With just days to go before the CFL Draft, a big question among the 7 people in the province who care about the draft is "What Will The Riders Do?". The draft is always really difficult to predict but I will do my best... I mean it is kinda my gimmick.
The Riders now have 5 picks after the league added a 7th round to the draft yesterday. Believe me if Taman had known about this in advance he likely would have traded the pick away. Four picks seems to be his max... though I guess anything is better than the year we only had 2 picks and used them both on Regina Rams.
So we have a 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th and now 7th. So what guys will we be targeting in the draft? Well logically given that we plan to start 2 Cdn DL and this is a draft will a lot of high end DL talent we should be targeting a DL with out first pick. That said apparently we have our eyes set on LB Mike Edem. now don't get me wrong Edem is a hell of a talent and many expect him to switch to safety (which would allow him to back up Butler) but I think that would be a mistake. If we had a 2nd round pick that we could use to address our DL need then I would be fine with it but we don't and by the 3rd we won't be getting a top end DL. Ideally D'Aguilar would fall to us at #4 but that's not a guarantee. Another option is Ellie Ngoyi as he is the next best available DL who has not signed an NFL. I like that option but don't see it. I'm betting on either Edem or D'Aguilar with our first. Just please don't take Brett Jones. Another local interior OL is not what we need.
Unfortunately our draft strategy is severely limited by 2 factors. 1) we have few picks and 2) our Cdn depth is fairly thin. That means that we can't afford to use a pick on a redshirt junior (which sadly leaves a lot of great talent of our draft board) and we can't risk taking guys who won't be in camp (i.e. Charles, Sewell, Mulumba, Prime) which also takes some talent of our board. Its a vicious cycle that we can't break out of. We can never build for the future.
Outside of DL we also need OL depth, particularly at tackle. If I asked you who our back-up tackle was I'm not sure you could answer, which highlights the need. We should be able to land a quality OL in the 3rd. It would be great if a guy like Chris Mercer slipped into the 3rd. But if not him another tackle like Matt Albright or Josh Pinsen. We could use another safety (though my preference would be to wait until round 5 for that since we already have Butler, Newman and McCall.
With our 6th rounder I would like us to take a flyer on a receiver. Like Bamba last year, a decent one will fall to the 6th. Nick Anapolsky, Stephen Adekolu or Anthony Alex perhaps. Our bonus 7th rounder should be used on a fullback. There are 2 promising ones and I bet one will last until late in the draft: Isaac Bell and Matt Burke. A couple DLs who might be available late and of interest too are John Miniaci and Jean Alexandre Bernier.
That's how I see it but I guess we will have to see what actually goes down.
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