Five later-round CFL draft picks who could make a big impact in 2016

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Five later-round CFL draft picks who could make a big impact in 2016
Five later-round CFL draft picks who could make a big impact in 2016

Each team's true performance in the CFL draft is often only seen several years down the road, as some players are used in only small roles in their first season, while other draftees don't even enter the league right away thanks to NFL deals. The growing calibre of Canadian talent means that we are seeing more and more players who might be able to make a CFL impact right away, though, and it's not just guys who were taken in the first round; while those players are obvious candidates to be featured heavily, there are plenty of draftees picked later who might also make their mark on the CFL in 2016. Here are five, in descending order of where they were picked:

Mercer Timmis, running back, Calgary Dinos (taken in the second round by Hamilton, 14th overall): Timmis is an intriguing pick, and one with a definite chance of putting up some CFL stats this year. He was the only running back in the CFL's April prospect rankings (coming in at 13th), and he'd been ranked as high as seventh in the December rankings. Timmis picked up 666 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns in just six regular-season CIS games this past year, and averaged a remarkable 8.3 yards per rush. A three-time first-team All-Canadian, Timmis certainly has an impressive history of production, and he has good size (6'1'', 220 pounds) and impressive speed (a 4.703 second 40-yard dash at the CFL Combine) that may help him succeed in the CFL. He wasn't the first running back picked (that would be McMaster product Wayne Moore, who Montreal surprisingly grabbed at 11), but he seems the most likely to find CFL success this year, whether that's as a pure running back or with a transition to slotback.

Juwan Brescacin, receiver, Northern Illinois Huskies (taken in the second round by Calgary, 15th overall): Brescacin never really dominated a particular season with Northern Illinois (his best might have been his redshirt sophomore year of 2013, where he made 33 catches for 499 yards despite only starting seven of the team's 14 games; interestingly enough, his quarterback then was current Eskimos' QB Jordan Lynch), but he was generally solid for them, and he seems to have a good bit of CFL potential. At 6'3'' and 233 pounds, he's a pretty good size, but he has speed as well, recording a 4.56-second 40. He should be in a good position with the Stampeders, too, as they have plenty of promising Canadian receivers, including Simon Charbonneau-Campeau, Lemar Durant, Matthew Norzil, and Anthony Parker. That should lead to some starting spots for Canadian receivers, and that should let Brescacin get some reps.

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Taylor Loffler, defensive back, UBC Thunderbirds (taken in the third round by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 19th overall): Loffler has battled plenty of injuries over the years, but he's been a dominant player when healthy, and he was a big part of the Thunderbirds' run to the Vanier Cup last year. He excelled in 1-on-1 drills at this year's CFL Combine and put up good testing results as well. The 6'3'', 218-pound Loffler has impressive size, which should help him in a league that's been going towards taller receivers recently. He was the ninth-ranked prospect in April, and Winnipeg looks like an excellent fit for him. Between Sam Hurl, Matt Bucknor, Garrett Waggoner, Teague Sherman and others, the Bombers have lots of Canadian linebackers and defensive backs, so they'll likely be starting at least two nationals in those roles, which could provide plenty of chances for Loffler to get on the field.

Shaquille Johnson, receiver, McGill Redmen/Western Mustangs/London Beefeaters (taken in the fourth round by the B.C. Lions, 32nd overall): Johnson's story to this point is remarkable, as he broke Andy Fantuz's CIS record for receptions by a rookie with 61 in 2012 at McGill, then transferred to Western after academic issues, played one year for the Mustangs in 2014 and then quit school to work full-time and support his family, but played junior football with the Beefeaters. He worked his way into the CFL combine through the Toronto regional combine, posting a 4.39 40-yard dash there that proved to be anything at the actual combine, and impressed on the national level too. The 5'11'', 178-pound Johnson isn't big, but he's fast, and that's a combination that's often worked in this league, including with former Lions' players like Stefan Logan (now with Montreal). We'll see how B.C. uses him, but Johnson certainly seems to have potential.

Doug Corby, receiver, Queen's Golden Gaels (taken in the sixth round by the Edmonton Eskimos, 53rd overall): Corby impressed at the national combine with the best 40 time on the day (4.505 seconds), and he also posted great stats this past year. He led Ontario University Athletics last season with 19.7 yards per catch and finished fifth in the league with 592 receiving yards despite only playing in five regular-season games, which shows off his big-play potential. The 6'1'', 187-pound Corby was also ranked 20th in the April rankings and 19th in December, so it's interesting that he was still available at the end of the sixth round. Edmonton has a deep cast of Canadian receivers, including Chris Getzlaf, Cory Watson, Nate Coehoorn, and Devon Bailey, so there will certainly be opportunities for Canadians at that slot, but Corby will have to stand out amidst a crowded pack, and his sixth-round status doesn't make him one of their higher priorities. He's shown off plenty of skill and speed, though, and he very well could be a late-round guy who makes an immediate CFL impact.

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