2022 CFL Draft position rankings: receivers

The 2022 CFL Draft is almost upon us and as always, 3DownNation will have you covered with the most in-depth coverage anywhere in Canada.

With all the debates raging in the CFL, collective bargaining ongoing, and two separate drafts set to take place on May 3, it can be difficult for fans to keep track of all the prospects who might make an impact for your team next season. We’re here to help by giving you the inside scoop on the top players at every position in the lead up to the league’s annual pick-fest.

On Friday, we kicked off our rankings with a look at the quarterbacks and running backs. Today, we continue with the receivers, a group which includes four top-20 prospects and a bevy of Combine standouts.

Receivers

Courtesy: AP Photo/Vasha Hunt

1. John Metchie III, University of Alabama (Brampton, Ont.)

The back-to-back Jon Cornish Trophy winner as the best Canadian player in the NCAA won’t be coming back north anytime soon, projected as a Day 2 NFL Draft pick. A torn ACL in the Southeastern Conference Championship has deflated Metchie’s stock somewhat, but scouts see very little bust potential in a smooth route runner and physical blocker who can play outside or in the slot.

2. Samuel Emilus, Louisiana Tech University (Montreal, Que.)

Emilus remained consistently productive throughout his college career, despite lacklustre quarterbacking first at UMass and again at Louisiana Tech. The six-foot, 194-pounder wins with short area quickness and sudden route running in much the same way as the Philpot twins — more on them shortly — but has a superior athletic profile with a 37-inch vertical and 10-foot, four-inch broad jump. Emilus is not a downfield separator, but has made his share of highlight reel catches thanks to good body control.

3. Jalen Philpot, University of Calgary (Delta, B.C.)

A gamebreaker at the U Sports level, some worry about a plateau in this Philpot’s development. Handling physicality is a serious concern and don’t expect him to win many jump balls deep at the next level given his athletic profile, but heavy zone coverage in the CFL should still allow Philpot to eat in the pros. His startling quickness out of breaks will allow him to excel on short and intermediate routes, with good vision after the catch allowing him to slash for a few more yards.

4. Tyson Philpot, University of Calgary (Delta, B.C.)

Much of what is written about Jalen applies to his identical twin brother as well, but there are differences. Tyson is less sudden in his route running, but came into his own as a receiver earlier in his development and has a better feel for where to settle in his routes. He is also slightly more physical, though neither brother brings much special teams value to the table.

5. Keaton Bruggeling, Carleton University (St. Catharines, Ont.)

There is reason to be concerned that Bruggeling’s college career featured just 35 receptions for 300 yards and three touchdowns, most of which came in 2021 during his lone season as starter. However, the six-foot-three, 213-pound project has drool-worthy athletic traits, running a 4.55 forty with a 1.52 ten-yard split at the Combine. That is faster and quicker than the Philpots, who he also significantly out-jumped, and his change of direction is similar despite being 20 pounds heavier. The raw, big man has a high floor as a special teams body and could develop into something more with the right coaching.

Photo courtesy: Dave Mahussier/Bisons Sports

6. Gavin Cobb, University of Manitoba (Victoria, B.C.)

The fact that Cobb is five-foot-nine and just 170 pounds will drive him down draft boards, but there is no more explosive player in this draft when they put their foot in the ground than the Simon Fraser University transfer. The testing numbers certainly back that up with a 41.5-inch vertical and a nearly 10-foot, 10-inch broad jump, but you see it in his ability to separate as a route runner and in his dynamic return ability as well. Cobb isn’t afraid to go up and high point the football either, a skillset that may allow him to exceed his size-based limitations in the pros.

7. Vincent Forbes-Mombleau, Université Laval (Quebec City, Que.)

Cut-up and compact, Forbes-Mombleau is a small receiver who out-benches most offensive linemen and will work the dirty areas. Difficult to out-leverage and deceptively sudden out of his breaks, the Laval product is a reliable slot who can be your safety blanket over the middle. He won’t beat you deep very often, but Forbes-Mombleau adjusts very well to the ball in the air when the big play does come his way.

8. Kiondre Smith, University of Guelph (Markham, Ont.)

A 2021 All-Canadian as a kick returner, Smith lacks the true top-end speed to continue in that role at the next level. As a receiver, he is a looser-looking athlete than some of his counterparts in this draft, but remains shifty enough as a route runner to create some separation, with sticky hands to haul in errant balls and good body control to secure tough catches.

9. Riley Boersma, University of Regina (Cambridge, Ont.)

Another receiver who checks in at five-foot-nine, Boersma’s staggering athletic numbers match those of Cobb with an extra 20 pounds on his frame. He’s quick as a hiccup and can stop on a dime, but hasn’t lived up to his athletic potential consistently on the field. Flashes of brilliance show that Boersma can run away from you with his 4.49 speed, but he’ll need the right fit to maximize it.

10. Nicholas Petermann, Wilfrid Laurier University (Hamilton, Ont.)

Your typical jack of all trades, master of none, Petermann has even seen snaps at running back in Laurier’s offence. While he isn’t the same calibre of athlete as his CFL brother Daniel, Petermann has enough burst out of his cuts to be viable on offence and the physical willingness to play special teams — a characteristic lacking in much of the 2022 receiver class.

Photo courtesy: Laurel Jarvis/Waterloo Athletics

11. Gordon Lam, University of Waterloo (Kitchener, Ont.)

Lam’s severe athletic limitations were on full display at the Combine, but he’s long compensated in university by becoming one of this draft’s best route runners. Almost lulling opponents to sleep on his stem, he attacks with the right leverage to turn the defender’s hip and has just enough quickness in his cut to create space, but his collegiate success will be difficult to replicate against better athletes. What he does bring to the table is a lot of blocking experience, which happens when you play with Hec Crighton Trophy winner Tre Ford.

12. Barnaba Niel, University of Waterloo (Kitchener, Ont.)

Lam’s cousin, Niel is a stiff, upright runner with limited production, but his nearly six-foot-four, 212-pound frame gives him value in this exceedingly small class. He has the physicality to contribute on special teams and flashes just enough in terms of his first step explosiveness to have some merit as a developmental project.

13. Benoit Cormier, St. Francis Xavier University (Moncton, N.B.)

A thicker slot at six-foot and 205 pounds, Cormier has good hands and runs simple, but reliable routes. He’s an average athlete overall, but has enough bulk to at least bring special teams capability at the back end of this draft.

14. Isaac Fagnan, St. Francis Xavier University (Bonnyville, Alta.)

Testing wise, there is not a single athletic box that this five-foot-ten, 188-pound Atlantic University Sport all-star checks. Nevertheless, consider me smitten with the high effort level of how Fagnan plays the game, battling for the extra yard or block in a way that exceeds his pure measurables. Late in a weak draft, perhaps that is worth rewarding.

15. Marcus Browne, University of British Columbia (Surrey, B.C.)

If you are in the mood for a deep sleeper, allow me to present Mr. Browne. The six-foot-four, 206-pound UBC product has spent the last two years as a converted defensive back — a trajectory once successfully followed by Malcolm Lee — but I liked him better in his early seasons as a big bodied pass catcher. Not invited to any Combine, I’m not certain Browne is actively pursuing a football career, but it is usually a safe bet that the Thunderbirds will have one unconventional athlete drafted.

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2022 CFL Draft position rankings: receivers