With the 2014 CFL Draft set to take place Tuesday in Toronto, CFL on TSN analyst Duane Forde breaks down the top prospects. Today, he looks at receivers.
1. Devon Bailey (St. Francis Xavier)
You Should Know: The former high school volleyball player is a two-time AUS All-Star.
The Good: He uses his 6'4", 205 lbs. frame to his advantage by being physical with defenders and winning battles for jump balls.
The Bad: He is still raw as a receiver and needs significant work to refine his route running skills.
2. Kris Bastien (Concordia)
The Good: He is a playmaker, having led the Stingers in both receiving yards per game and touchdown catches in each of the last three seasons.
The Bad: His production doesn't match his impressive physical ability.
3. Scott MacDonell (Queen's)
The Good: As a 6'5" receiver with sub-4.7 speed, he has a very large catching radius and, at 230 lbs., he can also play in tight end sets.
The Bad: His strength will need to improve in order for him to take full advantage of his size.
4. Tore Corrado (Simon Fraser)
The Good: He's a two-time Great Northwest Athletic Conference All-Star kick returner and, despite not being a starting receiver, he has played a lot in the Clan's spread offence.
The Bad: He's slight at 6'0", 175 lbs. and will need to get stronger to compete against CFL DBs.
5. Jordan Catterall (St. Francis Xavier)
The Good: The 2010 AUS Rookie of the Year and two-time conference All-Star posted the second fastest 40-yard dash among draft eligible players at last spring's East West Bowl.
The Bad: He's a smaller receiver at 5'10", 180 lbs., and is still recovering from a knee injury (torn ACL) that abbreviated his 2013 season.
• Alexander Fox (Bishop's) – 5'7", 185 lbs; led the nation with 1009 receiving yards and 12 TD in 8 games last season; 3rd in CIS in 2013 with 21.5 yards per catch; 24 bench press reps, 4.64 forty at CFL Combine
• Evan Pszczonak (Windsor) – 6'0", 180 lbs.; 1344 receiving yards over last two seasons ranks third among draft eligible receivers; topped CFL Combine with 40" vertical; also 3rd among CFL Combine receivers with 4.59 forty
• Alex Pierzchalski (Toronto) – 6'4", 225 lbs.; led all draft eligible receivers with 51 catches in 2013; 4.82 forty, 14 bench press reps at CFL Combine
• Kit Hillis (Saskatchewan) – 5'8", 175 lbs.;103 catches over the last two seasons leads all draft eligible receivers; led CIS with 132.8 receiving yards per game in 2012; 4.71 forty and 12 bench press reps at CFL Combine
• Brian Marshall (Western) – 6'0", 200 lbs.; only Fox (1631) has more yards over the last two seasons than his 1518; despite 4.90 forty at CFL Combine, he leads all draft eligible receivers with an average of 20.5 yards/catch over last two seasons; 22 bench press reps at CFL Combine
• Andrew Smith (Manitoba) – 6'1", 205 lbs.; 41.5" vertical at Edmonton Regional Combine topped all draft eligible players; hurt by 5.00 forty at same event; among draft eligible receivers, his 604 yards in 2013 ranks 4th and 18.9 yards/catch ranks 3rd
Also on the Radar (alphabetically): Landon Buch (Regina); Alex Carroll (Queen's); Mike Harrington (Concordia); Nathan Heather (Bishop's); Francis Lapointe (Sherbrooke); Bryce Lawrence (Western); Jay Smith (Regina); Andrew Thibaudeau (Western); Troy Trentham (Mount Allison); Quincy Van de Cruize (Bishop's / Westshore Rebels)
Analysis: I suspect that, if you looked at the draft boards of all nine CFL teams, the receivers would be listed in nine completely different sequences. They were the most challenging group to rank, primarily because every prospect has obvious strengths...and equally apparent weaknesses. Like the O-Line, this group was also impacted slightly by the changes to the draft eligibility rules, which led to the reclassification to 2015 of Simon Fraser's Lemar Durant, who would've been a potential #1 overall pick. Legitimate burners Bobby Pospischil (Simon Fraser) and Matt Uren (Western) were also reclassified. In the absence of Durant, there is no "total package" in the group so, even more than usual, where a team ranks a given player will depend upon what skills and physical attributes they value the most for their team or system.
For my money, Bailey has the highest ceiling, as big, athletic body who relishes contact. He didn't need to run great routes to be successful in the CIS but those skills will improve as an adjustment to facing better competition on a daily basis, particularly on a team with solid veteran mentors. Bastien may be the most polished receiver at this stage, especially among the bigger targets, and that won't go unnoticed. Look for MacDonnel to garner some relatively early attention as well. Much like fullbacks, the demand for tight end bodytypes exceeds the supply, making them particularly valuable to any team with that specific need. If a team is looking for a non-import Z receiver (wide side WR), the smallish size of some of the top prospects may be less of an issue for them. Overall though, the lack of unanimity in terms of opinion could lead to the 2014 Draft being the third one in a five-year span where no receivers are chosen in the first round.