It’s quality over quantity for Laurier writes TSN’s Ferguson

Marshall Ferguson

Going through the 2017 draft I find it’s always best to look backwards before looking forwards so with two days until the CFL draft I took a look at the quality and quantity of USPORTS players drafted by the Canadian Football League since 1985.

 I weighed the average draft pick of each institution to see quality of athlete. While this obviously says nothing about the quality of the player during their supposed CFL career it does tell you something about their evaluation and generally speaking the quality of the program. I understand these numbers are skewed by variables such as players getting drafted far below their talent level due to NFL interest or injury concerns which might have little to no impact on the player once drafted, but it’s still informative to realize those variables have a comparatively small effect on the overall question of quantity vs. quality.

As for quantity it’s simply the number of players drafted in the given era. By comparing these two you can get a better sense for which USPORTS football programs produce high end talent and whether they do it at a high level or just sporadically. You can also see which programs rarely produce talent for the next level and whether it’s a recent issue or a long term struggle.

We begin by looking at the big picture, the modern era of the CFL draft since 1985.

Since Laval got a late start the Rouge Et Or sit tied for fifth in players produced – which is still incredible considering the timeline – while the men from Quebec City have the best average draft pick at 25.64.

Regina, Concordia, Bishop’s, Acadia and Queen’s all rest among the most consistent producers of high end talent at the front end of the above graphic while UBC and Manitoba have a relatively high average draft pick despite producing CFL talent in the top five of USPORTS schools.

Another class worth noting involves Guelph, St. FX, McGill, U of T, York and Alberta. All schools who have consistently produced players for the CFL draft but players who are pushed towards the back end of the draft on average.

Finally, Sherbrooke, Waterloo, Mount Allison and Windsor who struggle to produce CFL worthy talent and when they do achieve that goal the player is still taken on average relatively late.

That’s the big picture, but how do the last ten years look?

In the last ten years Calgary makes a quantum leap towards the top. Calgary players are drafted an average of eight spots earlier in the last ten years when compared to their place in the modern era. Their northern counterparts from the University of Alberta come in second with an average draft pick around 23rd overall but sit in the bottom quarter of USPORTS in quantity of CFL drafted talent.

Laval has the most players drafted to the CFL since 2007 while Calgary trails closely behind. Those two remain in a class of their own while Manitoba, Regina, McMaster, St. Mary’s and Montreal are hot on their tails in a secondary class of CFL talent production, all with varying results in quality of player as judged by CFL decision makers.

Acadia has both far fewer players being drafted in the last ten years and lower quality talent respective to their USPORTS competition while Western and UBC have both experienced a drop off as well.

Queen’s, Bishop’s and Concordia’s quality remains consistent in the last ten years while Guelph players are drafted on average five spots later than the modern era as a whole.

Finally a look at the CFL draft since 2012 in an attempt to get the most recent trends and future direction of USPORTS programs ability to produce top end CFL talent.

Wilfrid Laurier has been all about quality of player over quantity in the last five seasons producing several top end defensive talents such as Chris Ackie and See Mrabure-Ajufo. Calgary and Laval remain head and shoulders above the rest in terms of mass producing CFL talent while Western has returned to being one of the big players.

Manitoba and McMaster stay connected at the hip in producing consistent quality and quantity of CFL players, albeit middle of the pack players. Ottawa’s production has never been near a Laval or Calgary but the fact they’ve produced less CFL drafted players in the last five years is a bit striking when comparing team win loss records in that same time period as you can see HERE.

I fully expect Waterloo to have Jordan Hoover drafted Sunday which would be only their second player taken in the last five years while offensive lineman Qadr Spooner should boost both McGill’s average draft spot and number of players selected.

You can catch all of this years CFL draft on TSN from 7-9pm and I’ll be live from Tim Horton’s Field for the Ticats draft party and broadcast on and simulcast on TSN 1150 Hamilton. 

I’ll also be unveiling my final 2017 CFL mock draft Friday May, 5 live from CFL headquarters at noon on and the CFL Facebook page.


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