Thursday, April 21, 2016

CFL Draft 2016 Team Preview: Hamilton Ti-Cats

Picks: 9 picks, first selection is 5th Overall

2015 Draft Assessment: Their draft strategy appeared to be "draft anything resembling a linebacker and nothing else" as 4 of their 6 picks (including the first 3) were all LBs. Which was an odd strategy quite frankly given that they already had Frederic Plesius, Beau Landry and CO Prime. But they got good special team play from the 3 top LB draftees at times throughout the season and had the depth at other positions to allow it I guess.

Potential Pipeline: DL Brent Urban (Baltimore), OL Moe Petrus (?? Was in Tampa)

Current Strengths: For a few years now the Ti-Cats have had tremendous Cdn depth and it has allowed them to thrive in spite of injuries (like last year where Gaydosh and Watt suffered season ending injuries before the season started). Offseason departures and the injury to Craig Butler will put strain on them yet again but they are in a good position to withstand it. As previously mentioned they are stacked at LB. There is some thought Plesius could be a starter but they already tried that once with minimal success. D-line features Laurent (who’s the best in the league) with Gaydosh, Gill and Klassen for depth (could start 2 Cdn DL if everyone is healthy). Courtney Stephen is a proven starter at DB. At receiver they have Fantuz and Watt and Woodson can spell in at RB. Interior OL is decent with Dyakowski, Filer, and Bomben.

Current Needs: Most obvious need has been created based on Butler's injury. They aren’t going to be able to replace a guy like him through the draft but will certainly be looking to add depth at DB to compensate (especially given the departures of Edem and King). Depth along the O-line is certainly something they should be looking to add to as it doesn’t exactly give the greatest of confidence at this point. It seems pretty incredible than in an offseason that saw them lose 3 Cdn D-line (Bulcke, Gascon-Nadon and Hazime) Cdn DL would not be a huge priority but ideally Gaydosh and Gill will be healthy and able to step in to fill those voids. That said, I would imagine they will use mid-late round picks to re-stock the DL shelf.

Lastly as crazy as this is, they currently do not have a placekicker on the roster. Unless their plan is to score only TDs and gamble on every 3rd down, they will probably be interested in drafting a kicker if for nothing else than having competition for other kickers (which I assume they will eventually get around to signing)

Prediction:  A couple possible scenarios here. The first is that the Ti-Cats keep their #5 pick and take an O-lineman as part of the expect run on OL early. They then target either a DB in round 2 or kicker Quinn Van Gylswyk assuming they feel the need to take him that high (NFL interest may drop him lower).

The other scenario involves wheeling and dealing (as there GM has been known to do). TiCats are not afraid to trade down when it suits their needs so you could see them trading some combination of their #5, 14 and 18 pick to increase their odds of emerging with a top end DB, a decent lineman and Van Gylswyk. 

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