Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Thoughts On The Draft

Well the CFL Draft went down yesterday. Thanks to those of you who took part. In the words of Media Consultant I would congratulate myself on a job done.

Let’s get down to analysing how the Riders faired.
-          The Riders started the day by trading their 1st rounder to the Argos for a 2nd and 4th round pick. They were likely waiting to see if one of the top receivers would fall to 7th and when they didn’t they traded down.
-          In the 2nd round they drafted DB Craig Butler (no relation to Rocky) and OL Matt O’Donnell. Butler is seen as someone who can step in immediately and help out on special teams as well as likely back up at safety. It’s not a pick that jumps of the page at you but it fills a need and should have an immediate impact which at the end of the day is what you want out of your top pick. As for O’Donnell he might take a bit longer to make an impact but the potential to insert a 6’10 Canadian giant into your OL may be worth waiting for. His footwork and technique will need work but size like that can’t be taught. It remains to be seen whether he can hold his own at tackle in the big leagues or whether (like Patrick Kabongo) he’ll need to shifted inside.
-          We had no third rounds picks because we traded the 2 we had in order to get Michael Bishop and Prechae Rodriguez. The sad thing about that is I can’t even say it seemed like a good idea at the time.
-          In the 4th we took another OL, Alexander Kransnick- Groh (who is going to need a nickname if he plans on sticking around since saying and typing his name is far too complicated).He’s not the physical specimen that O’Donnell is but he’s played centre and has long snapped and that’s about as much as you can expect from a 4th round OL pick.
-          We also grabbed kicker Christopher Milo which is a great use of a 4th round pick. If Milo has a good camp he very well could end up being our place kicker until Congi is healthy. Apparently he hit a 58 yarded during a workout with the Riders and that alone places him ahead of Keane on the depth chart.
-          In the 6th round we picked up RB Kyle Exume. At first glance I wasn’t really sure we needed another Cdn RB but according to Coach Marshall he is an outstanding special teams player and lord knows we could use all the help we can get there. That said I don’t expect a 6th rounder to crack our roster.
-          We traded the 2nd last pick in the draft to Edmonton for FB Graeme Bell. Again a move likely aimed at shoring up our special teams. This will make things interesting though since at least 2 of Szarka, Hughes, Bell, Foord and Exume will not make the roster.

All and all I’d say the Riders had a good draft. We didn’t need to make the high profile picks in order to fill our needs. At least it was more entertaining than in 2009 when it was Tamon George, Nick Hutchins and that’s a wrap within 10 minutes.

Other random thoughts on the draft:
-          This was the year of the trade. Over half the picks in the draft traded hands at least once.
-          I apparently jumped to conclusions too early about the mental stability of Wally Buono. I openly questioned his sanity for taking yet another kicker in the draft. Well it turns out he had already cut a deal to trade Sean Whyte to Montreal for a 1st round pick in 2012 so taking Hugh O’Neil was a good choice for him.
-          It does make me question Jim Popp’s sanity though. Trading for Whyte was an okay move since the only kicker they currently have is American. But they also used this year’s first rounder on a kicker, Brody McKnight. McKnight has a year of college left and is said to be good enough to maybe be an NFL kickoff specialist. So Popp used 2 first round picks on 2 kickers, one of which he might never see. That’s bordering on Maccioccia crazy.
-          While we are on the topic of Sean Whyte I feel the need to speak out about the praise being heaped towards Buono and Whyte for spending so many years developing him. We are talking about kickers, at this level either you have it or you don’t. Luca Congi and Rob Maver walked on day 1 and played like pros. You should not need the better part of a decade to groom a kicker, nor should anyone be praised for doing so. Shit or get off the pot.

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