With the offensive backfield out of the way, its time to look at linebackers as I rank my top positional prospects in the upcoming CFL Draft.
2018 CFL Draft Prospect Rankings
Top 15 LBs
1. Jean-Gabriel Poulin, Western Mustangs
Hometown: St. Nicolas, PQ
Ht: 6’0.8” Wt: 217 lbs
A mad-dog at the linebacker position who drives through contact and covers the whole field. He plays the game with a self-assured swagger and a nasty edge that will serve him well in the professional ranks. Expect him to make an instant special teams’ impact in year one and eventually develop into a starting calibre Will linebacker in the mould of Adam Konar.
2. Nelkas Kwemo, Queen’s Gaels
Hometown: Montreal, PQ
Ht: 6’2.8” Wt: 231 lbs
A poor tester across the board but an absolute gamer on the field. Plays at another speed when the lights are on. A bruising tackler who never stops moving his feet and show the ability to rush the passer with efficiency. An absolute unit, he could be a real steal if he falls in the draft due to athletic questions.
3. Micah Teitz, Calgary Dinos
Hometown: Calgary, AB
Ht: 6’1.6” Wt: 229 lbs
Big, fast and strong, its impossible to watch the Dinos’ play without noticing Teitz around the ball. The heartbeat of a successful defence, Teitz tested as one of the quickest and most explosive linebackers in the draft. He’ll be an special teams’ ace on day one and may eventually work his way into a larger role.
4. Boston Rowe, Calgary Dinos
Hometown: Calgary, AB
Ht: 5’11” Wt: 230 lbs
The yin to Teitz’s yang, Rowe was a high school quarterback who developed into a star on the defensive side in Calgary. He tested much slower than his teammate at the Combine but took on more coverage responsibilities in Calgary and proved to be capable of covering some of the most dynamic athletes in the Canada West. Will be an excellent depth player at the next level.
5. Mickael Cote, Concordia Stingers
Hometown: St. Hilaire, PQ
Ht: 6’3” Wt: 225 lbs
With a pro ready body type, strong testing numbers and solid college production, its easy to see why scouts have become enamoured with Mickael Cote. Has the potential to be a long term special teams contributor like many RSEQ linebackers before him.
6. Paul Kozachuk, Toronto Varsity Blues
Hometown: London, ON
Ht: 5’11.5” Wt: 212 lbs
Perhaps the most athletic of the linebackers in this class, Kozachuk is a true SAM linebacker or perhaps a safety at the next level. He is a developmental prospect with all the tools who at worst is a dynamic special teamer and could become a contributor on defence.
7. Khadim Mbaye, Ottawa GeeGees
Hometown: Laval, PQ
Ht: 6’1.4” Wt: 231 lbs
Displaying a dangerous combination of strength and speed, Mbaye is often overshadowed by Jackson Bennett in Ottawa. He displayed his versatility through the Combine process and has that perfect skillset that CFL teams look for in their Canadian depth.
8. Eric Mezzalira, McMaster Marauders
Hometown: Grimsby, ON
Ht: 6’0” Wt: 219 lbs
Another future special teamer with a coveted combination of strength and quickness, Mezzalira showed an ability to make plays with the Marauders. His strong Combine performances have opened some eyes and should result in a bump up draft boards.
9. David Fortier, Sherbrooke Vert et Or
Hometown: Sainte-Clotilde-de-Horton, PQ
Ht: 5’11.5” Wt: 213 lbs
Another player who likely plays safety at the next level, Fortier has the speed and quickness to cover in space. This skillset will be equally useful as a special teams cover man and, like seemingly every player to come out of Sherbrooke in recent years, his numbers on the bench press are far above his weight class, showing strength needed to get off blocks.
10. Charles Brousseau, Sherbrooke Vert et Or
Hometown: Issoudun, PQ
Ht: 5’11.1” Wt: 220 lbs
Yet another tank out of Sherbrooke, Brousseau doesn’t possess the long speed of some of his counterparts but is strong like a bull and gifted with impressive explosiveness and quickness. He’ll be able to contribute on multiple special teams’ units not only as cover man but as a blocker as well.
11. Mathieu Loiselle, Wagner Seahawks
Hometown: Quebec City, PQ
Ht: 5’11” Wt: 210 lbs
A five-year man out of Wagner College, Loiselle has always been a contributor but rarely a true impact player. His veteran knowledge and NCAA pedigree will appeal to teams but foregoing the Combine in favour of the Wagner pro day may hurt him, especially given his inability to establish himself as a full time starter in the FCS.
12. Luke Korol, Guelph Gryphons
Hometown: Lynden, ON
Ht: 5’10.9” Wt: 203.8 lbs
Statistically one of the most active defenders in USports, Korol will need to put on some weight to play at the next level. If he does so, he is a sure tackler and has the athletic skills to be a depth Canadian in the pro ranks.
13. Danny Nesbitt, Regina Rams
Hometown: Regina, SK
Ht: 6’0.8” Wt: 216 lbs
Nesbitt is a later round draft pick who could make a big impact on a team. He is a sure tackler, with good lateral movement skills and a nose for the football. He’ll be a contributor on special teams either as a capable cover man or as a long snapper where he really shines. Either way, his versatility will appeal to CFL teams.
14. Kain Anzovino, Kent State Golden Flashes
Hometown: Fort Erie, ON
Ht: 5’11.8” Wt: 226 lbs
Perhaps the best long snapper in this years draft, Anzovino was on the money throughout his years at Kent State. Teams may be concerned about his lack of athletic ability once the ball is snapped and most importantly about the steroid use that caused his draft status to be deferred a year.
15. Sean Harrington, Michigan State Spartans
Hometown: Commerce Township, MI (US)
Ht: 6’3.6” Wt: 228 lbs
A walk-on special teams player at a major Division 1 program, Harrington has proven the ability to be a special-teams cover man at a high level. However, he tested below average, has never contributed on defence and did not exactly rack up tackles even as a special teamer. He’ll earn a roster opportunity on pedigree, but I question whether his game will translate.