Canada’s Next Generation: A Quick Look Before The 2020 CFL Draft


The NFL Draft is now in the rear-view mirror, but the grind never stops here at Hussey’s Huddle! It is time we move onto the 2020 CFL Draft, where the next crop of Canadian football prospects will be plucked from the NCAA and USport ranks. With the draft taking place Thursday night, there’s no time to lose!

Today we take a look at this year’s top prospects, attempting to get to know a little more about them than we did before, by breaking the players down in five simple details. With the NFL Draft concluding over the weekend and some of the most talented Canadian players signing with NFL clubs as undrafted free agents, now is the clearest chance we have to assess the draft stock of this year’s prospects. Typically, players that are draft-eligible that sign NFL contracts see their CFL Draft stock drop, at least to some degree. Below we have noted whether or not the given prospect is receiving looks South of the border.

For this article, we have taken prospects listed in the latest CFL Scouting Bureau rankings and placed them in no particular order. The list will exclude Canadian NFL Draft picks Neville Gallimore and Chase Claypool, who were taken high in the draft and likely will have multi-year careers down South. The randomness of the player order is done with the intention of getting to know each player more, rather than ranking them on a draft board, which CFL teams will have the difficult task of doing on Thursday.

If you are curious about how the full Top 20 turned out, I recommend you check out the CFL’s Scouting Bureau on CFL.ca.

DB Marc-Antoine Dequoy — Montreal

Montreal Carabins’ DB Marc-Antoine Dequoy (#24), playing against the Laval Rouge Et Or
Photo Credit: USports.ca
  • One of the best defensive back prospects to emerge from Canadian USports in the last several years
  • Dequoy has size but is also a burner, as illustrated by his blazing sub-4.4 40 yard-dash at Montreal’s Pro-Day
  • He played defensive halfback for the Carabins, a position where his athleticism and ball skills really stood out, cultivating in 7 interceptions in just 16 regular season games over the past two years
  • It is anyone’s guess where a team will take Dequoy in the CFL Draft, as he just signed as an undrafted free agent with the NFL’s Green Bay Packers
  • Dequoy’s hometown is Ile-Bizard, Quebec

DL Michael Hoecht — Brown

Brown defensive tackle Michael Hoecht (right), has balanced an Ivy League education and playing the sport he loves
Photo Credit: OttawaSun.com Brown University/Handout
  • A huge riser on the Canadian scouting radar, as Hoecht appeared on the spring edition of the CFL’s Scouting Bureau after not even being mentioned in the two previous instalments
  • The defensive lineman. who attended Brown–an Ivy League institution–was also named a team captain in each of the past two seasons
  • For a defensive tackle, he has good, if unspectacular size, but is crafty with his technique, which helps him shed blocks on the inside
  • Hoecht, like Dequoy, was also picked up by an NFL team–The Los Angeles Rams. This may cause him to fall on Thursday but it is still likely he gets selected in the first two rounds on talent alone
  • Hoecht was born in Oakville, Ontario but grew up in Dayton, Ohio

Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund — Southeastern Louisiana

Southeatern Louisiana defender Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund (#91) breaks up LSU Quarterback Joe Burrow’s pass
Photo Credit: TheAdvocate.com Hillary Scheinuk
  • Fast-riser on the CFL’s Scouting Bureau, placing 17th in December and 12th in March while not being placed on the list prior to the season
  • A stand-up edge-rusher–doesn’t usually put hand in ground before the snap. He will probably be most comfortable as an on-ball outside linebacker in the CFL
  • Had a standout performance in 2019 against eventual National Champion LSU, where he collected 6 total tackles, a sack and a forced fumble
  • If teams are looking for a true speed-rusher, he is probably the prospect with the most potential atop the Draft
  • Adeyemi-Berglund is from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia; a long way from where he played his college ball in Louisiana

OL Carter O’Donnell — Alberta

Alberta’s offensive lineman Carter O’Donnell (#64) is one of the most highly regarded prospects entering the 2020 CFL Draft
Photo Credit: The Toronto Star
  • O’Donnell is seen as the best USports offensive line prospect since Kansas City Chief’s starting guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff attended Laval from 2010-2013
  • O’Donnell was born and raised in Red Deer, Alberta. It made all the sense in the world for him to stay home to play for the University of Alberta
  • The offensive lineman is described by those that have scouted him as a physical lineman that plays with a mean-streak, and can also play either guard or tackle
  • O’Donnell was among the first Canadian players to sign after the conclusion of the NFL Draft this past weekend, inking a deal with the Indianapolis Colts
  • For a while, with Oklahoma’s Neville Gallimore and Notre Dame’s Chase Claypool safely (and rightfully) assumed high NFL Draft picks, it appeared that O’Donnell would be the favourite to be selected #1 overall in the 2020 CFL Draft. With his signing with the Colts he may not come off the board first, but some team will surely take the risk in round one

OL Tomas Jack-Kurdyla — Buffalo

Buffalo offensive lineman Tomas Jack-Kurdyla (#65), lifts teammate into the air after scoring a touchdown
Photo Credit: Buffalo Bulls Athletics
  • Jack-Kurdyla played his college football at the University of Buffalo, where he was part of an offensive line in 2018 that rushed for over 2500 yards and 35 touchdowns, earning a team-nomination for the Joe Moore Award (given to the nation’s top offensive-line)
  • The Buffalo product started primarily at right guard over four seasons for the Bulls
  • Jack-Kurdyla’s best asset is his run-blocking, where he consistently finds the second-level of the defense
  • Currently, there have been little to no reports of NFL interest in Jack-Kurdyla, which could make him an intriguing option at the top of Thursday’s draft
  • The offensive lineman was born in Montreal

REC Dejon Brisset — Virginia

Canadian receiver Dejon Brissett (red), makes a contested catch during one of his games for Richmond
Photo Credit: Richmond Athletics
  • Brissett starred while attending the University of Richmond in the FCS division for two seasons, before transferring to Virginia, where he played sparingly for the past two years
  • Watching highlights, he seems like a guy who performs well in space, which could mean he is an ideal fit for the much wider Canadian football field
  • Brissett has experience as a kick-returner which could turn out to be his calling-card in the CFL, a league where that position is more valued
  • Success drafting wide receivers in the CFL hasn’t been great in recent years, and that could mean Brissett will be still available in the 2nd-round
  • Brissett is a native of Mississauga, Ontario

DE Mason Bennett — North Dakota

Mason Bennett (#55), playing collegiately for the North Dakota Flying Eagles
Photo Credit: North Dakota Flying Eagles Athletics
  • Bennett shined as an offensive lineman in high school before making the switch to defensive end upon coming to North Dakota
  • Bennett is North Dakota’s all-time sack king, amassing 20 career sacks in four seasons
  • Bennett was awarded with FCS All-American honours in 2019
  • Scouts say Bennett possesses a tremendous motor on the field combined with sneaky quickness off the snap
  • The native of Winnipeg, Manitoba will likely be a late 1st-rounder

OL Ketel Asse — Laval

Laval’s Ketel Asse (#67) playing for the Rouge Et Or
Photo Credit: 3DownNation Mathieu Tanguay
  • Asse attended Laval, Canada’s Alabama in terms of producing football players
  • He is a 2-time 1st-Team Canadian in USports as a tackle
  • His best plays showcase that while he may not be quick enough laterally to protect the blindside in the CFL, he definitely has the length, the power, and everything else required to be a great offensive lineman.
  • Perhaps he will be kicked inside to guard in the CFL, a position that I feel the massive prospect would excel at
  • Asse would be my bet to be the first player selected in the 2020 CFL Draft just based on the fact that he hasn’t garnered much NFL interest and that teams will probably be intrigued by his unique size and skill-set
  • Born in Saint-Marc, Haiti but grew up in Canada

REC Brendan O’Leary-Orange — Nevada

Receiver Brandon O’Leary-Orange (#8) practicing with the Nevada Wolfpack
Photo Credit: Nevada Wolfpack Athletics
  • Not a very productive receiver over the past few seasons, but had over 600 yards and 4 touchdowns as a sophomore for Nevada
  • O’Leary-Orange is six-foot four, which is always a consideration when evaluating the potential of wide receivers
  • The Wolfpack receiver probably won’t get 1st-round looks solely based off his lack of production but will be an interesting selection somewhere in the 2nd or 3rd round in a relatively-thin receiver class
  • In high school he was a multi-sport athlete that also played basketball and volleyball, according to his profile with Nevada Athletics
  • O’Leary-Orange is from Toronto, Ontario

DB Adam Auclair — Laval

Laval’s Adam Auclair (#2) plays against Western in the 2017 Vanier Cup
Photo Credit: The Montreal Gazette Mike Hensen/The London Free Press
  • Fun fact: Adam’s brother Antony, has been a tight-end for the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers since 2017
  • Auclair is perhaps the most versatile athlete in this draft class, as he can play both linebacker and defensive halfback. He is sort of like what some would refer to as a “big nickel”, which if you don’t know, is a term for defenses subbing in an oversized cornerback into the formation
  • Much like his brother, Adam is a fantastic athlete, which allows him to have range in coverage despite standing six-foot two and over two hundred pounds
  • What adds to Auclair’s utility is his play as a special teamer with the Rouge Et Or, which should appeal to many teams picking early in the draft
  • The 24 year-old is a native of Quebec City, Quebec

OL Dylan Giffen — Western

Offensive lineman Dylan Giffen (#53), prepares to take the field with his fellow Western teammates
Photo Credit: Western Mustangs Athletics
  • Giffen stands at an astounding six-foot eight, 335 pounds. That’s a rare commodity to mold an offensive lineman no matter how you slice it.
  • In a recent interview for NFLDraftDiamonds.com, Giffen described his effort as his most valuable trait
  • From what I have seen, Giffen seems solid in both run and pass-protection, which is a good sign for his floor as a player
  • Giffen is from Strathroy, Ontario, which is not that far outside of London
  • It is difficult to project where Giffen could go due to the draft class having a ton of uncertainty at the top. However, he is still among the best lineman in the class and since he hasn’t attracted NFL offers, he might appeal to teams since they know they’ll be getting an immediate return on investment

REC Rysen John — Simon Fraser

Simon Frasier’s Rysen John (#19) stares down a pass
Photo Credit: @SFUClan
  • John is a six-foot seven receiver, which is incredible on its own, but he also possesses some run after the catch ability
  • The product played his collegiate career with the Simon Frasier Clan, who has produced eight CFL players that were on rosters at the end of the 2019 season, including BC Lions receiver Lamar Durant
  • In just five games in 2018, John had 524 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns, which probably played a big role in getting the attention of pro scouts.
  • After going undrafted in the NFL this past weekend, John almost immediately signed with the New York Giants, leaving questions about his CFL draft stock
  • the Vancouver, B.C native has usually been mocked in the 2nd to 3rd round

LB Jack Casser — Carleton

Linebacker Jack Cassar (#45) awaiting play for his Carleton Ravens
Photo Credit: Charlatan.ca
  • Cassar is a big linebacker, standing six-foot four and listed at 240 lbs
  • Cassar’s most noticeable trait is the force in which he hits opposing offensive players. If he finds his way through when blitzing, it is outright scary. Seriously, go check out this dude’s highlight reel
  • Cassar appeared on CFL.ca recently with Brodie Lawson to talk about his mindset as a player. The linebacker described that setting the tone physically and striking fear into his opponents as defining how he plays the game
  • He has had a few injuries over his collegiate career at Carleton, including a torn meniscus
  • The former Raven is a Mississauga native

K J.J Molson — UCLA

Kicker J.J Molson (#17), attempting a field goal for the UCLA Bruins
Photo Credit: UCLA Bruins Football
  • A KICKER! Molson also has a fitting name, being from Canada.
  • Molson played four seasons for the UCLA Bruins
  • His best season came in 2017, when he hit 17 of 21 field goals and all but one of his 50 extra point attempts.
  • Range could potentially be a question, as Molson only converted one field goal over 50 yards in his college career
  • Many expected Molson to be picked up by an NFL team after the draft but this hasn’t occurred yet. Maybe his CFL Draft stock is trending up as of now

LB Jordan Williams — ECU

Linebacker Jordan Williams (purple) attempting a tackle
Photo Credit: Eastern Carolina Athletics
  • Played at the University of Eastern Carolina, where he was a three-year starter and had over 250 career tackles
  • Williams lit the CFL Regional Combine on fire with a sub-4.5 40-yard dash along with a 39-inch vertical jump, displaying elite athleticism for a linebacker that is rarely available in the draft
  • Oddly enough, Williams does not to appear to be on the NFL’s radar yet
  • Williams was not a born Canadian but was granted eligibility early this year through family relations
  • The linebacker is a rare commodity for CFL teams, and given the lack of NFL interest, Williams is in contention to be a Top-3 selection

DL Cameron Lawson — Queen’s

Lawson (#92) playing in a game for the Queen’s Gales
Photo Credit: NFLDraftDiamonds Jeff Chan
  • Not the most explosive athlete, but Lawson is very technically sound and possesses power to disrupt the interior of an offense
  • Lawson has pass-rush upside, collecting 3.5 sacks in 8 games last season from his post at defensive tackle
  • The Queen’s product was remarkably durable during his time in Kingston, never missing a game
  • Lawson is a native of Caledon, Ontario
  • Lawson will provide another option for teams that will be looking for an immediate impact due to a lack of NFL interest in his services

REC Tyler Ternowski — Waterloo

Tyler Ternowski (#25), playing in a collegiate game for the Waterloo Warriors
Photo Credit: Waterloo Warriors Football
  • Fun fact! Ternowski and I were briefly high school teammates in Hamilton, Ontario
  • Ternowski brought life to a Waterloo program throughout his four-year career, amassing an impressive 2949 career receiving yards to go along with 26 touchdowns to make him among the most prolific players in recent OUA history
  • His best play with the Warriors came in 2018, when he racked up 1159 yards and 14 touchdowns in 8 games
  • Some CFL scouts aren’t as high on Ternowski due to him being slightly undersized, but one can argue that he is the most accomplished receiver in this draft class
  • I have seen CFL mock drafts that have Ternowski being picked anywhere from the 2nd to 4th round. There are just too many variables to guess. We will have to see Thursday

QB Nathan Rourke — Ohio

Quarterback Nathan Rourke (#12) attempts a pass for the Ohio Bobcats
Photo Credit: CFL.ca Ohio Bobcats Athletics
  • Only 10 quarterbacks have been selected in the last 20 CFL drafts, according to Farhan Lalji of TSN. Rourke is up against the odds
  • Rourke was a true difference-maker for the Ohio Bobcats, where he was a three-year starter and won three bowl games for a program that hasn’t been historically successful
  • He doesn’t have the biggest arm ever, but should have enough to be a CFL starter. His athleticism and scrambling ability is a fit for the Canadian game
  • Rourke looks to become the first full-time Canadian starting quarterback in the CFL in decades. Some prospects, like Brandon Bridge, have had brief opportunities in recent years but none were as accomplished at the college level as Rourke.
  • It is difficult to evaluate the draft stock and value of a Canadian quarterback given how rare a worthy prospect is present. This is one of these opportunities and it will be interesting to see how high teams will value him