Thursday, April 29, 2010

Draft Strategery

The 2010 CFL Draft is almost upon us and before I get into how I see the draft playing out, I have to ask once again that you read the following disclaimer regarding my thoughts on the draft…

The Rider Prophet is not, nor does he pretend to be, a scout or anything resembling someone that can tangibly evaluate football skill. He is merely an opinionated bigot who feels as though he can predict the future based on his highly biased view of Canadian Football and life in general. Any thoughts or predictions contained in the following may not actually be based on anything factual and are a product of the 15 minutes Prophet spent following the CIS this past season. Rider Prophet Media is not responsible for any falsehoods, fabrications, fairytales or outright libel contained herein. Furthermore, Rider Prophet Media is not responsible for any injuries, sexually transmitted diseases or spontaneous combustion that results from reading this material.

Now that we’ve got that cleared up here’s a team by team breakdown in terms of Canadian talent heading into the draft.

First Pick:
2nd Overall (Round 1)
# of Picks: 4
Solid Canadian talent across the board most of which is still fairly young. The best group of Canadian receivers in the league, a bona-fide starting CB (along with 2 capable back-ups) and an O-line featuring talent both young and old.
We currently only have 2 NI LBs. Mike McCullough is getting up there and Aaron Wagner was such a good linebacker that we converted him to a FB, so obviously priority #1 is linebackers. Riders likely have their eyes set on landing one (or both) of Cory Greenwood and Shomari Williams. Though not an imminent need, we could also use another defensive tackle and there are 2 promising DT prospects in this draft (Buckle, Steele). Given how solid the Riders NI talent is, expect them to use one of their 1st rounders on a player with a year of college eligibility left (such as Bulcke or even Danny Watkins).


First Pick:
1st Overall (Round 1)
# of Picks: 9
I was shocked to find out that the Argos (a team who is notorious for not placing any importance on the NI talent) have 35 Canadians on their roster. But it is definitely a case of quantity over quality because next to none of them are any good. Drafting is clearly not Adam Rita’s strength (though I couldn’t tell you what his strength is).

Needs: The Argos defense wasn’t all that bad last year so they should focus on the offensive side of the ball this draft. Also they need results now so they don’t have the luxury of using picks on players who can’t make an immediate impact. With 3 of the top 11 picks I’d look for them to take an OL like Joe Eppele, an impact receiver like Shawn Gore or the speedster Steven Turner (who could be used as a returner) and maybe a DL prospect to complement the #1 pick last year Etienne Legare. They are also rumoured to be interested in Rob Maver.


First Pick:
7th Overall (Round 1)
# of Picks: 4
Strengths: Doug Brown and Brendan Labatte are among the tops at their respective positions… but it gets pretty shaky after that.
Doug Brown can’t play forever so they should be looking to bring in an understudy. Should also probably be looking for an LB and an impact receiver… not just the glorified route runners they currently have. We’ll see if LaPo learned anything about the value of Canadian talent while he was here. But with only 1 pick in the first 3 rounds, he’ll pretty much have to be content with his current Canadians (something I’m sure he curses on a daily basis).


First Pick:
3rd Overall (Round 1)
# of Picks: 9
What was once among the best group of Canadians has been steadily dwindling. Big names like Paris Jackson, Brent Johnson and Angus Reid are still there and they have added Sanchez but they are all getting older and the cast around them is definitely not stepping up. They have a couple promising RBs in Lee and Harris, and a great special teamer in Araki.

Needs: They are extremely thin at LB so I expect them to try and use their 3rd overall pick on whichever LB the Riders don’t take at #2. Also, if they are planning on starting the newly acquired Davis Sanchez, they should be in the market for a NI corner to back him up (a guy like Taurean Allen comes to mind). They could also use another receiver since O’Neil Wilson is getting any younger… or less useless.

First Pick:
10th Overall (Round 2)
# of Picks: 5
Strengths: None really. Part of that has to do with not having a first round pick since 2007… and using that ’07 first rounder to draft a kicker (Maciocia you genius). Outside of Prefontaine all they really have is a collection of marginal at best Canadians (Gordon, Glatt, Norwacki etc) and a couple players that could be really good… if they weren’t a fulltime member of the injured reserve (Lumsden, Braidwood).
They only have 7 NI O-linemen under contract so they should probably think about drafting a couple of those. They should also be looking to nab a D-linemen to fill in for the 17 games Braidwood won’t play as well as maybe a DB.

First Pick:
13th Overall (Round 2)
# of Picks: 3
With Stala, Bauman, Carter and Nicholson they have a pretty solid group of receivers (high in potential though largely unproven). Barker and Beveridge have them fairly solid at safety. They gave up this year’s 1st rounder to take Zac Carlson in last year’s supplemental draft and also took Simeon Rottier #1 in the regular draft so I don’t see them going after another OL.
The signing of DeAngeles leaves them in need of a punter. Outside of safety they are also somewhat thin in terms of Canadian defenders. Problem is they only have 3 picks (only 1 of which is in the top 25) so their options are fairly limited. I could see them taking a DL or LB with their 2nd rounder and hoping to land a punter like Chris Bodnar or Grant Shaw in the 4th round.

First Pick:
6th Overall (Round 1)
# of Picks: 6
They have fairly solid NI talent on offense. Good receivers, a couple good RBs and a pretty solid O-line (well at least they used to have one).
Offseason departures have left some big holes. Losing the league’s most accurate (and annoying) kicker is something that will require immediate attention. Also, the O-line may be good but they are also getting old and losing depth. Tsoumpas’ departure and Pilon’s retirement really compound that problem. Thus O-line and placekicking are priority #1. They are very interested in Rob Maver, the question becomes are they desperate enough to use a 1st rounder on him. History has shown it to be overspending to use a 1st rounder on a kicker but with Hamilton in need of a punter (and the rumoured interest of the Argos’ in Maver) it may force the Stamps hand. If they decide to hold off and try for Maver in the 2nd round then they will probably draft an OL in the first round.

First Pick:
8th Overall (Round 1)
# of Picks: 7
Along with the Riders they are the cream of the crop in terms of NI talent. They field an all Canadian OL which is among the best in the league, Cahoon is still playing at a high level, Proulx and Boulay leave them solid at safety, they play a young Canadian at MLB, they don’t have any immediate needs.
Succession planning. Though it doesn’t look like it right now, at some point elite talents like Chui, Flory and Cahoon will pack it in (likely as part of a mass exodus led by Calvillo). Though they have a couple young OLs they will need some more to maintain their all Canadian line. Also, they do not have any good receivers to back up Cahoon and are thin at LB so they will be looking to address both of those. Als are in a position to draft the best player available… and as always will be required to draft a least a couple French players lest they be accused of being traitors.

Anyway, enough
rambling, here’s how I see the first couple rounds going down…

Round 1
1 –
Toronto LB Shomari Williams
2 –
Saskatchewan LB Cory Greewood
3 –
BC OL Joe Eppele
4 –
Saskatchewan DL Brian Bulcke
5 –
Hamilton – Forfeited
6 –
Calgary – K Rob Maver
7 –
Winnipeg DL Eddie Steele

8 – Montreal OL Danny Watkins

Round 2

1 – Toronto – OL John Bender

2 – Edmonton – DL Chima Ihekwoaba

3 – BC – DB Taurean Allen

4 – Toronto – WR Steve Turner

5 – Hamilton – LB Joash Gesse

6 – Calgary – OL Joel Reinders

7 – Montreal – WR Shawn Gore

8 – Montreal – DL Bruno Lapointe

Don’t forget to tune in Sundayfor my
3rd Annual Live Draft Day Blogging.

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