The CFL season will end Sunday night with the Grey Cup between the Ottawa Redblacks and the Calgary Stampeders (6:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2), drawing the curtain on football north of the border until next summer. Most players will return home, set to begin training for 2017 or work offseason jobs or both.
A few, however, will make a run at jumping to the NFL. They'll follow the dreams that made players such as Warren Moon, Joe Horn and Cameron Wake into pro football stars in the United States.
More often, their efforts will fall short. More than a dozen CFL players signed free-agent contracts with NFL teams last spring, and the most prominent have been cornerbacks Erik Harris (New Orleans Saints) and Josh Johnson (Jacksonville Jaguars). Each has appeared in four games this season. (Receiver Eric Rogers, for whom the San Francisco 49ers had high hopes, tore an ACL in August.)
Who could be on the NFL radar this spring? What follows are 10 names to keep in mind, knowing that contract issues might need to be resolved in some cases. The list was compiled from a variety of NFL and CFL sources.
Receiver Derel Walker, Edmonton Eskimos
2016 CFL stats: 109 receptions, 1,589 yards, 10 touchdowns in 18 games
College: Texas A&M
Walker, 25, played with Johnny Manziel for the Aggies, but his 40-yard dash time of 4.65 didn't impress many scouts. The Tennessee Titans cut him during their 2014 training camp, and he was left to sign a practice-squad contract in the CFL. Since he got a chance, however, he has become one of the CFL's most productive receivers the past two seasons. At 6 feet 2 he has enough height, ball skills and route-running ability -- and now strong tape -- to merit a second look.
Tight end Antony Auclair, Universite' Laval
2016 CIS stats: 17 receptions, 229 yards, two touchdowns in eight games
It's rare for a Canadian college player to jump straight to the NFL, but Auclair, 23, has all of the specs to draw interest. At 6-6 and 254 pounds, and with 4.84 speed, he certainly fits the part of an NFL tight end. A half-dozen NFL teams reportedly scouted Auclair in a recent playoff game, and it's possible he'll get a chance to try out this spring -- if he isn't drafted -- and skip the step of playing in the CFL altogether.
Wide receiver Bryan Burnham, BC Lions
2016 CFL stats: 79 receptions, 1,392 yards, three touchdowns in 18 games
Burnham, 26, played behind two better-known receivers, Emmanuel Arceneaux and Shawn Gore, but Burnham emerged as a highly productive -- if nontraditional, at 6-2 -- slot receiver in 2016. "He looked like somebody that was a step ahead of most of the people here," said Marshall Ferguson, a former quarterback at Canada's McMaster University and now a radio analyst for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Wide receiver DaVaris Daniels, Calgary Stampeders
2016 CFL stats: 51 receptions, 885 yards, nine touchdowns in 11 games
College: Notre Dame
After being waived by both the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots this summer, Daniels, 23, moved to the CFL and earned the outstanding rookie award. He carries some baggage following his departure from Notre Dame, but his season in Canada has proceeded without incident. "He's the kind of guy that if he has a crazy-great game in the Grey Cup, we may never see him again [in the CFL]," Ferguson said.
Offensive lineman Hunter Steward, BC Lions
2016 CFL stats: 18 starts
During three years in the CFL, the 6-6 Steward developed into a 315-pound specimen who could merit a look from a league that is desperate for offensive line depth. Steward, 24, is a Calgary native who certainly looks like an NFL lineman.
Offensive lineman Matt O'Donnell, Edmonton Eskimos
2016 CFL stats: 17 starts
College: Queens's (Canada)
O'Donnell, 27, is on this list in part because he is 6-11 -- 6-11! -- 350 pounds and, well, that would be fun. He has already gotten a few NFL looks, with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2012 and 2015, and once had a workout with the Boston Celtics. The CFL might be his best option, both financially and for playing time, but after five years in Canada he might merit another NFL glance.
Cornerback Emanuel Davis, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
2016 CFL stats: 55 tackles, five interceptions in 17 games
College: East Carolina
He has intercepted five passes in each of the past two seasons and did it this year despite two broken fingers. (He has since had surgery.) His interception total ranked No. 3 in the CFL this season. At age 27, he might be down to his final chance to break into the NFL.
Linebacker Deon Lacey, Edmonton Eskimos
2016 CFL stats: 87 tackles, three interceptions, one sack in 18 games
College: West Alabama
Lacey, 26, spent time in the Dallas Cowboys' training camp in 2013 before playing the past three seasons in Edmonton. He could be a good fit for an NFL team that needs to stock the special-teams end of its roster. He had six sacks in the 2015 season.
Defensive back Kevin Fogg, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
2016 CFL stats: 79 tackles, four interceptions, 14.2-yard average on punt returns
Fogg, 26, got some interest in 2014 from NFL teams enamored by his speed and return skills, spending time with both the Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers. But he has now put a season of defense on tape for scouts to see, even if it only relates to his adaptability to special teams, and could be more marketable now.
Receiver Terrence Toliver, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
2016 CFL stats: 65 receptions, 1,036 yards, nine touchdowns in 13 games
Toliver had five short stints with NFL teams between 2011 and 2015 but among other things is pretty skinny (203 pounds) for his 6-5 frame. Toliver is 28, so it's not clear how much bigger he'll get. But when given an opportunity over the past two seasons in the CFL, he has produced.