Want a pretty amazing stat? Of the 34 Canadian players currently under contract to the Als, all but 4 of them are either Alouette draft picks or undrafted free agent originally signed by the Als. It speaks volumes to their commitment to develop from within and also to their ability to retain their national talent.
Picks: 6 picks, first selection is 2nd Overall
2015 Draft Assessment: Als had 2 first round picks and took DB Chris Ackie (which was a somewhat curious pick with Brouillette, Lue and Edem already there, though he’s likely to develop into a solid player) and OL Jacob Ruby who only dressed in 2 games but will be counted on more this season. Second rounder Nick Shortill was a good special teamer. Fourth rounder Alex Charrette caught my eyes a few times. For a late pick he could yet turn into a valuable one for the Als. Of course there was also QB Brandon Bridge (4th rd pick) who got forced into action early. He was clearly not ready to be a starter but showed enough that he belongs in a serious QB battle. Overall a good draft by the Als.
Potential Pipeline: OL David Foucault (Carolina), DL Tyrone Crawford (Dallas… assuming the Als still have him on their neg list), DL Hosam Shahin (I believe out of football),
The hallmark of the Als for many years has been their all-Canadian OL. Despite the loss of Bourke in the offseason they still have the depth to maintain that… if they so choose. They have a very good stable of OL and the oldest one is Picard at 32. They have good depth at Cdn DL with Joseph, Klassen and the newly added Vaugh Martin. The combo of Brouilette and Ackie allow them to start another Cdn defender. Guiguere and Charette at receiver are a nice combo.
The Als are not afraid to invest picks in guys they have to wait for. Lately that has been paying off. Last season they added OL Phillip Blake (2011 draft pick) and DL Jesse Joseph (2013 pick). This year they are adding DL Vaughn Martin (2011 pick). Their depth allows them to be patient with prospects (something not all teams can do).
With Bourke gone and Luc Brodeur-Jourdain reportedly likely to start the year on IR, the Als would be wise to keep stocking their OL shelves. Other than that they don’t really have any glaring needs. They have the luxury of drafting the best player available and I expect that to include a player not likely to be in the CFL for a while (like say Oneymata). Based on the whole Henoc Muamba fiasco I don’t see Popp targeting any linebackers early but then again, Popp once drafted a kicker he didn’t need in the first round so don’t rule anything out.
Lots of directions they could go with the second overall pick. The safe choice would be an O-lineman and that is what I’m guessing they will due (particularly given the uncertainly around Brodeur-Jourdain) but I could just as easily see Popp opting for guy like Arjen Calquhoun due to his impressive athletic abilities. As I mentioned before, Popp likes taking flyer picks so guys like Oneymata and Mehdi Abdesmad will be on his radar once round 3 starts.