Spring has sprung, the flowers are in bloom and a bunch of Canadian football players have just finished sprinting in spandex, which can mean only one thing: it’s draft season. Now that the combine has finished, I’ll be publishing my positional prospect rankings in the lead up to my full eight round mock draft.
These rankings are my own personal assessment of the prospects. I’m not a professional scout and I by no means have the time to meticulously comb through every game these players have ever played as they do. I have, however, put in the time watching these players, not only highlights but also full games against key opponents and featuring top performances. I’m by no means infallible but if the history of the CFL Draft teaches us anything, its that scouts and GMs aren’t either. With that said, I add my voice to the mix and hope you enjoy my assessments. Today we begin with Running Backs.
2018 CFL Draft Prospect Rankings: Top 10 RBs
1. David Mackie, Western Mustangs
Hometown: Jackson Point, ON
Ht: 6’2.1” Wt: 239 lbs
An all-around stud of a fullback that can instantly make an impact as a blocker on offence and core special-teamer. Is an elite level long-snapper and should garner some legitimate NFL opportunities. Will never be headline grabbing player but could be a core player on a roster for a decade.
2. Ryder Stone, Dartmouth Big Green
Hometown: Calgary, AB
Ht: 5’9.9” Wt: 204 lbs
Under the radar coming into the combine, Stone has an NCAA pedigree and has the capability to develop into a heavy CFL contributor. Deceptively fast, showing burst out of the backfield and possessing strong hands. His Ivy League degree speaks to his intelligence, which should allow him to pick up on the more complex pass protection assignments of the pro game quicker than most.
3. Alex Taylor, Western Mustangs
Hometown: Winnipeg, MB
Ht: 5’9” Wt: 202 lbs
The best running back in USports, Taylor cuts better than any other running back in the draft. He runs downhill and seemingly teleports out of the way of defenders, somehow magically stopping on dime and redirecting without losing momentum. Ran slow at the combine but showed the ability to make people miss in one-on-ones and will play better than he tests.
4. Tanner Green, Concordia Stingers
Hometown: Lacombe, AB
Ht: 6’2” Wt: 241 lbs
An impact blocker who is strong like a bull and explodes through blocks. A classic H-back with strong hands but whose real impact will be as a special team’s ace. The type of Canadian that deep, successful rosters are built on.
5. Atlee Simon, Regina Rams
Hometown: Regina, SK
Ht: 5’10.8” Wt: 199 lbs
The classic versatile CFL back who can punish you equally on the ground and through the air, Simon may end up in the slot when its all said and done. I’m not as enamoured with Simon as some pundits but he is a strong athlete who will provide solid depth to any CFL roster.
6. Bryce Vieira, Ottawa GeeGees
Hometown: Vadureuil-Dorion, PQ
Ht: 5’8.8” Wt: 195 lbs
Unheralded by most, Vieira tested as the fastest running back out of all the combines and absolutely pops on tape. A jitterbug runner, a burner when he slides to the slot and a potential contributor in the return game. Most scouts prefer the larger Atlee Simon for this role, but to me Vieira is Anthony Coombs lite and could be a top end contributor.
7. Christopher Amoah, Laval Rouge et Or
Hometown: Montreal, PQ
Ht: 5’9.4” Wt: 203 lbs
A bit of a one-dimensional player who relies on his impressive straight-line speed and burst, he showed better in Combine receiving one-on-ones than I expected. I have concern about his blocking abilities but he is undeniably athletically gifted.
8. Haini Moimoi, Weber State Wildcats
Hometown: Maplewood, MN (US)
Ht: 5’11.8” Wt: 216 lbs
Underused in college, Moimoi made the most of limited opportunities. He is an angry runner with strong hands and good balance who could be a sneaky addition to a roster. He is large enough he could convert to fullback but nimble enough to stay a primary runner.
9. Mitch Kernick, Waterloo Warriors
Hometown: Elmira, ON
Ht: 5’11.8” Wt: 227 lbs
Perhaps possessing the best pure hands of this running back group, Kernick is in fact a slotback converted to H-back. When lined up as a tight end, he’ll be able to add smooth route running and possesses a body type that is well suited for the variety of special teams he’ll be asked to contribute on.
10. Joel Houle, McGill Redmen
Hometown: Chateauguay, PQ
Ht: 6’2.8” Wt: 229 lbs
Debated this spot but Houle earns it on pure uniqueness. Recruited as a quarterback and a natural fit in the CFL as an H-back, Houle is a strong enough blocker that he was employed as McGill’s left tackle… at 230 pounds. Highly intelligent and heavily involved in the community, Houle is the type of depth special teamer that teams dream of.