Monday, April 21, 2014

CFL Draft 2014 Team Preview: Ottawa Redblacks

Picks: 7 picks, first selection is #1

2013 Draft Assessment: They likely drafted as good as they could in 2013 given that they could only draft red shirt juniors and other teams put an early run on those players. The issue is that to date not one of their 4 selections has signed with the team. We could see a couple sign after the NFL draft but until that happens the only benefit of the 2013 was the new franchise not making an embarrassingly bad pick

Potential Pipeline: DL Connor Williams (college), OL Nolan MacMillan (college), DL Kalonji Kashama (college), TE Tyler Digby (college/lacrosse)

Current Strengths: For an expansion team, they actually did a decent job of building their Cdn base. The Shologan/Evans combo they took from us solidifies 1 DT spot. Eric Fraser and Delroy Clarke likely allow them to have a starting Cdn safety (not a particularly good one but expansions teams gotta take what they can get). I like Eppele, Deane and Krausnick-Groh along the OL as well as the 2 FBs they have in Lavoie and Delahunt (for what that’s worth).

Current Needs: Looking at Ottawa’s roster they have a lot of Canadians, but not many that I would consider to be starting quality and that’s an issue because League rules say they need at least 7 of those. As mentioned above Shologan and Fraser will constitute 2 of them. That leaves a need for 5 on offense. That could either be 4 OL (with Deane at Tackle) and 1 WR or 3 OL (2 import tackles) and 2 WR/FB. Either one poses problems as their OL depth is awful. The departure of Hage leaves them with really on 3 starting quality guys and I would not consider one of their WRs as starting quality. So their 1st and 2nd round picks will more than likely be looking to address those spots with OL being the most important.

Prediction: Guaranteed the Redblacks will use the first overall pick on an OL. The key for them will be picking one that will actually be in training camp. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is the best player available but is NFL bound and not going to be seen by whatever CFL team drafts him anytime soon if ever. Another top OL prospect, David Foucault, has also caught the eye of the NFL. He is a less risky pick than Duvernay-Tardif but Ottawa can’t afford much risk. That leaves Pierre Lavertu as both a safe option and a talented one. He has the added bonus of being a centre which is more important now that Hage bailed. They likely target WR Kris Bastien in round 2.

In the remaining rounds they will look to build depth at LB/special teamers and probably a kicker in the late rounds to at least have some competition for Palardy

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