Canadian depth is one of the major aspects when constructing a roster in the CFL. Teams need a minimum of 22 national players, with at least seven of them on the field at all times. This adds to the value of finding talented homegrown talent that can make a difference at any given snap. Do not be surprise if these Canadians are on the rise on 2018.
2018 CFL: Rising Canadians
Anthony Coombs, Argonauts Running back/Slot Back
After the future Hall-of-Famer S.J Green and Armanti Edwards, the Argonauts’ wide receivers depth chart has mostly unproven guys, especially with DeVier Posey going to the Baltimore Ravens of the NFL. That means others need to step up especially Canadians. There are currently only five national receivers on the double blue’s roster. Even though, Anthony Coombs is listed as a running back he lines up in the slot majority of the time. In order for Toronto to repeat as Grey Cup champions, the Winnipeg MB., native needs to be a consistent option for Ricky Ray.
Since the day he was drafted third overall by the Argos back in 2014, the now 25-year-old slowly worked on his craft to transition to receiver. He displayed flashes early last season. The University of Manitoba product led the team between weeks four to six with 25 catches for 264 yards. He became the security blanket for Ricky Ray when all else failed. He has the agility and footwork as a running back to make defenders miss and gain extra yards. After sustaining a shoulder injury in week nine that required surgery, he only dressed in the season finale against the Lions. He got back on track in the East Final against the Saskatchewan Roughriders racking up a team-high nine grabs for 77 yards.
Coombs will get his far share of opportunities to make plays in 2018 thanks to James Wilder Jr., tracking the opposing defense’s attention.
Kwaku Boateng, Eskimos Defensive end
Kwaku Boateng was touted as one of the most gifted players in the 2017 draft. The Laurier Golden Hawks product put up monstrous numbers in his last year and helped snag a Yates Cup. At the combine he posted great numbers and dominated all the one-on-one drills. In his first season with the Eskmos, he got better and better with every passing week. The Milton, Ont., native played in all 18 games and posted 21 tackles, four sacks, one force fumble and one special teams tackle.
Edmonton decided to go younger on the defensive line this season. They said good-bye to veterans Odell Willis, Euclid Cummings and Da’Quan Bowers. All of which, were top three in sacks for the team last year. Defensive tackle Almondo Sewell is the only defensive linemen over the age of 27 at training camp. This a perfect opportunity for Boateng to cement himself as a consistent starter. The Canadian has the speed, strength and skills to become a dominant edger rusher for years to come.
Tunde Adeleke, Stampeders Defensive Back
Lightning in a bottle. Tunde Adeleke contains top end speed and play making abilities like no other. At last year’s national combine, he ran the fastest forty time (4.581). That plus his impressive career at Carleton, the Stamps snagged him 25th overall in last year’s draft.
He was asked to do everything as a rookie. The Nigerian accumulated 26 punt returns for 356 yards, five kickoff returns for 95 yards 15 defensive tackles, 13 special teams tackles, one sack, one quarterback pressure and one force fumble. Adeleke showed he can be a every down player in week 12 against Edmoneton, posting a career-high seven tackles. Last season he started at safety for three games, while Josh Bell was injured. He also got the start at SAM linebacker for a game. It’s a perfect example how diverse talent the Carleton product is.
The Stamps made a massive turnover in their secondary after falling in the Grey Cup for the second straight year. One of the newest faces was Adam Berger, who spent his first four years in Calgary before playing with the Redblacks last season. The reason this is brought up is because the two are battling for the safety position.
Even if Adeleke becomes the second string at safety, you can count on Calgary finding ways to get the 22-year-old on the field.
Main image credit:
Embed from Getty Images