Sorry for the delay in posting this, it took me this long to figure out exactly what happened in that ridiculous first round. Rob Black would need to live to the age of 194 just to get caught up on picks 1 through 3.
- We traded our first round pick (8th overall) back to Hamilton for 2 second round picks.
- We also traded one of our 3 second round picks to Winnipeg for 2 third round picks
- In round 2 we drafted DL Dylan Ainsworth and WR Alex Pierzchalski
- In round 3 we drafted K John Mark and WR Kris Bastien
- In round 4 we didn't have a pick
- In round 5 we drafted DB Matt Webster and OL Kyle Patterson
- In round 6 we drafted LB Travis Bent
- In round 7 we drafted OL Terry Hart
We went a different direction than I thought we would. I fully expect us to focus on DBs and LBs (especially early). Instead we went DL and WR. I still think we did alright overall though. We were able to trade down and get players we were liekly targeting anyway (i.e. Ainsworth) and more picks, which for a team needing to rebuild Cdn depth is a good thing. I didn't think we would go after WRs early (especially given the addition of Etienne this offseason) but I think it's good we did. Realistically we haven't made an effort to bring in top end Cdn WRs since Geztlaf and Bagg back in '07 and '08 (unless you count that disaster of a Sisco pick but I have been unsuccessfully trying to suppress that memory with booze for years). It was about time we bring in some young prospects.
For me the thing that sticks out as puzzling is the Johnny Mark pick in round 3. We have a solid kicker in Milo and capable punter in Bartel. I don't have an issue with us drafting a developmental/insurance kicker but I don't see the need to take the top rated one in the draft early in the third when prospects like Casey Chin (who Duane Forde pegged as the best LB in the draft) was still available. We could have risked missing out on Mark and getting the 2nd or 3rd best kicker. It was puzzling to say the least.
But as I said, overall for a weak draft I think we did okay. Of course we won't know jack until they actually hit the field but on paper I thought we had an average draft. Some teams made out better than us, some made out worse. Our depth improved and that's the whole point. I would have preferred focusing on LBs/Dbs early (if for nothing else than the special team impact) but we went a different direction and that's OK.
Here are some specific thoughts on our picks:
DL Dylan Ainsworth - He was expected to go in Round 1 so to get him in round 2 and add another 2nd rounder is good. He will be able to contribute on special teams immediately. He's athletically gifted and still very young. He will also help build depth a DE behind Foley with David Lee.
WR Alex Pierzchalski - Was shocked he was the 2nd WR taken. Most people had him lower in the WR rankings. The Riders must have seen something in him that caught their eye... beyond the obvious 6'4 frame of him.
K John Mark - As I said, this pick is still a head scratcher to me but he was the top ranked kicker in this draft class I guess. He's reportedly got a good leg, consistent kicker. Though is he could grow into a CFL punter. Maybe he pushes Bartel for the punting job but more than likely the plan is to develop him for next year and beyond.
Side note: I found it odd that the first 3 teams to take a kicker were us, Calgary and Montreal. All three are very solid at kicker and don't have a need. Why they opted for kickers and not the teams who actually have needs (like Winnipeg) is beyond me.
WR Kris Bastien - I was shocker he dropped so low. He was described by some as the most pro-ready reciever in the draft. 6'2, strong, good speed, performed well in the one on ones at the combine. I'm really not sure why he dropped to the bottom of the 3rd but good for us for taking advantage of that. With both he and Pierzchalski in camp the good news is the likes of Sisco and Etienne will actually have to earn a roster spot rather than just getting one by default.
DB Matt Webster - Natural safety, had last season cut short due to injury but seems to have recovered after testing well at the combine. He was known for his tackles in run support in college. We will see in camp how well that all translates to the pro level. Keep in mind he came from round 5 of a week draft.
OL Kyle Patterson - Became our obligatory local pick. He is a 5th round pick in a week draft but U of R lineman from Weyburn have a pretty track record of late so I think he is definitely worth a look. When in doubt take a lineman depth there never hurts.
LB Travis Bent - Was apparently recruited by Rice in Div 1 NCAA out of high school and while he had a decent college career he has yet to live up to the early hype. May have untapped potential, may have hit his ceiling early.
OL Terry Hart - Again, when in doubt, take a lineman. He's got good strength and a rep for liking contact. He was also the 3rd last pick in a weak draft so odds are good he's a camp body but you never know. I also found an article where he says his favourite teams are the Buffalo Bills and Toronto Maple Leafs so that's pretty concerning.