2023 CFL All-Star Team: Chad Kelly leads the way as CFL's highest-graded player

2T1NDYE Toronto Argonauts quarterback Chad Kelly (12) runs the ball under pressure from Ottawa Redblacks defensive lineman Bryce Carter (58) during the first half of a Canadian Football League game Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in Toronto. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press via AP)

• QB Chad Kelly, Toronto Argonauts: Kelly finished the season as the highest-graded player in the CFL (91.8 overall) while leading his Argos to a league-best 16-2 record. The quarterback had a 7.7% big-time throw rate (second-best in the league) and a 3.7% turnover-worthy throw rate (third-best).

• WR Dalton Schoen, Winnipeg Blue Bombers: He led the league with 38 explosive receptions, ranked second with 2.36 yards per route run, and a ridiculous 57 of his 71 catches went for either first downs or touchdowns.  

• EDGE Mathieu Betts, British Columbia Lions: Betts had one of the best pass-rushing seasons of all time in 2023. He finished with 19 sacks and a ridiculous 83 total pressures. His 19.4% pass rush win rate was more than 2.0% higher than the second-best rate.

Estimated reading time: 13 minutes

WR:CB Matchup Chart


QB: Chad Kelly, Toronto Argonauts

Second Team: Vernon Adams Jr., British Columbia Lions

Kelly finished the season as the highest-graded player in the CFL (91.8 overall) while leading his Argos to a league-best 16-2 record. The quarterback had a 7.7% big-time throw rate (second-best in the league) and a 3.7% turnover-worthy throw rate (third-best). On top of having the highest passing grade at 90.7, he ranked fourth among starting QBs in rushing grade (80.2) and recorded the second-most rushing touchdowns with eight. 

RB: Brady Oliveira, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Second Team: A.J. Ouellette, Toronto Argonauts

The Canadian running back took a massive step forward in his second season as Winnipeg's No. 1 running back and led all CFL RBs with a 90.0 season grade.  Oliveira had 37 explosive runs (second most in the league) and led the league with 847 yards after contact. One of the most impressive stats about Oliveira is that he had only 18 carries all season where he ran for a loss or no gain, good for a 6.9% stuff rate. He was the only running back in the league with a stuff rate lower than 10% despite leading the league in attempts. 

Outside WR: Kenny Lawler, Winnipeg Blue Bombers 

Second Team: Alexander Hollins, British Columbia Lions

Lawler didn’t play his first game until Week 7, and he still almost cracked 1,000 yards on the season. Lawler had a 5.4% drop rate and made 10 contested catches this season, which was the sixth-most in the league. He led the league with an 18.2-yard average depth of target, which is a big reason why his 2.69 yards per route run also led the league.  

Slot WR: Dalton Schoen, Winnipeg Blue Bombers 

Second Team: Nic Demski, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

For the second time in as many seasons, Schoen was the highest-graded receiver in Canadian football at (82.5 receiving grade). It wasn’t quite the dominant season of 2022, but Schoen was still near the top of the league in almost every receiving category. He led the league with 38 explosive receptions, ranked second with 2.36 yards per route run, and a ridiculous 57 of his 71 catches went for either first downs or touchdowns.  

Slot WR: Keon Hatcher, British Columbia Lions 

Second Team: DaVaris Daniels, Toronto Argonauts

Hatcher broke out last season, and he continued that rise to elite receiver status this year. He was the CFL's only other receiver aside from Schoen to post a receiving grade above 80 (80.3). His 61 first downs or touchdowns gained led the league. He averaged 2.26 yards per route run, which was tied for third-most in the league. More than anything, he was a contested catch machine, coming down with a league-high 15 contested catches.  

Slot WR: Reggie Begelton, Calgary Stampeders 

Second Team: Tim White, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Begelton was one of the most consistent receivers in the CFL this past season. He had one of the lowest drop rates in the CFL at 4.1% despite seeing the second-most catchable targets in the league. He forced 18 missed tackles after the catch, the third-most in the league. Most impressively, Calgary QB Jake Maier had a 110.2 QB rating when targeting Begelton, and a 78.5 rating when targeting anyone else on the team. 

Outside WR: Austin Mack, Montreal Alouettes

Second Team: Eugene Lewis, Edmonton Elks

If he was eligible, Mack surely would’ve been one of the favorites for Most Outstanding Rookie after the season he had for Montreal. He averaged 2.11 yards per route run, one of the highest marks in the league. He forced 15 missed tackles and gained an impressive 228 yards after first contact. Whether it was catching screen passes or going deep, Mack was one of only a few receivers in the CFL that was frequently used at all levels. 

LT: Nick Callender, Montreal Alouettes

Second Team: Jarell Broxton, British Columbia Lions

Callender was the top left tackle in the league this season, showcasing a great display of both run and pass blocking. He was beaten on just 7.5% of his pass-blocking snaps, one of the best marks among left tackles in the CFL. Callender was one of just four offensive linemen in the CFL to grade above 70.0 in both run blocking and pass blocking. 

LG: Brandon Revenberg, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Second Team: Pier-Olivier Lestage, Montreal Alouettes

The honor of the highest-graded offensive lineman goes to Revenberg after his fantastic season. His 78.1 run-blocking grade ranked second in the league among all OL, as did his 16.0% impact run block rate. In the passing game, Revenberg allowed pressure on just 3.3% of his pass-blocking snaps, the fifth-best percentage in the league. 

C: Peter Godber, Saskatchewan Roughriders

Second Team: Chris Kolankowski, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Godber missed a chunk of time early in the season due to injury, but that didn’t slow him down. When he played, he was one of the best pass blockers in the entire league. Godber allowed pressure on just 1.9% of his pass-blocking snaps, the lowest mark among all offensive linemen in the CFL. He was no slouch in the run game either, finishing the year with the second-highest run-blocking grade among centers.  

RG: Peter Nicastro, Toronto Argonauts

Second Team: Kristian Matte, Montreal Alouettes

Nicastro was the best run-blocking right guard in the CFL this season, and it wasn’t particularly close. His 73.5 run-blocking grade ranked led all RGs, the next highest came in at 66.3. Nicastro was also more than effective as a pass blocker. He allowed just one sack and 20 total pressures all season, good for a 3.7% pressure rate.

RT: Dejon Allen, Toronto Argonauts

Second Team: Jermarcus Hardrick, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

This was a close call but, in the end, Allen’s pass blocking put him over the top. While his run blocking wasn’t bad by any stretch (he had the fourth-highest run blocking grade among right tackles), he was elite as a pass protector. Allen allowed two sacks and just 14 total pressures all season. He was only beaten on 5.5% of all his pass-blocking snaps, the best mark among all tackles in the CFL. 


DI: Mustafa Johnson, Montreal Alouettes

Second Team: Woody Baron, British Columbia Lions

This was a breakout season for Johnson, and it was as impressive as any. Johnson finished with the third-highest run defense grade of any defensive lineman and made an impressive 18 solo run stops. But as a pass-rusher, he was even better. His 89.0 pass-rush grade ranked second among all defenders, and his 64 total pressures were fifth-most in the league. 

DI: Casey Sayles, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Second Team: Mike Rose, Calgary Stampeders

While Sayles may lack the pressure totals of some of his interior defender companions, he made up for it by batting down seven passes (only Winnipeg’s Willie Jefferson had more). That’s an incredibly impressive number for an interior defensive lineman and a big factor in why he had an 83.1 pass-rush grade, sixth-best in the CFL. He also added in 23 solo run stops, third most in the league at any position. 

Edge: Mathieu Betts, British Columbia Lions

Second Team: Julian Howsare, Calgary Stampeders

This one is fairly obvious. Betts had one of the best pass-rushing seasons of all time in 2023. He finished with 19 sacks and a ridiculous 83 total pressures. His 19.4% pass rush win rate was more than 2.0% higher than the second-best rate. It’s no surprise he had the league’s best pass rush grade at 90.2. It didn’t matter that he wasn’t a phenomenal run defender, his pass-rushing more than made up for any deficit there. 

Edge: Folarin Orimolade, Toronto Argonauts

Second Team: Jake Ceresna, Edmonton Elks

Similar to Betts, Orimolade wasn’t much of a run defender this season. But that didn’t matter much because of how good he was as a pass-rusher. Orimolade had an 85.2 pass-rush grade thanks to 66 total pressure and a 16.1% pass-rush win rate. All of those numbers ranked either second or third in the CFL this season. 

ILB: Cameron Judge, Calgary Stampeders

Second Team: Tyrice Beverette, Montreal Alouettes

Judge wasn’t a spectacular run-stopper this season, and he was good but not great as an occasional pass-rusher. But his coverage was absolutely elite, especially for a non-Sam linebacker. Judge allowed 42 catches in coverage but only 17 of those went for first downs. He had five interceptions and four other pass breakups. His 15 solo stops in coverage led the league at any position, and his 58.0 passer rating allowed was the best among linebackers.  

ILB: Wynton McManis, Toronto Argonauts

Second Team: Kyrie Wilson, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

One of the best all-around linebackers for yet another year, McManis had a fantastic 2023 season. The Argonaut had the third-highest season grade among all linebackers at 73.9. His run defense was solid, as he made 17 solo run stops and 53 total tackles in the run game. He also added 29 total pressures when rushing the passer. In coverage he was even better, scoring almost as many touchdowns on pick-sixes (two) as he allowed in coverage (three). 

Sam LB: Adarius Pickett, Toronto Argonauts

Second Team: Loucheiz Purifoy, Edmonton Elks

Pickett was the preseason pick for Sam LB All-Star, and everything he did this season proved that he deserved that. His 78.9 season grade was the highest among all linebackers, and he was the only linebacker to post a grade above 70 in all three phases of defense. He had an impressive 11.9% pass rush win rate and made 14 solo stops in coverage. His 80.9 run defense grade was one of the highest marks for any player in the CFL. 

CB: Richard Leonard, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Second Team: Qwan’tez Stiggers, Toronto Argonauts

What Richard Leonard did this year deserves the highest praise. Switching from halfback to outside corner is no easy feat and yet, Leonard made it look simple. The undersized defender finished with the fourth-highest coverage grade in the CFL at 89.3. He didn’t allow a touchdown all year and had a 17.9% forced incompletion rate, the third-highest in the league. Leonard also had an 81.4 run defense grade, a very impressive grade for an outside corner.  

CB: Garry Peters, British Columbia Lions

Second Team: Jamal Peters, Toronto Argonauts

Peters was the most targeted defensive back in the league in 2023, but perhaps quarterbacks should have tried elsewhere. Peters didn’t allow a touchdown in coverage and forced 12 incompletions to go along with his four interceptions. Quarterbacks had a 55.0 rating when targeting him, one of the best marks in the CFL. His 88.7 coverage grade was second only to Leonard among outside corners, and he allowed just 6.6 yards per coverage target.   

HB: Reggie Stubblefield, Montreal Alouettes

Second Team: Kobe Williams, Calgary Stampeders

The first of two rookies to earn first team honors at defensive halfback is Stubblefield. The Alouette was phenomenal any way you slice it this season. He allowed just 14 catches all season and a mere seven of those were for first downs. He didn’t allow a touchdown and had a ridiculous 27.8% forced incompletion rate, the highest in the CFL. Quarterbacks would have been better off just throwing it away every time rather than targeting Stubblefield, as they had an absurdly low 29.7 QB rating when they did. 

HB: Mason Pierce, Toronto Argonauts

Second Team: Robertson Daniel, Toronto Argonauts

Pierce only played half the season for the Argonauts, but his play was so strong in those nine games that he left no doubt that he deserved this spot. Pierce had the highest coverage grade of any player in the CFL at 90.8 on the season. He had three interceptions and forced incompletions on 19.4% of his targets, the second-best mark in the league. He allowed just a mere 0.68 yards per coverage snap. Pierce also recorded an impressive seven pressures on just 30 pass rush snaps. 

S: Marc-Antoine Dequoy, Montreal Alouettes

Second Team: Quincy Mauger, British Columbia Lions

The honor of highest-graded defender in the CFL for the 2023 season belongs to the Montreal safety. Dequoy finishes the year with a 90.5 season grade, thanks in large part to his impressive league-leading 90.8 coverage grade. Dequoy allowed just one touchdown and 10 first downs all year while picking off five passes (returning two for touchdowns) and forcing three fumbles. Those eight turnovers forced were the most in the league. Dequoy allowed a 43.9 QB rating when targeted, and his 22.7% first down/touchdown allowed rate was the best among all safeties. 


K: Sean Whyte, British Columbia Lions

Second Team: René Paredes, Calgary Stampeders 

It was a historic season for Whyte, as he finished with the fourth most accurate kicking season in CFL history. He nailed 50-of-53 field goals, including going a perfect 25-of-25 on any kick under 40 yards. For good measure, he also missed just one extra point. After this season Whyte is now 87.8% on field goals for his career, which makes him the second most accurate kicker of all time. 

P: Cody Grace, Calgary Stampeders

Second Team: Joseph Zema, Montreal Alouettes

One of the easier positions to rank, Grace was the obvious choice for the top punter in the CFL this season. The Australian led the CFL in punts inside the 20-yard line with 38 and had the highest average hang time on his punts at 4.29 seconds. It’s no surprise that his 92.6 punting grade led the league.

KR: Tyreik McAllister, Hamilton Tiger-Cats 

Second Team: Chandler Worthy, Montreal Alouettes

McAllister burst onto the scene as a weapon for the Tiger-Cats and his kickoff return abilities were a big part of that. He led the league with his 91.0 kick return grade thanks, in part, to his 15 forced missed tackles on those returns. His 25.4 yards per return led the league among qualified returners. 

PR: Javon Leake, Toronto Argonauts

Second Team: Janarion Grant, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

This was the easiest position to give out. Leake was an absolute game-changer for the Argonauts this season. He forced a league-high 44 missed tackles on his returns and averaged 13.5 yards per return. Then of course there were his league-leading four punt return touchdowns. 

Special Teams: Carthell Flowers-Lloyd, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Second Team: Tyrice Beverette, Montreal Alouettes

Flowers-Lloyd was another easy choice for the special teamer of the year spot. Only one player in the CFL played more special teams snaps than him, and Flowers-Lloyd led the league with 30 special teams tackles. He also blocked a punt and is the biggest reason that Hamilton has one of the lowest return yards allowed per attempt number in the league. 

Long Snapper: Tanner Doll, Ottawa Redblacks

Second Team: Jorgen Hus, Saskatchewan Roughriders

Doll was the most accurate snapper in the CFL this season, with an accuracy rate of 90.7% on punt snaps and 97.4% on field goal snaps. He also made six solo tackles in punt coverage, the second most among all long snappers. 


Unlock the 2023 Fantasy Draft Kit, with League Sync, Live Draft Assistant, PFF Grades & Data Platform that powers all 32 Pro Teams

$31 Draft Kit Fee + $8.99/mo
$89.88/yr + FREE Draft Kit