Boise State's Tyrone Crawford (40, left) tries to stop Air Force's Asher Clark in a 2011 game.
This week's NFL draft may have been the most international version ever, and Canadian talent was a big part of that. Three Canadian players were chosen, the most-ever in a single draft, and the draft also saw the selections of a German, an Englishman and an American who played CIS football. Moreover, at least two further vaunted CFL prospects had signed with NFL teams as undrafted free agents by Sunday afternoon. While the depth of NFL interest in Canadian players this year is a good indication of the rising calibre of this country's football talent, it's also concerning for the CFL, at least in the short term. These NFL deals seem likely to ensure that these players won't be around for at least the first part of this year's CFL season, and that will dilute the talent pool of available Canadian players. It's not a crisis yet, as that pool is still quite deep and some of these guys may even be added back to it a year or two down the road if they crash out of the NFL, but this will pose some significant challenges for CFL teams.
The three Canadians who were drafted may be the most notable losses for the CFL. Boise State defensive end Tyrone Crawford, who was taken by the Dallas Cowboys in the third round (81st overall), was ranked as the top prospect for Thursday's upcoming CFL draft in the CFL Scouting Bureau's April list (a collection of teams' rankings), while Baylor offensive lineman Philip Blake (taken by the Denver Broncos in the fourth round, 108th overall) was a hot prospect in last year's CFL draft and only fell to 23rd overall (the third round) thanks to worries about his NFL chances. The third CFL non-import drafted, Georgia State defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi (taken in the sixth round by the Oakland Raiders, 189th overall), was ranked as the sixth-highest CFL prospect in that April list. Blake and Crawford are likely in the NFL for at least a few years given the rounds they were taken in, and Bilukidi may follow suit if he's able to make an impression with the Raiders. Thus, don't expect to see them in CFL colours any time soon.Read More »from Record-breaking CanCon in NFL draft is good for Canadian football, not as much for the CFL