with one-cut ability. A solid frame (six-foot, 215 pounds) will allow him to contribute on special teams.

Nice pick for a team that uses Kienan LaFrance in a rotational and special teams role. Femi-Cole can get you out of a game as a ball carrier and do a lot of the things you’d expect from a fullback. B+

6 (54) Hamilton Tiger-Cats — DB Jean Ventose, UBC

Six-foot, 208-pound cover man who put up some solid testing numbers at his virtual pro day, including 18 reps on the bench press. B

6 (55) Winnipeg Blue Bombers — LB Kyle Rodger, Ottawa

Lean tackler who put up 113 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and four sacks with the Gee-Gees. Should contribute on special teams. B

7 (56) Ottawa Redblacks — DE Rashaan Davis, Ottawa

Quick off the edge and pursues well in the run game. Lacks pass rushing moves and doesn’t win one-on-ones consistently. Occasionally played three-technique with the Gee-Gees on second and long. Projects as a CFL special teams player. B+

7 (57) Edmonton Eskimos (via Toronto) — OL Nick Summach, Saskatchewan

Moves moderately for his frame (six-foot-eight, 330 pounds) but would benefit from shedding weight. Has good balance but plays a little too upright. Not punishing enough in the run game. Hand placement is solid. Could probably play inside, but would optimally stay at tackle. B+

7 (58) B.C. Lions — RB Kayden Johnson, York

The track and field star is a two-time U Sports gold medalist in the 60-metre hurdles, which is remarkable considering he’s six-foot-three and 245 pounds. Barely played in 2019 due to concussion issues, which hurt his draft stock. Was named York’s Male Athlete of the Year in 2018.

Boom or bust pick given his injury issues. This is appropriate spot to take a flier on a player with Johnson’s natural gifts. A

7 (59) Edmonton Eskimos — DE Rossini Sangjong-Djabome, York

Made an impact as a first-year with 30 tackles and five sacks and remained a key part of the Lions’ defence over the next three seasons. Tested well at the Ontario regional combine with a 4.88 forty-yard dash and 21 reps on the bench press. A-

7 (60) Montreal Alouettes — REC Vincent Alessandrini, Concordia

Another French-Canadian for the Alouettes, this time a six-foot-two pass-catcher who will provide some depth at slotback. B-

7 (61) Calgary Stampeders — P Kieran Burnham, St. FX

A better punter than placekicker, the U Sports second-team All-Canadian averaged 42.8 yards on 52 punts in 2019. Calgary takes a flier on a potential replacement for Rob Maver. B

7 (62) Saskatchewan Roughriders — OL Jesse Lawson, Carleton

Rotated at left and right tackle for the Ravens, though he’ll likely be moved to guard at the CFL level. Relied heavily on cut blocks in the OUA. Was overpowered at times and sometimes seemed unsure of his footwork. Moves well for his six-foot-six, 305-pound frame, which makes him a prospect worth developing. B+

7 (63) Hamilton Tiger-Cats — K J.J. Molson, UCLA

The second Canadian ever chosen for the U.S. Army All-America Bowl. Made 43 of 60 field goal attempts (71.7 percent) with the Bruins along with a 62.9-yard kickoff average. Has a strong leg, but he’s erratic. An eight-generation descendant of John Molson, the founder of Molson Brewery. B

7 (64) Winnipeg Blue Bombers — DB Tanner Cadwallader, Wilfrid Laurier

Spent last season with the CJFL’s London Beefeaters. Ran a decent 4.72 forty-yard dash at the Ontario regional combine at five-foot-ten and 203 pounds. B+

8 (65) Ottawa Redblacks — OL Kétel Assé, Laval

3DownNation’s #21 prospect.

The two-time first-team All-Canadian is a finesse blocker who projects as a CFL tackle. Attended the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in January and held a pro day in March during which he performed in front of scouts from the Chicago Bears.

Needs to continue improving his flexibility; plays too upright, which will make it tough for him to find leverage at the professional level.

Assé was likely to fall to the third or fourth round on draft day, but the eighth round seems crazy. There are concerns about whether or not the 25-year-old can play guard, but how do you argue with his size, athleticism, and All-Canadian pedigree? A+

8 (66) Montreal Alouettes (via Toronto) — DE Brock Gowanlock, Manitoba

Started his career with the Bisons as a 320-pound defensive tackle before losing 90 pounds. Started over Chris Larsen and Samson Abbott in 2019, both of whom were selected in last year’s CFL draft. Shows good use of push-pull and has enough quickness to find the edge. Generally well-disciplined in run contain. B+

8 (67) B.C. Lions — LB Damien Jamieson, York

Posted 131 totals tackles with the Lions in 30 games, also forcing four fumbles. Ran a solid 4.66 forty-yard dash at 216 pounds at the Ontario regional combine. B+

8 (68) Edmonton Eskimos — FB Mitch Raper, Carleton

Thick-bodied blocker who registered six catches and twelve receptions as a member of the Ravens. Could be used on short yardage as a tight end. B

8 (69) Montreal Alouettes — RB Colton Klassen, Saskatchewan

Arguably the most versatile weapon in the draft given his background as a running back, receiver, and returner. Good route runner who is elusive after the catch. Relatively fast, but not a burner. Quick with good hands. Lack of size — five-foot-eight, 200 pounds — hurt his draft stock. A

8 (70) Calgary Stampeders — DB Michael Asibuo, Concordia

Five-foot-eleven, 190-pound cover man who will help out on special teams. B

8 (71) Saskatchewan Roughriders — DT Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma

3DownNation’s #2 ranked prospect.

One of the greatest Canadian football prospects of all-time. Started part-time with the Sooners as a freshman and sophomore, then full-time as a junior and senior. Constantly double-teamed, yet still produced.

Moves exceptionally well for his size, running a 4.79 forty-yard dash at the NFL combine at 302 pounds. Was selected in the third round of the 2020 NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys, which means it’s unlikely he will ever sign a CFL contract.

There’s virtually no chance that Gallimore ever plays in the CFL, but taking an eighth-round flier is a small price to secure his rights. B

8 (72) Hamilton Tiger-Cats — LS Tom Schnitzler, UBC

Defensive lineman who could contribute as a long-snapper in the CFL. B+

8 (73) Winnipeg Blue Bombers — DB Bleska Kambamba, Western

2019 first-team All-Canadian who locked down the boundary cornerback spot with the Mustangs. Projects as a CFL special teams player who could contribute at field-side cornerback. Likely fell due to his size, but a steal considering his cover skills. A-

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Conor McGregor says he’s ‘decided to retire from fighting’ – Sportsnet.ca

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Conor McGregor has announced his retirement for the third time in four years.

McGregor abruptly made his latest dubious declaration Sunday morning on his Twitter account, where the former two-division UFC champion also announced his retirement in 2016 and 2019.

“Hey guys I’ve decided to retire from fighting,” McGregor wrote in a caption below a photo of him and his mother. “Thank you all for the amazing memories! What a ride it’s been!”

The 31-year-old Irish superstar revitalized his combat sports career in January with an impressive first-round stoppage of Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 246. McGregor (22-4) hadn’t won a fight in a mixed martial arts cage or a boxing ring since 2016, but he remained the UFC’s brightest star and biggest financial draw.

UFC President Dana White has already said McGregor is next in line for a title shot at the winner of lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s bout with Justin Gaethje this summer.

The UFC’s schedule is in upheaval due to the coronavirus pandemic, but McGregor was expected to get his title shot later this year, and he recently had been talking to White about taking another fight even earlier. Earlier this week, McGregor posted photos and videos of himself training for fights.

White was still willing to take McGregor’s retirement announcement at face value — at least publicly — when he learned about it at his news conference following UFC 250 in Las Vegas.

“If Conor McGregor feels he wants to retire, you know my feelings about retirement,” White said. “You should absolutely do it. And I love Conor. … There’s a handful of people that have made this really fun for me, and he’s one of them.”

Retirements are a time-honoured device for gathering attention and increased bargaining power in combat sports. From Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather to Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell, countless champions of boxing and MMA have gone back on their solemn announcements whenever need or ego brought them back to the sport.

McGregor made his first Twitter retirement announcement in April 2016 during a spat with the UFC over promotion of his rematch with Nate Diaz.

McGregor famously wrote: “I have decided to retire young. Thanks for the cheese. Catch ya’s later.”

McGregor and Diaz fought in August 2016.

Three years later, McGregor retired again in March 2019 in what White believed was a gambit to entice the UFC to offer him an ownership stake in the company. McGregor began talking about new fights shortly afterward, and he eventually returned to face Cerrone in early 2020.

The loquacious McGregor has long proven that his pronouncements can’t be taken as gospel truth. Earlier this year, McGregor “accepted” future fights against former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and long-retired boxing superstar Oscar De La Hoya with little reason to think they will ever happen.

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Amanda Nunes completely dominates Felicia Spencer in lopsided decision to defend title at UFC 250 – MMA Fighting

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Amanda Nunes was already considered the greatest women’s fighter of all time before competing at UFC 250. Nothing dispelled that mystique on Saturday night as the reigning two-division champion absolutely dominated Felicia Spencer from the first second of their fight until the last as she defended her featherweight title for the first time.

The scorecards read 50-44, 50-44 and 50-45 with Nunes winning her 11th consecutive fight overall. While it was somewhat shocking that Spencer survived to the end, Nunes paid homage to her opponent for the incredible toughness she displayed.

“I’m not surprised,” Nunes said afterwards. “I know she’s very tough. I know what she’s capable of. I know she’s tough. I have to be sharp.”

In the first few exchanges it appeared Nunes was going to add another knockout to her resume after she clubbed Spencer with a couple of powerful right hands that would likely finish many opponents. Somehow, Spencer stayed upright as she tried to apply her grappling game by slowing Nunes down in the clinch.

That backfired after Nunes surprised her with a whizzer and then began dropping elbows from the top position for the remainder of the first round.

While she didn’t fade away, Spencer was just outmatched on the feet as she continued to eat punches with Nunes blasting her with thudding right hands again and again. With a smirk on her face almost the entire fight, Nunes continued walking Spencer down and then unleashing her powerful strikes.

By the time the third round was winding down, Nunes was in absolute control, tagging Spencer with a barrage of punches and then making her pay with kicks as well. Spencer was starting to fade without any hope of getting Nunes to the ground as the damage she was absorbing really started to add up.

With Nunes battering Spencer’s lead leg, the two-division champion really started to stalk her prey as she hunted for the finish. As time ticked away in the fourth round, Nunes went for the kill as she put together a series of punches that had Spencer nearly out on the feet.

Nunes almost wrapped up a rear-naked choke with seconds remaining but Spencer survived to the end of the round as she went back to her corner with hematomas swelling and blood streaked across her face.

In only got worse during the final five minutes with another cut opening up and Nunes just punishing Spencer in every exchange on the feet or on the ground. By the end of the fight, Nunes was just rag dolling Spencer around the cage as she cemented the victory.

Now with title defenses at bantamweight and featherweight, Nunes has all but obliterated every legitimate contender in both divisions. The question remains who will challenge Nunes next but for now she’s going to concentrate on more important matters — like the birth of her first child.

“That was my goal, defend my two belts,” Nunes said. “I’m so happy right now. I don’t know what is next. I had a fifth corner today. I have my daughter with me.”

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Spurs’ Gregg Popovich: U.S. ‘is in trouble and the basic reason is race’ – Sportsnet.ca

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Amid the marches and the protests, amid the pain, amid the generational trauma this moment in history has forced communities across the world to openly reckon with, a spotlight has shone bright on the need to listen and learn.

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich sees that spotlight. He sees that need for learning. And he knows that what must be learnt is not just what is happening in the streets across the United States now, but the history that preceded it. To see one without the other would be to miss the essential full picture.

“Black people have been shouldering this burden for 400 years,” Popovich said Saturday during a #SpursVoices video, a Twitter-based initiative by the team to give a voice and platform to people within their organization to share how racism has impacted them. “The only reason this nation has made the progress that it has is because of the persistence, and patience, and effort of Black people.

“The history of our nation from the very beginning, in many ways, was a lie. And we continue to this day — mostly Black and Brown people — to try to make that lie be truth so that it is no longer a lie.”

In the three-minute video, Popovich does not expand on the specific history he is labeling a lie, though possibilities are not hard to find.

The preamble to the Declaration of Independence, for example, written in 1776, reads “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The Pledge of Allegiance, in its original form, read: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” In 1923, the words “the Flag of the United States of America” were added to the beginning of the pledge.

Longstanding notions of all men being created equal with certain unalienable rights, and the U.S. being one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all are challenging to reconcile with history.

The United States had 250 years of slavery, 90 years of Jim Crow — laws which mandated racial segregation in all public facilities, starting in the 1870s and 1880s, and sought to disenfranchise and remove political and economic gains made by Blacks during the Reconstruction period — and 60 years of “separate but equal,” a legal doctrine that asserted racial segregation did not necessarily violate the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guaranteed “equal protection” under the law to all people. None of which even begins to address discriminatory housing policies or explicitly touches on the history of Black people suffering from police brutality.

“It’s almost, in a strange counter-intuitive sort of way, the best teaching moment of this most recent tragedy,” Popovich said. “I think [it was] the look on the officer’s face. For white people to see how nonchalant, how casual, how just everyday-going-about-his-job [he looked]. So much so that he could just put his left hand in his pocket, wriggle his knee around a little bit to teach this person some sort of a lesson, and it was his right and his duty to do it in his mind.”

The abhorent incident Popovich is referencing is, of course, the death of George Floyd.

Richard Deitsch and Donnovan Bennett host a podcast about how COVID-19 is impacting sports around the world. They talk to experts, athletes and personalities, offering a window into the lives of people we normally root for in entirely different ways.

Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, died on May 25 in police custody in Minneapolis. The incident, which was captured on video, showed Floyd pinned to the ground with his hands cuffed and Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin – who was identified as the primary officer in the video – with his knee pressed against Floyd’s neck for at least eight minutes.

In the video, Floyd can be heard saying that he couldn’t breathe, and later paramedics are seen lifting an apparently non-responsive Floyd onto a stretcher and into an ambulance.

An independent autopsy has since found that Floyd’s death was caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain. After the graphic video circulated widely on social media, the four officers involved in the incident were fired and Chauvin was initially charged with third-degree murder. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison upgraded Chauvin’s charge to second-degree murder on Wednesday, and charged the three other officers on the scene with aiding and abetting.

“I don’t know,” Popovich said, visibly hurt by the recollection of the video. “I think I’m just embarrassed as a white person to know that that can happen, to actually watch a lynching. We’ve all seen books. And you look in the books and you see Black people hanging on trees. And you are amazed that we just saw it again. I never thought I’d see that with my own eyes in real time.”

The dismay and outrage Popovich felt has been shared by many, as protests continue across the U.S., sparked by the death of Floyd, denouncing systemic racism and acts of police brutality. The protests have not been for Floyd exclusively, though. Popovich is aware of that, too.

“What’s it gonna take,” he wonders in the video. “Two more Black people with knees in their necks?”

Though she did not die due to a knee in her neck, protests have also featured calls for justice for Breonna Taylor, an African-American woman who died on March 13 after Louisville police officers — executing a search warrant — used a battering ram to enter her apartment and, after a brief confrontation, fired several shots, striking her at least eight times. At this time, no charges have been filed against the officers.

“It’s like the gun [control] arguments,” Popovich said when grappling with how American can build a better, safer future. “How many more Sandy Hooks do we need to have? It’s easy for people to let things go because it doesn’t involve them. It’s like the neighbourhood where you know there’s a dangerous corner, and you know that something is going to happen some day and nobody does anything. Then a young kid gets killed and a stop sign goes up.

“Well, without getting too political, we’ve got a lot of stop signs that need to go up. Quickly. Because our country is in trouble and the basic reason is race.”

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