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Is Damian Francis the Future of the CFL?

With the modernization of the game of football we have seen a seismic shift in how certain defensive backs are evaluated. In today’s game teams are looking for a bigger body, someone who can drop down and play almost like an extra linebacker. Francis has the skillset to play this role and so much more on a defense. Whether it’s out wide matched up on the #1 receiver, in the nickel matched up on the slot receiver, back deep as a single high safety, or in the box as a safety/linebacker, there is no role that he can not play within the secondary, and if a team so chose, they could even have him add a bit of weight and play LB fulltime utilizing his speed and coverage abilities. Regardless of where he lines up Damian Francis is a Defensive Coordinator’s dream, and a nightmare for opposing offenses.

Today we are talking about CFL Draft prospect DB/LB Damian Francis, a true weapon in the secondary that can physically match up with larger receivers and tight ends, while still also moving all over the defense to suit the needs of the scheme. Players like him are at a premium in the CFL at this point and I for one don’t believe this trend will stop anytime soon. So that begs the question…Is Damian Francis the future of the CFL?

Damian is a guy who prides himself on versatility. He has played outside linebacker, strong safety, free safety, cornerback, nickelback, and even been used as a pass rusher going up against tackles on every play. He mentions his aggressiveness and lack of fear as strengths to his game when asked to play several positions.

Starting his career as a 13 year old just as he entered high school, Francis has been playing football for just 8 ½ seasons if you count high school, and college. This is important because he has shown that he has the football IQ, versatility, tenacity and drive to succeed in football at whatever position he is asked to play.

When asked Damian suggests coaches use him primarily as a safety, allowing him to showcase his versatility by playing in the box at times, rushing the passer, manning up on receivers when asked, and playing single high coverage as well. He points to his ability to fill many roles, and be used in many facets of the game as to his motivation for saying safety.

However the true strength of his game is the fact that he is physically gifted enough to begin his career on the outside as a cornerback before moving back to safety long term if coaches so choose. I see him in a similar mold to Charles Woodson. A guy who began his career at cornerback but eventually saw a move to safety to close out his career. The only difference being, I don’t see him needing to have a mid-career resurgence to keep himself in the league. I see him as displaying a unique set of talents that the coaches have no choice but to move him to safety to utilize his entire skill set.

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