Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Round-Up: Assessing the Draft

The 2012 CFL Draft is in the books. Big thanks to those of you who joined in yesterday’s Live Draft Day Blogging. Despite the questionable timing of the draft, this year’s live chat set new records for views and participation… which shocked the hell out of me. I assumed it would be 2+ hours of me talking to myself. Turns out it was also one of the most entertaining ones I’ve done.

Before I get into assessing the Riders’ picks, I want to announce the winner of the First Annual Rider Prophet CFL Draft Contest. Thanks to the unpredictable nature of the draft a whopping 3 correct picks out of 10 was good enough to win it all and JamJam (if that is his real name) was the person to accomplish it. I’ll be contacting him by email to sort out prize details. Thanks to all who participated.

Now onto football…

Right after a draft, every GM will brag about how well they did in the draft… well not the Argos because their draft strategy this year was so ridiculous that they would have been better off just letting a monkey do it. The Als also shouldn’t brag too much since for the second year in a row they used their first pick on someone they could have gotten 2-3 rounds later (but he was French so fans will be okay with the move). But generally, every GM will brag. The truth is no one can say for sure how good their draft was until the players actually start doing something.  Such is the case for the Riders. Here are my thoughts on our picks.

Ben Heenan – I was very vocal in my opposition to Heenan, not because I think he is a bad player but because we are 4 years away from needing a guard. But in the end it was a case of him being too good to pass on regardless of need. We didn’t get the ransom we asked for to trade the pick and it’s not like there was another sure thing worth the #1 pick. So pretty much by default we took Heenan.

I still think we could have done a better job of addressing actual needs with this pick but it’s not like a stud lineman is ever a bad pick. Barring injury or a conversion to tackle, Heenan will be forming a nice ass groove in the bench for the foreseeable future but long term I can see this pick reaping dividends… especially if Heenan turns out to be half the player he has been hyped up to be.

Sam Hurl – This pick surprised me, as did our move to trade up to get him. I do like that it addresses an actual need on this team. Old man McCullough can’t have too much more left in him and after that all we had was the recently converted Shomari and a longsnapper. Hurl also seems like a solid LB prospect so that was good.

As seems to be a theme with Taman, the price here was concerning. We gave up a 3rd rounder and a 2nd next year to get him and a 5th.  On the surface that seems steep to me but I guess it depends on if Hurl pans out.  Let me put it this way…

Would you give up a 3rd and next year’s 2nd to draft Craig Butler? Probably would

Would you give up a 3rd and next year’s 2nd for Matt O’Donnell or Tamon George? Not unless you had an acquired brain injury.

So it remains to be seem whether Taman paid a fair price for a solid Cdn prospect or just pissed away another in the endless cycle of draft picks he has left in his wake over his career.

Kevin Regimbald-Gagne – This pick came out of nowhere for me but that is hardly surprising since I spent more time in the gym than I did following college football this year (and those that know me can attest to how little I see the inside of a gym). Again I like that it addresses the lack of depth we have at Cdn LB. And really, for a 5th rounder what do you really expect? He may pan out, he may not. It’s at least nice to see that there will be some semblance of competition at camp (novel concept).

The fact that we took 2 Cdn LBs did make me wonder though… we recently converted Shomari back to LB, have McCullough who has started in the past and now 2 young prospects.  Makes me think that Taman/Chamblin are seriously considering the possibility of starting Cdn LB if not this year, for sure next.

Ismael Bamba – This one still shocks me… and many others around the league. Bamba was consistently a top 15 prospect. And while I know those rankings are about as accurate as a Michael Bishop passing attempt, it’s rare that one of those top guys drops this low… without being an NFL draft pick (and even those guys tend to go higher).

Bamba instantly becomes to most hyped Rider 6th rounder since Teale Orban (let’s just hope it turns out better). I’m pumped we got him because at best he’s a speedy Cdn that can hopefully contend for a back-up spot (and in the process rid us once and for all of Jordan Sisco) at worst he’s a 6 round pick who we’d expect nothing of anyway. It’s win-win.

The skeptic in me though wonders what is up with Bamba?? I mean he was among the top receiving prospects in the draft but fell behind such household names as Quincy Hurst and Bo “don’t call me Darron” Palmer. Taman even talks about how surprised he was to see him fall this far but even Taman passed on him in Round 5 so obviously he couldn’t have been shocked Bamba landed to us in the 6th or he would have pulled the trigger sooner. Obviously something was up that plummeted his stock… I mean besides being cursed with the dreaded Rider Prophet endorsement.

I’d say overall the Riders did an okay job of drafting this year.  It still concerns that we refuse to do anything to address the complete and utter lack of depth behind Shologan… especially in a draft that was deep in DL prospects. Also think we have a need to increase our depth at DB… or at least bring in some competition so Graig Newman doesn’t become Butler’s back-up purely by default. But we did address some needs and I do like some of the prospects so that’s at least a start.

1 comment:

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