Tuesday, April 30, 2013

CFL Mock Draft 2013

Well here goes nothing...

Round 1
1 – Hamilton – DL Linden Gaydosh: With Gaydosh not getting an NFL offer so far this one becomes a no-brainer for the Ticats.
2 – Winnipeg – LB Mike Edem: Bombers are the toughest 1st round team to predict as this pick could go a lot of ways. Given Edem's versatility in being able to back up Henoc Muamba at LB and likely Cauchy Muamba at safety. My best guess is they go with Edem.
3 – Montreal (via Edm) – OL Matt Sewell: The Als are not in need of Sewell immediately but do need to ensure a future supply of Canadian tackles if they want to continue their much envied all-Canadian OL. Sewell’s NFL will not scare off Popp.
4 – Saskatchewan – DL Ben D’Aguilar: With Ricky Foley starting on DE, the Riders are in need of Cdn depth along the DL. Despite having 2 NFL tryouts lined up, D’Aguilar is worth the risk.
5 – Montreal – WR Seydou Junior-Haidara: With their 2nd first rounder of the day, the Als will address a position of need by taking the top receiving prospect in the draft who has the added bonus of being a local Laval product.
6 – BC – DL Ellie Ngoyi: Lions really want to give 2012 first rounder Jabar Westerman more playing time. That will require a Cdn back-up.  Ngoyi may not be the highest profile DL prospect but Buono has a keen eye for talent and Ngoyi’s immediate availability will entice him to pull the trigger.
7 – Calgary – DL Brent Urban: With no real pressing needs, the Stamps can afford to wait out Urban’s last year of college. 
8 – Toronto – OL Nolan McMillan: The Argos have a history of making high risk picks early on players who they rarely see for a couple years (if ever). McMillan is tremendous prospect at tackle. He has a year left of college but that won’t concern the Argos.
9 – Ottawa – OL Brander Craighead: With the franchise’s first ever pick, they will wisely look to starting stocking the shelves along the OL.

*** Two caveats on Round 1. #1 I know Ed Hervey would like to continue his aggressive streak and trade the Esks up into the 1st round. #2 I think BC would really like to land both an OL and a DL in round 1 (like they did last year). Buono has a history of making moves for multiple first rounders. Montreal and Toronto strike me as the most likely to trade back.

Round 2
10 – Edmonton (via Ham) – OL Brett Jones: The Eskimos OL was beyond abysmal last year so they should look to add the best available OL prospect with their first pick.
11 – Winnipeg – OL Matt Vonk: Given their choice to once again roll with the ever-fragile Buck Pierce, the Bombers will need to build up the line tasked with protecting him.
12 – BC (via Edm) – OL Cory Watman: Depth at the interior of the BC OL is pretty thin so Buono will target a reliable guard in Watman.
13 – Calgary (via Sask) – OL Matt Albright : The Stamps are one of those teams that believe you can never have too many OL. Albright’s stock has been on the rise.
14 – Montreal – OL Hunter Steward: The Als will continue stocking the future OL shelves by taking a promising redshirt junior in Steward.
15 – Hamilton (via Edm via BC) – LB CO Prime: Most teams will want to drop Prime’s stock due his deal with Indy but Hamilton has their shelves stocked from last year’s draftees that didn’t report and can afford to wait on one of the better LB prospects in the draft.
16 – Calgary  – DL John Miniaci: Stamps have a hole to fill with the departure of Bulcke and Miniaci is a good fit. 
17 – Toronto – DL Andy Mulumba: Toronto needs help on the D-line with all their offseason departures. They are willing to risk Mulumba's NFL interests.
18 – Ottawa – DL Connor Williams: After taking an OL in Round 1, the RedBlacks will look to start addressing the other side of the trenches.

Round 3
19 – Hamilton – OL Jakob Piotrowski
20 – Winnipeg – DL Stefan Charles
21 – BC (via Edm) – LB Nicolas Boulay
22 – Saskatchewan – OL Chris Mercer
23 – Montreal – DL Hosan Shahin
24 – Edmonton (via Ham via BC) – WR Yannick Morin-Plante
25 – Calgary  – WR Mike DiCroce 
26 – Toronto – OL Shane Bergman
27 – Ottawa – DL Kalonji Kashama

After round 3 its pretty much a crapshoot, so take this for what its worth

Round 4
28 – Calgary (via Ham) – OL Josh Pinsen
29 – Winnipeg – DB Jermaine Gabriel
30 – Montreal (via Edm) – LB Kyle Norris
31 – Edmonton (via Sask) – WR Steven Alli
32 – Montreal – DB Patrick Chenard
33 – BC – RB Steven Lumbala
34 – Calgary  – WR Natey Adjei
35 – Hamilton (via Tor) – DL Mike Clausen
36 – Ottawa –LB Bo Lokombo

Round 5
37 – Hamilton – DB Tolu Akinwumi
38 – Saskatchewan (via Win) – DB Cameron Wade
39 – Edmonton (via Sask via Edm) – DB Kris Robertson
40 – Edmonton (via Sask) – WR Simon LeMarquand
41 – Montreal – OL Robert Ravenberger
42 – BC – DB Michael Daly
43 – Hamilton (via Cal) – WR Chris Dobko
44 – Toronto – K Brett Lauther

Round 6
45 – Hamilton – DL Jesse Alexandre Bernier
46 – Winnipeg – FB Isaac Bell
47 – Montreal (via Edm) – OL Cam Redl
48 – Calgary (via Edm via Sask) – OL Kevin Croft
49 – Saskatchewan (via Edm via Mtl) – WR Nick Anapolsky
50 – BC – WR Alex Anthony
51 – Edmonton (via Cal) – OL Ryan White
44 – Toronto – LB Kareem Ba

Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Draft Pieces Falling Into Place

The CFL Draft is now just 7 days away and the draft picture got a lot more clearer this weekend with the NFL Draft going down.

Impacts of the draft itself were minimal with the only Canadian being drafted being TE Luke Wilson who the Argos drafted last year as a red-shirt junior. He's always been more likely to end up in the NFL or MLB anyway and the Argos only used a 5th on him so not much impact.

The hours that followed the draft did affect this year's CFL draft though as some big name Canadian prospects ended up signing NFL free agent deals. Now given that I am this nation's biggest draft expert not named Duane Forde... and given that even the mighty Duane Forde has yet to pen anything, I feel it is my duty to educate you on the 3 ways a Canadian draft prospect can end up in the NFL each with widely different impacts on the draft:

1) Drafted - The 2013 NFL saw no CFL prospects get drafted but it did happen last year. When an NFL team drafts a Canadian it means they are serious about giving them a shot. You can liekly count on them being in the NFL for at least 2 years. As such, getting drafted will plummet CFL draft stock. For example, last year Tyrone Crawford was a 3rd round pick in the NFL and it dropped his CFL stock so low that no one bothered wasting a pick on him.

2) Free Agent Deal - This means an NFL team is not as committed to a prospect as those they drafted. In many cases teams are just looking for training camp bodies. The risk here is a lot less for a CFL team... but its still there. Best case scenario, the prospect will become available in September. Worst case, not for a year or 2. For example, the Riders drafted Keith Shologan in round 1 despite him having signed a FA deal with the Chargers. He was in Regina by midseason and ended up being a tremendous pick. Conversely, Toronto drafted LB Cory Greenwood in the first round but he ended up with a FA deal from the KC Chiefs... and is still there heading into his 4th season. As I said the risk is less but it is still real. A telling sign of a team's real interest in a players vs. just a camp body is the size of the signing bonus. Bigger bonus, bigger CFL risk.

3) Rookie Mini Camp Invite - This is the least risky options. Prospects are invited to an offseason rookie camp but not offered a contract... they have to earn it. This shows minimal commitment by the NFL team and more often than not leads to a very short NFL stint for the Cdn prospect. Last year both Shamawd Chambers and Frederic Plesius got these invites and neither led to a invite to main camp or a contract. Odds are good that prospects will be available for training camp this year for CFL teams.

With that little bit of draft education out of the way let's look at the impacts on the CFL Draft

DL Stefan Charles - Was expected to be drafted but was not. He did however sign a free agent deal with the Titans... and apparently with a decent signing bonus. This will predictably drop Charles to a 3rd round prospect. He for sure will be down south until September and I would guess the full year. I see him in the CFL some day but the team that drafts him will have to be patient.

DL Andy Mulumba - Was also expected to be drafted but had to settle for a FA deal from Green Bay. No word on the signing bonus so he is likely a less risky option than Charles. That said his lack of immediate availability should drop him into the 3rd round. Though it wouldn't surprise me to see a team gamble a 2nd rounder on him.

OL Matt Sewell - The top Cdn OL prospect got an FA deal with the Titans. That said I don't think this will affect his stock. No team drafting a tackle like Sewell expected him to play right away (they need grooming) so prospective teams were already prepared to be patient. He will still be a 1st / early 2nd rounder. The only thing this might do is scare off a team needing an immediate player.

DL Ben D'Aguilar - got a Mini-Camp invite from Tampa Bay. While this does add a bit of risk, it is minimal and I expect D'Aguilar to be a 1st rounder. Odds are good he'll be in training camp despite this NFL tryout. Winnipeg at #2 will still have eyes on him and if he somehow drops to #4, the Riders would definitely be interested.

LB CO Prime - Got a free agent deal with the Indy Colt. A bit surprised by this one but it definitely affects the CFL draft as Prime was quietly sneaking up draft boards and was a likely 2nd rounder (or outside chance at late 1st rounder). Teams generally like drafting LBs because they can play special teams from day 1. This will drop Prime into the 3rd round purely because other LBs will be avaialble to play on teams right away while teams will have to wait until September for Prime.

LS Jorgan Hus - So somehow this unheralded long snapper from right here at the U of R, who didn't even get mentioned in any talk of the 2013 CFL draft class, landed a free agent deal with the St Louis Rams. Who knew? Don't think this will affect the CFL Draft much since Hus wasn't on most draft boards but it certainly is interesting. That's 4 U of R Rams in the NFL for those counting (Ryan, Hicks, Charles, Hus)... personally I'm all for it since I enjoy how terribly all American announcers fail at saying Regina.

That's enough draft analysis for today. Tomorrow I will have my highly anticipated Mock Draft and Thursday a post on the Riders' likely strategy. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@RiderProphet) as I will have a bunch of draft facts and up to the minute draft news (well technically it will be "up to the whenever the hell I bother checking the interwebs" but up to the minute just sounds better).

Friday, April 26, 2013

CFL Draft 2013 Preview: Ottawa Red Blacks

For the first time in the history of the blog I get to talk about an Ottawa CFL from an actual analysis perspective. I mean I’m very experienced at mocking their failure riddle history but to actually talk about them from a current day football perspective is uncharted territory for me.

Picks: 4 picks, first pick 8th overall

Needs: Ottawa has the luxury of what amounts to 4 bonus picks. They can select only red-shirt juniors from the NCAA so essentially can take flyers on whoever they want. Expect high profile guys like offensive tackles Brander Craighead and Hunter Steward or DLs Jesse Joseph or Nolan McMillan to be high on their radar. Ottawa may also be in the best position to take a chance on consensus top player LB Bo Lokombo who is widely expected to end up in the NFL.

Prediction: As long as they don’t draft a dead guy, it will pretty much be a successful day for the Red Blacks (you know minus the general consensus across the nation that their chosen name is questionable). On a more serious note, outside of possibly Lokombo I fully expect them to draft along the O-line and D-line as those can be the toughest Cdn positions to get top end talent at. Brander Craighead at #9 is my call for the new franchise’s first pick.