The Als are one of the hardest team to predict in terms of the draft. Just a quick look at some of the recent top picks of Jim Popp will tell you just how all over the map he can be: 2011 – kicker, 2012 – fullback, 2013 – used second of two 1st rd picks on a RB.
Picks: 8 picks, first selection is 4th Overall
2013 Draft Assessment: Getting Mike Edem at #4 made the draft worthwhile on its own. They also got Steve Lumbala who has already earned some playing time early in his career and potentially 2 solid DL prospects in Hosin Shahin and Jesse Joseph (assuming they end up in Montreal), so overall it was a really good draft for the Als.
Potential Pipeline: DL Hosin Shahin (college), DL Jesse Joseph (college), DL Vaughn Martin (Detroit), OL Phillip Blake (Arizona), DL Tyrone Crawford (Dallas… assuming the Als still have him on their neg list)
Current Strengths: The hallmark of the Als for many years has been their all-Canadian OL. The combo of Perrett and Bourke at tackle is something a lot of teams would love. On defense they have talented players like Mike Edem and Marc-Olivier Brouillette. Sean Whyte struggled a bit last year but overall is a solid kicker than can fill all 3 jobs. If players like Mike Klassen and Bo Adebayo can develop into contributors and prospects like Shahin and Joseph end up on the team, the Als could have a very solid group of Cdn DL.
Current Needs: The Als much envied Cdn depth took some big hits this offseason. Shea Emry left via free agency, Andrew Woodruff retired, Scott Flory will likely retire and the Redblacks took Patrick Lavoie. The Als have the talent to still have 7 solid Cdns starters but depth has to be a rising concern at pretty much every position.
Prediction: As previously mentioned, hard to predict Jim Popp but I think he will go with either a LB like Jesse Briggs or a DB like Adam Thibault to add depth behind Edem and Brouillette. Antoine Pruneau is another player who may be on their radar. The Als may even make a rare move and draft a WR before the end of the draft. Their all Cdn OL has allowed them to be unlike other teams and not need (or care for) Cdn WRs. But depth concerns at other positions and the addition of Dave Stala may bring Cdn WRs back into consideration in the earlier rounds. Also Popp has shown no aversion to drafting NFL-bound players just in case (e.g. Martin, Blake) so I would put Montreal among the teams most likely to take a flyer on OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif.
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