Friday, May 2, 2014

CFL Draft 2014 Team Preview: Toronto Argonauts

When you consider how terrible the Canadian content of the Argos was under Adam Rita, it’s amazing how much it has improved. Jim Barker deserves a lot of credit for how he has built up the non-import talent on the team.

Picks: 8 picks, first selection is 6th Overall

2013 Draft Assessment: The short term payoff was minimal but long-term, this may yet prove to be a solid draft class for the Argos. They used their top pick on offensive tackle Matt Sewell who surprised a lot of folks by returning to school. But he is now signed as is third round pick WR Natey Adjey. They are very high on second round pick Jermaine Gabriel who say playing time in 2013 but should see a larger role this season.

Potential Pipeline: LB Cory Greenwood (Detroit), TE Luke Wilson (Seattle)

Current Strengths: Depth along the O-line is pretty solid with the likes of Keeping, Van Zeyl, Koch, Holmes, Smith and new additions Sewell and former #2 overall pick Scott Mitchell. Andre Durie is one of their key offensive weapons and Spencer Watt is quietly developing into a decent receiver. On the defensive side they are strengthened by their big offseason acquisition Shea Emry. They already have James Yurichuk to provide depth. The sudden retirement of Jordan younger last year pretty much forced the Argos into playing Matt Black at safety. He surprised some people by proving serviceable. The Argos are very high on Jermaine Gabriel who may take over that spot this year. Either way, given that they already start 4 Cdns on the OL along with Durie, having 2 Cdn spots on D solidified gives them plenty of ratio flexibility.

Current Needs: All aspects of their D have been deeply impacted this offseason. Gone are Thorpe, Ball, Mitchell, Watkins, Williams, Pottinger and Lee. While this isn’t specifically an issue with Canadians, you can bet Barker will be looking to add playmakers to help shore up his defense regardless of passport. They don’t have any glaring needs so they have the luxury of drafting the best players available.

Prediction: The Argos have taken a lineman with their first pick in each of the last 5 drafts. Odds are very good that streak will continue. With an early run on OL expected that likely means it will be a D-lineman like Evan Gill or Dylan Ainsworth who they end up taking.

Two other things to keep in mind with the Argos. They are among the riskiest drafters. They will take chances on players with NFL interests or players that are off the radar. Sometimes it works out in the short term (like Cleyon Laing), sometimes it pays off in the longer term (like Tyler Holmes) and sometimes is just plains flops (like Cory Greenwood or Nick Kaczur). Also, they are not afraid to make draft day deals so I expect them to be involved in a trade that shakes up the draft order a bit in the later rounds.

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