Receiver Josh Palmer will finish atop the CFL scouting bureau’s top-20 list.
The native of Brampton, Ont., moved into first in the scouting bureau’s third and final list of the top prospects for the CFL’s 2021 draft. The Tennessee receiver overtook Iowa offensive lineman Alaric Jackson, of Windsor, Ont., for the No. 1 position.
Jackson finished ranked second overall ahead of Oregon defensive back Jevon Holland, of Coqutilam, B.C., who moved up for No. 5. Oklahoma State linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga, of Calgary, remained in fourth spot ahead of teammate Chuba Hubbard, a running back from Sherwood Park. Alta., who fell from third position.
The remainder of the top-10 prospects in order, includes: Minnesota defensive back Benjamin St-Juste (Montreal); Montreal offensive lineman Pier-Olivier Lestage (Sainte-Eustache, Que.); New Mexico State offensive lineman Sage Doxtater (Welland, Ont.); Central Michigan defensive lineman Mohamed Diallo (Toronto); and Ole Miss defensive back Deane Leonard (Calgary).
Palmer, Jackson, Holland, Ogbongbemiga, Hubbard and St-Juste are all expected to garner serious attention this week during the NFL draft.
The CFL draft is slated for May 4 and will cover six rounds, two fewer than normal.
Palmer was Tennessee’s receiving leader last year with 33 catches for 475 yards and four touchdowns. He finished his college career with 99 receptions, 1,514 yards and seven TDs in 47 contests.
Palmer, Jackson and St-Juste all participated the Senior Bowl earlier this off-season.
Jackson started all eight games at left tackle for Iowa, helping the team allow the fewest sacks in the Big Ten. Jackson was named the top prospect in the fall and winter CFL scouting bureau rankings.
Holland didn’t play last year, opting out in favour of preparing for the NFL draft. Over two seasons at Oregon, Holland had nine interceptions and 108 tackles (71 solo) while also averaging 15.3 yards on 17 punt returns.
Ogbongbemiga was Oklahoma State’s second-leading tackler with 80 (50 solo) while adding 2.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. He finished his collegiate career with 208 tackles (131 solo), nine sacks, three fumble recoveries and an interception.
Hubbard ran for 625 yards in an injury-plagued ’20 season but still averaged 4.7 yards per carry and scored six TDs. In 2019, he finished eighth in Heisman Trophy voting after running for 2,094 yards and 21 touchdowns.