American Football International’s CFL Global Draft Position Rankings

The CFL Global Draft is slated to take place on Thursday, April 15 and there are nearly 300 players available for selection. In the end, only 36 lucky individuals will get the opportunity to chase their pro football dream when the CFL finally gets back on the field.

Any draft is unpredictable, but Thursday will be especially chaotic with teams selecting players they have only recently become familiar with and several external variables expected to influence decision making, including the willingness of all eligible players to play this season.

No one knows how positions will be valued by teams, but there is talent at every spot in the draft. In preparation, here is a quick list of who I see as the top five players at each position.

For the purposes of this exercise, I’ve eliminated any player currently under NFL contract and the 11 athletes in the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program. This players could be selected if a team wishes to gamble on their availability but that will not known until May.

Running Back

  1. Chris Ezeala, Germany: Former Baltimore Ravens fullback who packs a real punch.
  2. Justin Rodney, Germany: Undersized but 4.37 combine speed made headlines.
  3. Glen Mbleg-Toonga, United Kingdom: Powerful back who can contribute on special teams.
  4. Nico Leonard, South Africa: A complete wild card as a rugby convert who could go much higher.
  5. Micky Kyei, Finland: A tremendous receiver, Kyei fits better in the backfield due to size.

Receiver

  1. Anthony Mahoungou, France: Former Purdue standout has some questions surrounding his availability but his talent can’t be denied.
  2. Yoshihito Omi, Japan: Few get off the line better than the Japanese national team captain.
  3. Antoni Podgorski, Poland: Former IPP player with impressive measurables.
  4. Kevin Kaya, France: A second team All-Canadian for the Montreal Carabins, CFL teams are very comfortable with Kaya.
  5. Sebastien Sagne, Finland: A combine standout with a 4.53 forty and 10’5 3/8″ broad jump.

Offensive Line

  1. Tomoya Machino, Japan: The Fujitsu rookie has sweet feet and sky high potential.
  2. Steve Nielsen, Denmark: A three year starter at Eastern Michigan who could step in right away.
  3. Chris Ferguson, Bahamas: Two year starter at Cincinnati who thrives in the run game.
  4. Otavio Amorim, Brazil: A former IPP player who intimidates, Amorim needs lots of refinement.
  5. Abdul Bello, Nigeria: Could this top college recruit who struggled at Florida State be rehabilitated in the CFL.

Defensive Tackle

  1. Thomas Schaffer, Austria: Stanford’s 2020 sack leader is waiting on the NFL Draft but a CFL team could hope he slips through the cracks.
  2. Tibo Debaillie, Belgium: Towson University alumni who topped the combine with 31 bench reps and moves well for his size.
  3. Abdoul Moubarak-Djeri, Germany: Former Arizona Cardinal is flying under the radar as a former IPP player made draft eligible.
  4. Misiona Aiolupotea-Pei, New Zealand: Big kiwi who excelled rushing the passer rather than stuffing the run at Washington State.
  5. Chris Mulumba, Finland: Underwhelming athlete who made an impact at Colorado before joining the NFL’s IPP program last year.

Defensive End

  1. Alex Jenkins, United Kingdom: The former New Orleans Saint, New York Giant and LA Wildcat in the XFL has a big pro resume, is the CFL next?
  2. David Izinyon, United Kingdom: When you draw comparisons to Thiadric Hansen, you are doing something right.
  3. Boqiao Li, China: As raw as they come but with all the measurables from his IPP days.
  4. Hermes Mireles, Mexico: A combine riser, no defensive lineman tested faster than the UAMN product.
  5. Malcolm Engstrom, Sweden: A Superserien standout, Engstrom has better technique than he does traits.

Linebacker

  1. Les Maruo, Japan: A former starter at UTSA who can play right now on special teams.
  2. Tyron Vrede, Netherlands: Rotational player for North Dakota who has more to give.
  3. Andres Espinosa, Mexico: You don’t see 5’9 linebackers toss around 300 pound linemen like Espinosa does.
  4. Lukas Ruoss, Switzerland: Ruoss didn’t get a combine invite, but his tape from Bemidji State speaks for itself.
  5. Luis Polastri, Brazil: Strong enough to play defensive line, Polastri will excel on special teams.

Defensive Back

  1. Tigie Sankoh, United Kingdom: Two years with the Cleveland Browns and Sankoh still has untapped potential.
  2. Tony Anderson, France: An NAIA standout who made a living lighting people up sideline to sideline.
  3. William James, Sweden: Extremely quick and intelligent, James’ only drawback is that he is 29.
  4. Roedion Henrique, Netherlands: Great zone corner who proved his special teams value at New Mexico State.
  5. Osvaldo Zumalacarregui, Mexico: The all-time leading tackler for the UDLAP Aztecas plays like a rebel without a cause.

Punter

  1. Cody Grace, Australia: Being nicknamed “The Thunder from Down Under” sums Grace up nicely.
  2. Kaare Vedvik, Norway: NFL journeyman who could do both jobs in the CFL.
  3. Joseph Zema, Australia: Former AAF punter with a big leg.
  4. Tyson Dyer, Australia: A standout punter for New Mexico.
  5. Joel Whitford, Australia: Whitford had a senior season for the ages in 2019 with Washington.

Kicker

  1. Toshiki Sato, Japan: Sato holds the Japanese record for longest field goal at 58 yards.
  2. Takeru Yamasaki, Japan: An equal leg to Sato in every way.
  3. Phillip Friis-Anderson, Denmark: Briefly signed by the Tampa Buccaneers in 2019.
  4. Jonas Schenderlein, Germany: Two-time Fred Mitchell award finalist for the best specialist playing below the FBS level.
  5. Wihan Van Der Riet, South Africa: Van Der Riet is a coach hoping to make South Africa the equal of Australia in the kicking game.

Graphic: Igor Lazarevic

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J.C. Abbott is a student at the University of British Columbia and amateur football coach in Vancouver, Canada. A CFL writer for 3DownNation, his love of travel has been the root of his fascination with the global game.
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