A record four players from Canada were selected in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Windsor’s Tyrone Crawford (photo John Kelly, courtesy Boise State), a six-foot-four, 275-pound defensive lineman at Boise State, was the first Canadian selected, going 81st overall to the Dallas Cowboys.
The next player with Canadian roots selected was Akiem Hicks, an American who had transferred to the CIS Regina Rams early in his collegiate career. Hicks was also selected in the third round. The six-foot-five, 318-pound Hicks, went 89th overall to the New Orleans Saints. Hicks became the first Canadian university player selected in the NFL draft since defensive lineman Vaughn Martin of the Western Mustangs went in the fourth round to the San Diego Chargers in 2009.
Toronto’s Philip Blake, a six-foot-two, 311-pound centre for the Baylor Bears, was selected in the fourth round, 108th overall, by the Denver Broncos. Blake will join fellow Torontonian Orlando Franklin on the Broncos offensive line. In 2011, the Broncos selected Franklin, a native of Jamaica who grew up in Toronto, in the second round out of the University of Miami. The six-foot-six, 330-pound Franklin started all 16 games last season at tackle.
Ottawa’s Christo Bilukidi, a defensive lineman at Georgia State, was selected in the sixth round of the draft, 189th overall, by the Oakland Raiders. Bilukidi was a two-year starter at Georgia State and played primarily at defensive tackle. He had a school-record 10 career sacks and 16 tackles for loss and was named one of the team’s permanent captains for the 2011 season.
With Crawford, Hicks, Blake and Bilukidi all being drafted, the total number of Canadians selected in the modern NFL draft is 22. Two Canadians were selected in each of the 2011, 2009, 2005, 2003, 1992 and 1986 drafts.
Complete list of Canadians in the NFL Draft (all-time):
Tyrone Crawford – 3rd round Cowboys 2012
Akiem Hicks – 3rd round Saints 2012
Philip Blake – 4th round Broncos 2012
Christo Bilukidi – 6th round Raiders 2012
Danny Watkins – 1st round Eagles 2011
Orlando Franklin – 2nd round Broncos 2011
Vaughn Martin – 4th round Chargers 2009
Austin Collie (born in Hamilton) – 4th round 2009 Draft – Colts
Nick Kaczur – 3rd round 2005, Patriots
OJ Atogwe – 3rd round Rams 2005
Teyo Johnson (born in White Rock BC) – 2nd round 2003 Raiders (now plays in UFL)
Nate Burleson (born in Calgary) – 3rd round 2003 – Vikings
Jesse Palmer – 4th round Giants 2001
Jerome Pathon – 2nd round – 1998 Colts
OJ Santiago – -3rd round 1997 draft Falcons
Tim Biakabutuka – 1st Round 1996 Panthers
Tom Nutten – 1992 7th round Rams
Tyrone Williams – 1992 – 9th round — Phoenix
Tony Mandarich – 1989 – 1st round – Green Bay
Mike Schad – 1st round 1986 Rams
Rueben Mayes — 3rd round 1986 Saints
Chris Schultz – 7th round 1983 Cowboys