The Canadian Football League has released the first installment of their 2013 Scouting Bureau, and a pair of Regina Rams players have landed in the top 10.
Fourth-year offensive lineman, Brett Jones, is ranked ninth overall, while fifth-year defensive lineman Stefan Charles is ranked first.
“It feels good. It feels real good, you know? I can’t wait,” Charles said. “It’s a lot of work, a lot of perseverance, a lot of adjusting to adversity. I’m just happy I can get the recognition I’m getting from the CFL and all the scouts that like me…I’m just thankful and grateful for that.”
The CFL’s Scouting Bureau is put together by scouts from each CFL team.
The scouts are provided a list of draft-eligible players each year – usually upwards of 800 players – and asked to rank their top 15.
“So each team would submit their top 15 to me here, and then I basically go through, and depending on how they’re ranked, would come up with an overall rank for these guys,” explained Ryan Janzen, director of football operations with the CFL.
The players receive points based on the rankings they get from each team.
For example, a first-place ranking would earn a player 15 points, a second-place ranking 14 points, and so on.
“I’d love to play in the NFL, but the CFL would still be a blessing in the same way…I’m just trying to make my dreams reality, which is almost coming true.” – Stefan Charles
“You get all those, from all eight teams, and you add up the points,” Janzen said. “And whoever has the most points basically is the top guy.”
This being the first version of the 2013 Bureau, the results are far from concrete.
“We do three versions of this. We do one in early September, we do one probably early December, and we do one about a month or so before the draft,” Janzen explained. “The first one is always a little bit of a crapshoot, because our teams, they scouted these guys…and they’ve seen these guys on film, but they haven’t really focused on these guys as of yet.”
With plenty of football still to play, the final rankings are very much up in the air.
“Guys still might get hurt, guys may regress a little bit, guys who we have lower or not even ranked might have a great year this year and move up the standings,” Janzen explained. “This is really just a preliminary list of where they sit now.”
When determining their Scouting Bureau rankings, CFL scouts are looking for specific things.
One of the most important assets a young player can have, Janzen explained, is size.
“A guy like Stefan Charles, he’s huge, and obviously that’s something you can’t teach,” he said. “It’s how well they can move their feet, their hands, their quickness on the field, those are the big things, and then depending on the team, if the player would fit into their system.”
While Charles is currently sitting atop the 2013 CFL draft projections, he’s also turning heads down south.
Playing with Akiem Hicks – who was drafted by the NFL’s New Orleans Saints this year – has meant that Charles has caught the attention of NFL scouts as well.
“I think it was good because we’re both competitors, and in practice we would push ourselves to always do one better than what one person does,” Charles said, of playing alongside Hicks. “It was never a mediocre practice when we would practice. Even if we’d go head to head, we would basically try to take each other’s heads off.”
In terms of his professional ambition, Charles believes the sky is the limit.
“I want to shoot for the stars,” he said. “I’d love to play in the NFL, but the CFL would still be a blessing in the same way…I’m just trying to make my dreams reality, which is almost coming true. I’ve just got to wait until that day, you know?”