Article by Duane Forde-Top Picks in 2007 Draft

Here is a very informative article posted on today by respected CFL football analyst Duane Forde on the top picks and sleeper picks available in the 2007 Canadian Draft:

"Friday, April 27, 2007 - 03:00PM

By Duane Forde,

There’s no such thing as a sure thing, especially in The Class of 2007, but the following players are generally considered most likely to have significant CFL careers. (Please note that throughout this article players are listed in alphabetical order within their groups and an asterisk (*) beside an individual’s school indicates that he has NCAA or NAIA eligibility remaining.)

Jabari Arthur (WR, Akron*, 6’4?, 224)
Positive: He’s big, fast, and adds the element of having also played QB in college.
Negative: He has a year of eligibility remaining and may attract NFL attention.
CFL Comparison: His combination of size and athleticism are reminiscent of B.C.’s Paris Jackson.

Chris Bauman (WR, Regina, 6’4?, 212)
Positive: He is blessed with terrific size and natural ability.
Negative: Despite his size, he’s not particularly physical.
CFL Comparison: His height, soft hands and smooth style will remind many fans of Saskatchewan’s Andy Fantuz.

Josh Bean (LB, Boise State*, 6’2?, 231)
Positive: Bean has been a special teams standout for Boise State.
Negative: He hasn’t started through four years of college (but should in ’07).
CFL Comparison: He should at least be a solid contributor in the mold of Edmonton’s Mike Botterill.

J.P. Bekasiak (DT, Toledo, 6’6?, 299)
Positive: He has tremendous physical tools and ample D-I experience.
Negative: There’s some uncertainty as to whether he’s best suited to play OL or DL.
CFL Comparison: He has Doug Brown’s size but isn’t quite as quick.

Kevin Challenger (WR, Boston College*, 5’8?, 178)
Positive: This quick receiver led the Eagles with 47 catches and 543 yards in ’06.
Negative: His lack of size is the most obvious concern.
CFL Comparison: Like Edmonton’s Pat Woodcock, he can make big plays with his speed.

Tad Crawford (FS, Columbia, 6’1?, 181)
Positive: He’s deceptively fast and provided strong run support in college.
Negative: Crawford likely needs to get a little stronger.
CFL Comparison: As an intelligent player who’s more of a tackler than a hitter, he could become a poor man’s Orlondo Steinauer.

Mike Gyetvai (OT, Michigan State*, 6’7?, 307)
Positive: He has shown mental toughness playing against very good competition.
Negative: He may wind up in an NFL camp after completing his eligibility this fall.
CFL Comparison: He is a huge man with a workmanlike approach similar to Winnipeg’s Alex Gauthier.

Corey Mace (DL, Wyoming, 6’2?, 295)
Positive: He moves very well for a man his size.
Negative: He only has one year as a full-time NCAA starter under his belt.
CFL Comparison: With the ability to play tackle or end, he could be the next Nautyn McKay-Loescher.

Justin Phillips (LB, Wilfrid Laurier, 6’3?, 236)
Positive: Phillips has CFL size and a great motor.
Negative: He didn’t become a starter until his senior year at WLU.
CFL Comparison: Whether he winds up at end or OLB, he will bring energy off the edge like Calgary’s Scott Coe.

Andre Sadeghian (RB, McMaster, 5’11?, 219)
Positive: He’s a multi-talented back with a strong work ethic.
Negative: As a pro, he’ll be asked to block much more than he did in college.
CFL Comparison: Like the Lions’ Lyle Green, Sadeghian combines a willingness to do the dirty work with an ability to produce big plays.

The Second Tier

Although they come with fewer “guarantees? than the Top Ten, the players in the next group are still considered to be pretty solid CFL prospects and are certain to be drafted.

Reggie Bradshaw (RB, Montana*, 6’0?, 215)
Positive: He was the leading rusher on one of the best teams in Division I-AA.
Negative: One reception in 13 games leaves his receiving skills in doubt.

Yannick Carter (DB, Wilfrid Laurier, 5’11?, 195)
Positive: Carter has tremendous instincts and good versatility.
Negative: He’ll have to readjust to the secondary after playing LB in college.

Eric Ince (OL, St. Mary’s, 6’4?, 296)
Positive: He is arguably the most athletic O-Lineman available.
Negative: His physical strength needs to improve as he steps up to the next level.

Andrew Jones (DT, McMaster, 6’3?, 299)
Positive: He has the size and skills to compete as on offensive or defensive lineman.
Negative: Jones has been slowed slightly by nagging injuries over the last two years.

Warren Kean (PK/P, Concordia, 6’1?, 200)
Positive: His leg strength could propel him all the way into the first round.
Negative: His 2006 field goal percentage of 62.5 (20 of 32) is below CFL standards.

Jason Nedd (DB, Akron, 5’9?, 196)
Positive: Nedd is athletic and energetic, with a terrific attitude.
Negative: He didn’t become a starter at Akron until midway through his senior year.

Adam Nicolson (SB, Ottawa, 6’3?, 219)
Positive: He has the four S’s...size, strength, speed and skill.
Negative: Some would like to see him become more consistent catching the ball.

Travis Noel (LB, St. Francis Xavier, 6’0?, 220)
Positive: Noel is probably the hardest hitter in the Class of 2007.
Negative: He is a bit of a tweener, having played safety in college.

Jordan Rempel (OT, Saskatchewan, 6’6?, 322)
Positive: Like most U of S O-Linemen, he has good feet and technique for a big man.
Negative: He didn’t have great E-Camp or East West Shrine game performances.

Brad Smith (SB, Queen’s, 5’11?, 192)
Positive: He understands the game well and is underrated as an athlete.
Negative: In a deep crop of receivers, he may be overshadowed by bigger targets.

The Best Of The Rest

This year’s draft is so wide open that virtually anything could happen, especially once the first round is complete. With that in mind, some of these individuals could realistically hear their names called in the Top Ten, while others might not be selected at all.

Donovan Alexander (CB, North Dakota*, 6’1?, 181): Good coverage skills as a corner and a willingness to make tackles.

Yves Bériault (WR, Montréal, 5’10?, 166): A legitimate burner but his small frame may scare some teams off.

Eugene Boakye (LB, McMaster, 6’3?, 218): Injuries have slowed his development but he has a big upside and Mac has a knack for producing LBs.

Chris Getzlaf (SB, Regina, 6’0?, 208): At 208 pounds, Getzlaf may be better equipped than some of the smaller receivers for the CFL’s physical play.

James Judges (DE, Buffalo*, 6’6?, 247): If he was about 20 pounds heavier, the son of former Alouette Gord Judges might even make the Top Ten.

Michaël Jean-Louis (DT, Laval, 6’0?, 280): He’s undersized but Jean-Louis outplayed 2005 first overall pick Miguel Robedé when the two were teammates.

Kyle Koch (OG, McMaster, 6’1?, 308): Koch didn’t have a stellar E-Camp but he proved throughout his college career that he’s very strong run blocker who takes every opportunity to improve his game.

Chris Van Zeyl (DL, McMaster, 6’6?, 275): He’s very raw but it’s hard to ignore his size and growth potential.

Konrad Wasiela (DB, British Columbia, 5’8?, 178): He’s small but turned some heads at the E-Camp with his athletic ability and focused approach.

Richard Yalowsky (OL, Calgary, 6’5?, 290): Yalowsky bypassed the E-Camp due to the injury bug he’s been fighting for a couple of years. However, his size and the combine struggles of some other hogs may give him an edge.


Some players are obvious prospects who appear on every team’s draft board. On the other hand, these individuals, for a variety of reasons, may have flown under the radar leading up to the Draft.

Joe Barnes (LB, Ottawa, 6’0?, 215): Barnes was left at home while fellow Gee Gees’ linebackers Cheeler Lindor and Mike Sheridan were invited to the E-Camp, but the fact is that all this guy does is make plays.

Jon Behie (SB, McMaster, 6’2?, 195): Behie is an example of a player whose athletic ability shows up more on game film than it does in testing and, furthermore, there is likely no one in the draft with better football sense.

Scott Nason (OL, Western Ontario, 6’4?, 288): Injuries hampered his performance last season but, in a lean year for offensive line prospects, Nason’s size and quick feet should be enough to put him in the Draft Day mix.

Jeff Oke (DE, Columbia, 6’2?, 253): Oke is listed as a defensive end but the fact that he arrived at Columbia as a running back and also has enough explosive power to throw shot put for the Lions track team make him a great prospect at fullback.

Robert Pavlovic (TE, South Carolina*, 6’4?, 242): The demand for traditional lead blockers at fullback is greater than the supply right now making this blocking tight end a candidate for a position change. Beefing up to play OL is also an option.

Karl Phillips (SB, Saskatchewan, 6’2?, 218): Phillips doesn’t have eye-popping numbers because he plays in a very balanced Huskies system but he’s an exciting talent who has all the tools to compete at the next level.

Sean Simms (DT, York, 6’3?, 278): Simms has almost made a career of slipping through the cracks. He initially signed with Eastern Michigan out of high school but ended up at York, where injuries and academic issues limited his participation. Nonetheless, he is a talented young man whose potential is largely untapped.

Take A Chance

At risk of beating a dead horse, this year’s Draft is not considered to be very deep. With that in mind, teams become much more likely to gamble with their picks. In the early rounds, this can mean selecting players with NFL aspirations or remaining NCAA eligibility higher than might otherwise be expected. In the middle and later rounds, the risks are more likely to involve drafting players with injury concerns, limited collegiate game experience or individuals with little or even no experience at the position for which they’ll be asked to try out as professionals. The following players are among those who may benefit from such gambles.

Jag Bal (DL, 6’3?, 305, Western Washington): What’s so interesting about a player who saw limited action in his senior year at a Division II school? The answer is his athletic ability. Bal is a former three-time provincial discus champion and star linebacker in high school, who developed into a conference all-star defensive lineman at Butte Junior College. That, combined with his 305-pound frame, makes him an intriguing offensive line project for any team willing to invest the time.

Samuel Champagne (WR, Laval, 6’4?, 215): Champagne possesses the skill, athleticism, work ethic and football sense of a Top Ten selection. The risk in drafting him is that he has made a commitment to pursuing a career in medicine rather than trying his hand in the CFL. Nonetheless, on the very slim possibility that he’ll someday have a change of heart or find a way to combine the two careers (see J.P. Darche and Carlo Panaro), his potential makes him worth a late round pick.

Andre Durie (RB, York, 5’11?, 185): Three years ago, Durie was viewed as one of the finest natural runners ever produced in this country but, unfortunately, a devastating 2005 knee injury essentially cost him the last two seasons and put his future in serious doubt. However, he’s on the road to recovery and, if he can approach his pre-injury form, could prove to be a steal for any team willing to roll the dice.

Brian Guebert (DE, Saskatchewan, 5’9?, 245): Although CIS followers know him best as a pass-rushing demon, Guebert’s route into the CFL could be as a fullback and long snapper. For some, that change in position might be daunting but Guebert’s coachability and work ethic give him a chance to succeed.

Final Thoughts

As the Big Day rapidly approaches, there are a couple of players out there whose status could impact upon the Draft, depending on how their issues are resolved. Winston Young (RB, Bridgewater College, 5’9?, 207) is a Division III star who is hoping to be granted non-import status before Wednesday. He tested in front of CFL scouts at Laval’s Pro Day a few weeks ago and has an outside shot of being selected if his application is approved. At least one other player, who is the son of a former CFLer, is also currently attempting to gain non-import status, but he won’t gain approval in time for the Draft (if at all). As a result, there could be a supplemental draft held before the season starts. In the meantime, good luck to all eligible players and all eight CFL teams on Draft Day."

Good article by Forde, who's IMO about the sharpest Canadian football media guy out there now; he fails to mention a number of good draft prospects though IMO - like Jeff Robertshaw, Kevin Kelly, Dave McKoy, Anthony Plante-Ajah for example. I think this draft year - labelled not too deep by many - may be quite a bit under-rated.

Another good report by Duane Ford. I had Judges, Koch and Van Zeyl going somewhere in the top 2 rounds. We will see who’s the expert. :lol:
Last year the first four rounds produced a lot of good players, this year I’d say the first 2 maybe 2 1/2 rounds and then it will be get lucky time or a maybe project or two.