Going Global: Blessman Ta’ala heads up CFL global picks

Going Global: Blessman Ta’ala heads up CFL global picks
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Going Global: Blessman Ta’ala heads up CFL global picks

The results of the 2023 CFL Global Draft are in. Later the full CFL Draft will follow. But for now the focus is on the global players the league has taken.

Last year the CFL announced that the global draft would take place on the same day as the CFL Draft. This happening again this year demonstrates that they think it worked.

This Draft consists of 18 picks over two rounds, with the teams picking from worst to first based on last season. That means the Ottawa REDBLACKS held the first pick in both rounds. While the Grey Cup champion Toronto Argonauts picked ninth and eighteenth – last in both rounds.

The idea of this Draft is to select non-Canadian and non-American players. This will be the third combined ‘global draft’ following on from Drafts of European and Mexican players back in 2019.

The 2023 picks

First off he board was defesnsive lineman Blessman Ta’ala. Five seasons at the University of Hawaii had seen him nominated a three-time All-Mountain West honourable mention from 2020-2022. As an American Samoan he qualifies for this Draft process. Over 64 games with the Rainbow Warriors, Ta’ala had 142 total tackles (72 solo) and four sacks.

Of interest here in the UK will have been the second pick. Where British kicker Dean Faithfull was taken by the Edmonton Elks. From Fareham, Hampshire, England, the 34-year-old Faithfull was a senior place kicker for the Colorado State University Pueblo ThunderWolves. Yes – you read that right – 34. Maybe the oldest college player around he certainly won’t lack maturity!

Two kickers went in the first round. And global draft traditions were maintained as two Aussie punters were selcted too! That tradition was extended as two more Austrailan punters went in the second round too.

A few stats

If we break down the 18 picks in this years’ Global Draft we see the following:

4 defnesive lineman

3 offensive linemen

5 punters

2 kickers

3 linebackers

1 wide receiver

As well as having 2 picks from American Samoa, 2 from the United Kingdom, 4 from Australia, 2 from Germany, 3 from Sweden, and 1 each from Italy, France, Bermuda, Mexico and Jamaica.

Knowing how good the X League is I am surprised not to see Japanese players being picked.

The other Brit to be taken? That was Emanuel Falola taken with the final pick by the Toronto Argonauts. The 6 ‘2, 230-pound linebacker plays for team GB and has appeared in the European League of Football for the Prague Lions & the British Premiership for the Bristol Aztecs.

Round 1

1Ottawa REDBLACKSBlessman Ta’alaDLAmerican Samoa
2Edmonton ElksDean FaithfullKGreat Britain
3Saskatchewan RoughridersAdam KorsakPAustralia
4Hamilton Tiger-CatsPenei PavihiLBAmerican Samoa
5Montreal AlouettesSimon Lars SandbergDLSweden
6Calgary StampedersIsaac MooreOLSweden
7BC LionsJevoni RobinsonWRJamaican
8Winnipeg Blue BombersJamieson SheahanPAustralian
9Toronto ArgonautsAlfredo Gachuz LozadaKMexico

Round 2

1Ottawa REDBLACKSLucas LavinOLSweden
2Edmonton ElksKilian ZiererOLGermany
3Saskatchewan RoughridersHabakkuk BaldonadoDLItaly
4Hamilton Tiger-CatsLou HedleyPAustralia
5Montreal AlouettesRhys BurnsPAustralia
6Calgary StampedersLeno SchroeterLBGermany
7BC LionsJunior AhoDLFrance
8Winnipeg Blue BombersKarl SchmitzPBermuda
9Toronto ArgonautsEmmanuel FalolaLBGreat Britain

The background of the Global players

From the very beginnings of the global player initiative there have been some doubters. Because people wondered if players would be more than glorified clipboard holders. But these things take time. A lost season did not help the initiative either.

But having the first Global All-Star was a big step forward in legitimizing the concept. You might argue the the league has been taking a punt on this scheme to try and spread its brand. More things like this that highlight success can only be a good thing when it comes to that.

On the flip side, the global initiative was originally sold as a way to draw talent out from aournd the world. Now it seems to be much more slanted to those with an NCAA background.

Banner Image: Number 1 overall pick in the CFL Global Draft, Blessman Ta’ala brings down a ball carrier. Image from mwire.com

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