Every year, a few Canadian Football League players make the leap to the NFL in hopes of greater success. Here are a few sleepers to watch this year.
Warren Moon and Doug Flutie. Chad Johnson and Joe Horn. Brandon Browner and Cameron Wake.
Every year, teams in the National Football League import a new crop of players from our friends to the north in the hopes of striking gold once again while mining in the Canadian Football League. While most experiments fail to work out, the number of significant additions from the CFL over the years makes it imperative that NFL teams do their homework on potential imports.
This year, another batch of players have signed with NFL teams in hopes of making active rosters come September. While most of these players will likely find themselves looking for work once the regular season begins—and perhaps even returning to their former teams in the CFL—a few will likely make their presence felt.
We recently asked Davis Sanchez, currently an analyst for TSN after an 11-year career in the CFL and another two years with the San Diego Chargers, to tell us the best bets to stick in the NFL this offseason.
Alex Singleton, linebacker
Former Team: Calgary Stampeders
New Team: Philadelphia Eagles
Alex Singleton went undrafted back in 2015 as a small-school linebacker at Montana State who was clearly productive. He impressed front offices enough to land on several big boards and earned preseason looks from the Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots, and Minnesota Vikings after the draft. Unfortunately, he failed to land a long-term role, so he took his talents to Canada—specifically to the Calgary Stampeders who drafted him in the first round of the following year’s draft.
Singleton took complete advantage of the Stampeders confidence in him with two all-star seasons in a row as a middle linebacker. The NFL was quick to come calling as soon as he was available this winter, including workouts for the Cleveland Browns, L.A. Chargers, Arizona Cardinals, Vikings, and Eagles. Ultimately the Philadelphia Eagles won out in the end and they might have a real defensive sleeper on their hands.
Davis Sanchez says: He’s a guy who will likely stick. He’s been the leader of the Calgary defense, which has been the best defense in the CFL for the last three years. This is his first opportunity to hit free agency, and he got picked up right away and had multiple offers. He’s a guy that should stick.