Tuesday, April 28, 2015

CFL Draft 2015 Team Preview: Ottawa RedBlacks

Picks: 6 picks, first selection is #1

2014 Draft Assessment: Surprised many by trading away the first overall pick but got a solid OL in Jon Gott in exchange and then joined the “teams that have dumped Kevin Glenn” club to get back into the first round and take Antoine Pruneau. By himself Pruneau makes 2014 a successful draft. In his rookie season he not only started but excelled at LB.  Good thing for the RedBlacks that Pruneau is that good because the rest of their picks aren’t really much to brag about.

Potential Pipeline: TE Tyler Digby (lacrosse)

Current Strengths: Ottawa is stacked with Cdn D-lineman. They started an all Canadian D-line once last year which is unheard off (also points to the fact that they lack a credible import DE). Justin Capicciotti turned into a bona-fide starter. Keith Shologan can fill another starting spot. Then add in Zach Evans, Connor Williams and Kalonji Kashama among others for depth. I already mentioned Pruneau. On the offensive side they have Jon Gott and J’Michael Deane and the up and coming Nolan MacMillan manning the line and newly acquired Brad Sinopoli at WR.

Current Needs: Outside of D-line, depth is an issue across the board. They barely have 3 starting quality Cdn OLs let alone reliable back-ups (the offseason departure of Krausnik-Groh made things worse). They lack a viable back-up to Pruneau. Last year they learned why Calgary let safety Eric Faser go (he’s not very good). They have enough Cdns not to have to start one at safety but they may still want to and Fraser is clearly not the guy. Lastly, the RedBlacks had better be looking at a kicker. They used import Brett Maher last year but Ottawa’s other struggles covered up just how much of an embarrassment he was. No sense wasting an import spot at kicker unless they are very good. (***Update*** seems Maher is injured thus making the decision to explore other options not just good judgment but now a necessity)

Prediction: I really can’t see Ottawa picking anything but an O-lineman #1. Their line struggled last year in both run and pass blocking so they not only need to build depth, they need to find quality starters. The prevailing wisdom has Alex Mateas as the chosen one. With their second round pick they may hope that Chris Ackie or Byron Archambault drop far enough so they can add depth behind Pruneau. I expect them to draft a lot of OL and LBs and used a late round pick on another kicking prospect to compete against John Mark.

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