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Last year, offensive linemen Danny Watkins of Kelowna, B.C., and Orlando Franklin of Toronto made history as the top pair of Canadians selected in a single draft. This year a new crop of Canadians have their hopes set on making the NFL. AP File Photo/Dave Martin (Dave Martin/AP)
Last year, offensive linemen Danny Watkins of Kelowna, B.C., and Orlando Franklin of Toronto made history as the top pair of Canadians selected in a single draft. This year a new crop of Canadians have their hopes set on making the NFL. AP File Photo/Dave Martin (Dave Martin/AP)

Canadians could make mark in NFL draft Add to ...

Several men wait this week, wondering if their names will be added to the elite list of Canadians selected in an NFL draft.

Last year, offensive linemen Danny Watkins of Kelowna, B.C., and Orlando Franklin of Toronto made history as the top pair of Canadians selected in a single draft. Watkins was chosen 23rd overall by the Philadelphia Eagles; Franklin 46th by the Denver Broncos.

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(Fellow O-lineman Tony Mandarich of Oakville, Ont., remains the top individual Canadian draft pick, going No. 2 overall in 1989.)

In the past 30 NFL drafts, only 18 Canadians have been chosen.

The three-day 2012 event kicks off Thursday in New York.

Here is a list of Canadians who have garnered football scouts' attention this year:

Philip Blake

Baylor University

This 6-foot-3, 320-pound centre was a former linemate of Watkins, and protected quarterback Robert Griffin III during his Heisman Trophy-winning campaign in 2011. The Toronto native didn't start football until his last year of high school, so in order to get the attention of U.S. college scouts, he put in two seasons at Champlain College Lennoxville in Sherbrooke. He is expected to be selected in the second or third round. Some call him the No. 2 centre available. The Montreal Alouettes hold his CFL rights.

Tyrone Crawford

Boise State University

This 6-foot-4, 275-pound pass-rush specialist hails from Windsor, Ont., and landed at Boise State after two seasons at Bakersfield (Calif.) Community College. He recorded 13 1/2 tackles for loss last season, and impressed many at both the East-West Shrine Game and NFL Combine. He is projected to go in the third to fifth round. Crawford is also the top-ranked prospect for the CFL draft on May 3.

Austin Pasztor

University of Virginia

Langton, Ont., native moved south to play his senior high-school season at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia, after its coach noticed him in an exhibition game. Pasztor was a four-year starter in college. In 2011, he was second-team all-America after anchoring an offensive line that set up 1,984 rushing yards. The 6-foot-7, 306-pounder is projected as a possible late-round pick, but is the No. 4 prospect in the CFL draft.

Christo Bilukidi

Georgia State University

At 6-foot-5, 290 pounds, Bilukidi played both defensive end and tackle. He is projected as a free-agent signing rather than a draft pick and has already worked out for a few NFL teams. He was born in Angola, and his father is an Angolan diplomat. Bilukidi headed to Eastern Arizona Junior College after showing promise in just one year of high-school football in Ottawa. No. 6 on the CFL prospects list.

Ameet Pall

Wofford University

Before Wofford, the Montreal product went to Vanier College, the same English-language CEGEP as Tim Biakabutuka, the former Carolina Panthers running back. At 5 foot 10 and 243 pounds, Pall is known as hard-working yet undersized defensive lineman/linebacker, and is projected as a likely free-agent signing. He is the No. 7-rated CFL prospect.

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