TORONTO — If it feels like Jake Burt came out of nowhere in terms of the 2021 CFL Draft, you’re not wrong.
Burt was the final entrant into the Draft, quickly ran the gauntlet of interviews with teams across the league and in a matter of about three weeks, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats bumped everyone on their draft board down a spot to take him first overall.
The Montreal Alouettes had to be patient with their selections but they were still able to zero in on the offensive line, using their first three picks (10th, 27th, 28th) to try to keep Vernon Adams Jr. upright for years to come.
In Saskatchewan, Nelson Lokombo made some history on Tuesday night. Going second overall, he was the highest-taken DB since Dylan Barker went first overall in 2008. In a truly odd note, we didn’t hear a Laval player’s name called in the first two rounds of the draft for the first time in 10 years. You can dig in to 12 notes from Tuesday night’s draft to get some inside info on the class of 2021 and the selection process.
- Jake Burt became the ninth player from Boston College selected in CFL Draft history and the first-ever in the first round. He’s the first player officially listed as a tight end to be selected in Round 1 since Scott Regimbald, who went seventh overall to the Stampeders in 2000. The last time a tight end went first overall was in 1989, when the Ottawa Rough Riders selected Gerald Wilcox out of Weber State. Wilcox was a two-time division all-star and one-time CFL All-Star with Winnipeg.
- Nelson Lokombo was selected second overall, the highest for a University of Saskatchewan player since 2012 when Ben Heenan was picked first overall by the Roughriders. Lokombo is the 10th player in school history selected in the first round and the fourth inside the top-three picks. This also marks the first time Saskatchewan has taken a defensive back in Round 1 since 1998, when Curtis Galick went seventh overall out of UBC. Lokombo is also the highest-chosen defensive back since Dylan Barker went first overall in 2008.
- Liam Dobson becomes the fifth offensive lineman taken in the first round by Winnipeg in the last eight years. He’s the third player ever drafted from Maine and the first since linebacker Chris Mulumba went to Edmonton in 2017.
- Daniel Joseph is the first player ever drafted from North Carolina State. He also marks the fourth year in a row the BC Lions have selected an NCAA player in Round 1 and the third straight year taking an NCAA defensive player with their first round pick.
- Cole Nelson becomes the third Alberta player drafted in the first round since 1982, but the second in four years joining Mark Korte (4th overall in 2018) and Simeon Rottier (1st overall in 2009). The selection marks the second time in three years Edmonton has selected a defensive lineman in the first round, the other being Mathieu Betts, third overall in 2019.
- Dobson and Deshawn Stephens mark the first time since 2013 that two NCAA picks from the same school were chosen in the first round, as both attended Maine prior to this year. Before 2013, the last time it happened was in 2000 with the University of Houston, including Adriano Belli. The selection of Stephens marks the first time in REDBLACKS history selecting a linebacker in the first round, and the highest in franchise history since the Ottawa Renegades selected Cam Yeow second overall in 2005.
- Only two offensive linemen were selected in the first round, which is tied for the lowest since 2000, when Tim Bakker (Edmonton, 3rd overall) was the only offensive lineman chosen in Round 1. This year’s draft marks the second year in a row with exactly four offensive linemen drafted in the first two rounds, tying the lowest single year total since 2010 when only three offensive linemen were selected in the first two rounds. That’s a significant change, considering offensive linemen have made up 44 per cent of first round picks since 2006.
- The selection of Peter Nicastro marks the fourth year in a row the Argos have selected an offensive lineman in the first round. That’s the longest active streak in the CFL and the longest in Argos franchise history. Edmonton holds the longest streak overall in history, having selected an offensive lineman in the first round six years in a row from 1982 through 1987. Ottawa’s recent streak of five years in a row, from 2015 through 2019, is second all-time. Nicastro is also the 5th Calgary offensive lineman picked in the first round since 2015, joining Ryan Sceviour, Darius Ciraco, Sean McEwen, and Sukh Chungh.
- The 2021 CFL Draft ties a record for linebackers taken in the first round with three. The last time that happened was 1996, when Justin Ring (5th overall), Mark Pimiskern (6th overall), and Farell Duclair (8th overall) were all picked in the first round.
- No Laval player was chosen in either of the first four rounds, the first such occurrence since 2008 when the first Laval player off the board was Lauren Lavigne-Masse to Hamilton in the 5th round, 33rd overall. The first Laval player selected in 2021 was fullback Felix Garand-Gauthier, the lowest since Laval players were first drafted starting in 1998. Only two Laval players were chosen on Tuesday, tied for the fewest since 2010.
- Terrell Jana was the first wide receiver off the board at 17th overall to Saskatchewan. The last time a receiver wasn’t selected in the first 16 picks was 1995, when Frank Jones (TOR) was the first receiver off the board at 19th overall.
- Tuesday’s draft marks the 11th consecutive year that a player from either Calgary OR Laval has been selected in the first round. The last time both schools missed out on the first round was 2010.