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CFL: Toronto Argonauts 2022 Draft Preview

The Toronto Argonauts and the CFL are finally back to business as usual. A month from now, CFL teams will report to training camp on May 15th. Preseason games will return for the first time in three years. The regular season is back to its normally scheduled time in early June. After the league played a truncated schedule in 2021, which commenced late in the summer. CFL teams are back to a 21-week regular season.

2022 CFL/Global Draft

What has also returned to its standard form is the CFL draft process. In March, the CFL had three in-person regional combines, culminating with the league’s Combine, which took place at the University of Toronto from March 25th-27th.

The Argos’ top football brass was out in full force at the Combine. GM Michael Clemons, Assistant GM Vince Magri, the returning Jim Barker, and other key Double Blue figures were scouting several of this year’s top CFL prospects.

For more on what went down during March’s Combine from Toronto’s perspective. Check out a fantastic behind-the-scenes article on the three-day event written by Mike Hogan at Argonauts.ca.

Seeing CFL teams like the Argos back to fully-fledged in-person player evaluating was a welcome sight after the pandemic limited things the last couple of years. It was a return to normalcy and the way things used to be.

However, there is one new wrinkle to the CFL”s draft in 2022.

For the first time ever, the Global Draft will take place on the same day as the CFL Draft, bringing an entire class of rookies together as they head into the 2022 season. 

Global players – those outside Canada and the United States – will be chosen on Tuesday, May 3 at noon ET, with the Canadian draft taking place that evening. Eight days later, Rookie Camps will open on May 11th.

In recent times, the Global Draft’s value has been mostly on special teams for CFL franchises. But this year’s class has some promising prospects who could buck that trend. There were 34 Global participants at the Combine.

One of the standouts who could be a potential starter in a CFL secondary in the future is French player Edris Jean-Alphonse. The 6’2 206lb DB performed well at the combine, showing great length and athleticism. The lone U-Sports competitor among the global ranks has experience playing the Canadian game, and that could play into his favor this coming season.

Global Draft Participants Combine Results

NAME#POSSCHOOLHTWTBENCH40VERTICAL (IN.)BROAD3-CONESHUTTLE
AMORIM, Otavio100OLBerlin Thunder (ELF)6′ 2 5/8″343215.4326.007′ 10 1/8″7.804.90
AVENDANO, Diego37DBFundidores de Monterrey (LFA)5′ 10 5/8″183104.8831.009′ 5″7.064.24
BEARD-AIGRET, Maceo35DBPotsdam Royals (GFL)6′ 2″206184.7031.509′ 3 5/8″7.144.36
BRANDT, Gerrit64OLNew Yorker Lions (GFL)6′ 3 3/8″313225.5723.007′ 8 1/2″7.744.77
BRAUNS, Karlis110DLWroclaw Panthers (ELF)6′ 4″270294.9728.509′ 5 3/8″7.574.54
CABRERA, Salvador36DBReyes de Jalisco (LFA)5′ 11 1/4″20264.8431.009′ 8 1/8″7.064.30
DEVINE-SCOTT, Bailey38DBWestern New England5′ 11 1/2″19254.7630.009′ 6″7.274.52
ESPINOSA, Andres27LBRaptors Naucalpan (LFA)5′ 9 3/4″228214.8828.009′ 4″7.214.51
FLAT, Mads42LBKristiansand Gladiators (Norway)5′ 10 1/4″206214.6732.5010′ 1 5/8″7.474.57
GOMES, Ryan28LBGalo (Brazil)6′ 0″223174.6931.509′ 5″6.934.30
HENRIQUE, Roedion39DBLeipzig Kings (ELF)6′ 0 1/8″206104.7434.509′ 10″6.864.33
JACKSON, Jai-Albert75DL/LBHertfordshire Cheetahs (BAFA)6′ 1 3/4″239105.1030.509′ 9 1/2″7.444.48
JEAN-ALPHONSE, Edris32DBLaval6′ 0 1/4″206124.5536.009′ 11 1/2″7.394.18
KALOUS, Radim63WRDresden Monarchs (GFL)6′ 0 3/8″202104.8030.509′ 4 5/8″7.344.30
KARGEL, Samuel112DLNew Yorker Lions (GFL)6′ 1″272225.1727.009′ 3″7.734.78
KRUSE, John Levi60TE/FBHamburg Sea Devils (ELF)6′ 2 3/4″246184.8832.509′ 6 7/8″7.064.42
LEMPINEN, Viljo40DBHelsinki Roosters (Maple League)6′ 1 3/4″197114.8232.009′ 8 1/4″7.064.40
MAYR, Yannick83WRSchwabisch Hall Unicorns (GFL)5′ 11 3/4″19454.5632.5010′ 3″7.204.24
OKONTA-WARISO, Simeon77DLLubeck Cougars (GFL)6′ 1 1/4″25524DNP32.509′ 7″7.534.33
OMI, YoshihitoWRLeipzig Kings (ELF) / IBM Big Blue (X-L)5′ 11 1/8″19010DNP33.509′ 8 3/8″6.654.18
ORAM-JONES, Samuel2RBUSC5′ 6 7/8″195184.9129.008′ 4 1/8″7.404.51
OWUSU, Andy3RBCoventry University (BAFA)6′ 0 1/8″225224.8031.0010′ 0 1/2″7.104.33
PAJARINEN, Karri61RBHelsinki Roosters (Maple League)5′ 9 5/8″210204.9735.009′ 10 1/2″7.244.39
REGLER, Lorenz81WRFrankfurt Galaxy (ELF)6′ 3 3/4″196DNP4.8826.509′ 1″7.734.90
SAIKAWA, Naoyuki113DLFujitsu Frontiers (X-League)6′ 1 3/8″271165.3025.508′ 8″7.684.69
SEIDNALY, Nour-Eddine66OLArkansas State6′ 4 7/8″306125.8823.007′ 1″8.515.27
SIMON, Flamur76DL/LBDuesseldorf Panthers (GFL)6′ 4 5/8″251235.0227.009′ 2″7.644.78
TAGO, Noke111DLOregon State6′ 1 1/8″297305.4826.007′ 1 7/8″7.484.84
WEDDERBURN, Kris62WRTamworth Phoenix (BAFA)6′ 0 7/8″209144.7733.009′ 5 1/2″7.094.33
WILZECK, Robin19WRDresden Monarchs (GFL)5′ 11″199134.6338.0010′ 3 1/8″7.114.54
YAMAMOTO, Rikiya72LBAsahi Beer Silver Star (X-League)5′ 10 1/4″216165.0727.508′ 6 7/8″7.414.57
ZACOK, Filip119DLSeinajoki Crocodiles (Maple League)6′ 3 3/4″276145.5227.508′ 10 3/8″7.574.78
ZISTLER, Raphael136DLSchwabisch Hall Unicorns (GFL)6′ 2 3/4″297255.0228.009′ 1 1/2″7.614.58
ZUMALACARREGUI, Osvaldo23DBDinos de Saltillo (LFA)5′ 11 1/8″196124.7829.509′ 9 1/2″7.044.27

The Toronto Argonauts are picking 4th, 6th, and 4th in the three rounds of the 2022 Global Draft.

Later that evening, the Argos have nine picks in eight rounds in the CFL Draft. The most significant of which will be the team’s two second-round picks. Courtesy of last season’s Nick Arbuckle trade with Edmonton.

Toronto will select sixth in round one, then tenth at the top of round two, and fifteenth overall.

The Boatmen will have a prime opportunity with three of the first fifteen picks in the draft to add some great building blocks for their future.

Toronto Argonauts Recent Draft Success

It remains to be seen if any players from this year’s Global Draft make the Toronto Argonauts or become key contributors. A year ago, the Argos’ had two global players make their roster in Safety Tigie Sankoh and Kicker Toshiki Sato.

However, the bulk of attention on this year’s class will be on the main CFL Draft.

In 2021, the Argonauts’ front office struck gold when they drafted rookie offensive linemen Peter Nicastro with the seventh selection overall. Nicastro was a CFL East All-Star in 2021 and won the Frank M. Gibson Trophy as the best rookie in his division.

The Argos also picked up two other key first-year contributors in the 2021 draft class, with fourth-round linebacker Trevor Hoyte and sixth-round pick Joshua Hagerty. Both youngsters stepped in and played meaningful snaps on defense and special teams for Toronto last season.

Another example of the Argos’ recent draft success is WR Kurleigh Gittens Jr.

Gittens Jr. is coming off of a breakout 2021 campaign for the Boatmen. The former third-round pick of the Argos in 2019 is another recent example of the stellar work done by Vince Magri and the scouting department in identifying national talent. The Argonauts would love for that trend to continue in 2022.

In the CFL, unlike leagues like the NFL, teams rarely reap immediate dividends from their rookie draft classes. Often, CFL franchises are playing the long game with players who may or may not pan out long term. Teams will typically also take flyers and utilize draft capital on players who may never step foot on a CFL field.

For example, in 2021, the Argos selected National DB Benjamin St. Juste after he was already drafted in the third round of the NFL Draft by Washington. St. Juste has all the tools to have a long pro career in the United States, but if, for whatever reason, things don’t pan out for him south of the border, the Argos will be waiting.

The waiting game for the start of a CFL season is much shorter than last year’s. And with the draft only a month away. Let’s look at a few of the players the Toronto Argonauts could be targeting on May 3rd.

Toronto Argonauts 2022 CFL Draft Targets

Positions to target: QB, RB, OT, DT, LB, DB

Because the Argos have two picks in the top half of round two. And no clear positions of need heading into 2022, Toronto can afford to exercise a best player available strategy.

The Boatmen have tremendous Canadian depth all across their roster. But with some age at key spots, Toronto could be looking for some long-term answers.

Drafting a pivot with the future in mind could be in play for the Argos on May 3rd.

Quarterback, Tre Ford, Waterloo

All eyes are on Waterloo quarterback Tre Ford. The dynamic dual-threat signal-caller for the Warriors, A Hec Crighton Trophy winner, and U-Sports MVP is one of the more exciting national QB prospects in recent years.

Ford is an elite athlete who averaged over 100 yards per game rushing in 2021. Tre Ford’s speed was on full display at his pro day, as he ran a 4.45 in the 40-yard dash. Ford also had a 36-inch vertical leap. Tre Ford also had the best 3-cone drill at the CFL Combine with a 6.85.

Because of his all-world athletic traits, there is reason to believe that Ford could be on an NFL roster this summer. The question is, will NFL teams keep Ford at quarterback?

The possibility of Tre Ford being on an NFL roster shouldn’t preclude the Argonauts from drafting him, especially since the team doesn’t necessarily need him to play immediately. The luxury of having two second-round picks gives the Boatmen flexibility to take a signal-caller and stash that player for the future.

The question becomes, when should the Argos’ take the plunge?

CFL teams are envious of the BC Lions’ situation right now with promising national QB Nathan Rourke. The Leos are keeping their pivot All-Canadian with Michael O’Connor backing him up. It’s not a case of nationalism just for its sake; BC has an ascending 23-year old signal-caller in Rourke, who has shown early signs of being a star for years to come.

There’s a chance that a CFL team could play the copycat role and select Tre Ford in round one. One would think it won’t be the Lions, but what’s to stop a team like Winnipeg from selecting Tre Ford before the Argos are on the clock at ten.

Because of his size, just a shade under six feet and about 200lbs, pro teams in the United States might not see Tre Ford as a prototypical quarterback. And there’s no question that Ford still needs more polish as a passer. But in Canada, Ford has a chance if a team has the patience to be one of the CFL’s best dual-threat pivots since Doug Flutie. A name and player that the Toronto faithful and longtime CFL fans are very familiar with.

The Argos’ can afford to draft Tre Ford. And sit him while McLeod Bethel-Thompson retakes the reins in 2022 with Chad Kelly and Antonio Pipkin backing him up. It’s a position of luxury that the Boatmen can have by bringing Tre Ford on board.

OT, Noah Zerr, Saskatchewan

Can lightning strike twice for the Boatmen two years in a row?

Last month, the Toronto Argonauts parted ways with one of its best home-grown players in OT, Jamal Campbell. The move was made partly because of the salary cap. But off the heels of the decision, Toronto is now faced with the possibility of not having four-fifths of their starting offensive line headed by national players.

Perhaps, Toronto can afford the luxury of having two American offensive tackles in Isiah Cage and Dejon Alen because they balanced out the ratio by adding a Canadian starter at halfback with superstar runner Andrew Harris.

But the Boatmen would love to strike gold, the same way they did a year ago with Peter Nicastro. By selecting another highly touted Canadian offensive lineman who can step in on day one and be a potential long-term starter.

Noah Zerr, the 6’6 OT, could be that player for Toronto. The first-team U-Sports player is athletic enough to play on the blindside if needed. But he could be an immediate fit at right tackle.

Zerr is not the only offensive lineman worth consideration in the 2022 class. Western’s Zack Fry, Alberta’s Peter Kozushka, and Ottawa’s Zach Pelehos may also be on Double Blue’s radar early in the draft. The Boatmen have some young promising offensive linemen as reserves, but the team needs a standout building block upfront on the outside for the future.

RB, Daniel Adeboboye, Bryant

With the Toronto Argonauts signing 34-year-old future Hall Of Fame running Andrew Harris. It stands to reason that the team will be in the market for a long-term answer at the position. And on top of that, it’s also reasonable to suggest that the Argos’ could be looking to keep their backfield All-Canadian.

The 5’9 220lb Daniel Adeboboye fits the bill. He is considered by many to be the best running back prospect in this draft class. The Toronto-born Adeboboye was a standout on the FCS level, amassing over 2,000 all-purpose yards and 20 touchdowns during his career at Bryant University. His bowling ball style of running could be the perfect complement to Harris.

Adeboboye doesn’t have great timed speed in the 4.6 area. But his shuttle time of 4.36 at the CFL combine was the best at his respective position. Adeboboye is also ridiculously strong; he led the combine with 28 reps in the bench press.

When it comes to the ratio, the Argonauts’ would love to make the RB spot a position of strength, and the drafting of Daniel Adeboboye might accomplish that goal.

DL, Deionte Knight, Western University

Barring a trade to the top of the first round. It’s doubtful that Deionte Knight falls to the Toronto Argonauts at six.

The 6’3 280lb standout was an absolute monster at Western University. The Ajax, Ontario native, Knight was dominant in 2021, recording 52 total tackles, 13 tackles for loss, ten sacks, and two fumble recoveries en route to winning the J. P. Metras Trophy for linemen of the year. Knight is on NFL teams’ radars after an impressive showing at the East-West Shrine Bowl.

Knight is also coming off an excellent showing at the CFL Combine. He proved to be one of the more athletic big men of his size. Many pundits believe that Knight could be the first overall pick in the draft because he has the ability to play at defensive end or on the interior at defensive tackle.

Defensive line is not a pressing need for Toronto; however, the Boatmen had their fair share of struggles against the run or mustering up a pass rush last season. The Argos have made significant strides in that area by signing superstar JaGared Davis. But anytime you have an opportunity to get a young dominant presence upfront. You have to entertain the possibility.

For the Argos to have a shot to land Knight, they might have to part with some of their early draft capital.

LB, Tyrell Richards, Syracuse

Another player who has future CFL star written all over him is Syracuse Linebacker Tyrell Richards. In this draft, the Brampton, Ontario native could be the best football player pound for pound. Richards’s skillset is so versatile, and he has the capability of playing a variety of positions in Canada.

Richards has the size to play the middle, the outside at linebacker, or defensive end and could even play as a SAM backer in space as an additional pass defender in the secondary. Richards is also a fantastic special teams player. Evidenced by the fact that Richards was a Joe Szombathy Award winner in college as Syracuse’s most outstanding special teams player.

The Argos don’t have a clear need for a swiss-army type player on defense. However, they did lose one of the best jack-of-all-trades players in Dexter McCoil to retirement. Plus, Henoc Muamba is no spring chicken. Like Deionte Knight, it’s not probable that Richards slides to Toronto in the Six at pick #6. But if he does, the Argos need to consider Richards heavily.

DB, Tyrell Ford, Waterloo

Tyrell Ford, the fastest player at the CFL combine, running a 4.44 in the 40-yard dash, could have teams rushing up their card to draft him on May 3rd.

There are several intriguing defensive backs in the CFL Draft. Like Coastal Carolina’s Enoch Makonzo, who teams will have to wait on until 2023 since he is in the transfer portal. But Tyrell Ford brings an added dimension because of his dynamic skills as a returner. Ford returned three punts for touchdowns during his time with the Warriors.

Tyrell Ford can play safety and on the outside as well. His versatility and elite athleticism will be difficult for teams to overlook.

There was clearly something magical in the water for the Ford family and the Waterloo program. Both Tyrell and his twin brother Tre are dynamic talents that stand above their peers.

It would make for a heck of a story if the two brothers continued the next chapter of their playing careers as teammates again in Toronto.

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