Concordia Stinger offensive tackle Maurice Simba and defensive tackle Michael Sanelli moved one step closer to fulfilling their dreams of playing professional football when their names were called in the CFL draft on Thursday night.
Simba was selected 29th overall by the Toronto Argonauts and immediately received a phone call from general manager Jim Popp who welcomed him to the organization.
Sanelli was picked 39th overall by the Montreal Alouettes. The Toronto native wrapped up his fourth season of U SPORTS football with a dominant performance. In seven games he had 13 tackles, including 8.5 behind the line of scrimmage. He recorded 5.5 sacks, forced two turnovers and recovered a fumble.
Despite the great numbers, the six-foot-two, 280-pound lineman had a challenging journey. When the CFL announced its list of prospects for the national combine, Sanelli did not receive an invitation. He had to participate in a regional showcase in Toronto where he was one of four players who stood out and he was invited to the national camp at the last minute. At the main camp he impressed the CFL scouts with his athletic ability and his dominating performance in one-on-one drills.
Simba’s journey has been well-documented. The six-foot-eight, 335-pound native of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been on the CFL radar for a long time. He earned his second consecutive RSEQ all-star honour last season. In 2017 he was a second team U SPORTS all-Canadian. He also participated in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in January of 2019. He was on the first offensive team and was named a captain of the all-star team.
NFL teams also expressed interest in the big tackle. He accepted an invitation to participate in the Kansas City Chiefs rookie minicamp that takes place this weekend.
Kansas City holds a full rookie camp beginning May 12. Simba will find out early next week if he will be invited back to the second camp.
The CFL teams open their rookie camps on May 15.