Wednesday, May 7, 2014

CFL Draft 2014 Team Preview: Calgary Stampeders

Picks: 8 picks, first selection is 7th Overall

2013 Draft Assessment: While other teams were leery of Brett Jones’ interest in med school, the Stamps took a chance anyway and ended up getting the steal of the 2013 draft at the #16 spot. As a rookie Jones started every game at centre and was named a Western All-star and Most Outstanding Rookie. That alone made the draft a huge success. In addition to Jones, the Stamps also drafted red-shirt junior OT Brander Craighead who is signed for this season and could help with depth along the OL and athletic DE Ben D’Aguilar who could see his role expanded in his second CFL season.

Potential Pipeline: n/a

Current Strengths: Overall depth is among the best in the league but three specific things jump out at me. First is the talent at RB. Clearly Jon Cornish is an elite RB (regardless of passport) but the Stamps are also blessed with Rob Cote who is unheralded but among the best blockers in the game (and can contribute offensively when called on) and Matt Walter who adds needed Cdn depth behind Cornish. Second is the O-line. Last year they allowed the least sacks and gained the most yards rushing. The likes of Jones, Gott and Federkeil are getting it done. Lastly is kicking. Paredes has been as accurate as they come and Maver is a solid punter. Having both ensures brings piece of mind even if one gets hurt.

Current Needs: As good as the OL has been, depth has to be a concern. Outside of Brett Jones, no OL started every game last year so their depth was tested. With Tsoumpas retiring and J’Michael Deane going to Ottawa they need others to step up. They have guys like Wilson, Peach, Erdros and Craighead already in the mix but given that only Wilson has seen significant playing time they will not hesitate to bring in more talent on the OL to ensure it stays among the best.

There is a need on defense as well. The Stamps’ depth at OL and RB mean they only need one Cdn starter on D but with Eric Fraser (last year’s starting safety) gone its unclear where exactly that will be. The could make it on the DL where they have Mace, Turner and D’Aguilar but Mace has been injury plagued so they would want more depth if that is their plan. They could keep the safety spot Canadian but I don’t think even the Stamps believe that the combo of Jeff Hecht and Keenan MacDougall is enough to instill confidence so they would want more depth there if that is the plan.

Prediction: Calgary’s first pick should be very telling as to their plans in terms of the ratio. I fully expect them to draft a defender in Round 1 and if that is a DL then their plan is likely to start a Cdn at DL (most likely scenario). If it’s a DB then their plan is keep the safety spot Cdn. After that Calgary will look to stockpile O-lineman as they always do and will take advantage of the luxury their current depth gives them in terms of drafting the best player available regardless of position

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