Monday, April 18, 2016

CFL Draft 2016 Team Preview: Ottawa RedBlacks

When you consider that 3 years ago this team didn’t exist, you have to be pretty impressed with the Canadian talent assembled by the RedBlacks. They have drafted well (both in the expansion draft and college drafts) and supplemented well through free agency.

Picks: 8 picks, first selection is #7

2015 Draft Assessment: Used the first overall pick on Alex Mateas who dressed in every game as a back-up and is being groomed to assume a bigger role this year. The rest of the draft was so-so at best. In round 2 they opted for Jake Hardy (which some would consider a curious choice given the other WR options still available). He dressed in only 2 games. The only other notable addition was 6th rd pick Kienan LaFrance who played 16 games mostly on teams but saw a few offensive snaps

Potential Pipeline: TE Tyler Digby (lacrosse)

Current Strengths: Depth took a hit this offseason with loses like Shologan and Capicciotti along the D-line but Ottawa had tremendous depth there so they should be able to survive. Zach Evans will be expected to step up into a larger role. Newcomer Gascon-Nadon and existing guys like Connor Williams and Kalonji Kashama still give them good depth. Sinopoli has established himself as an impact Canadian receiver and they have depth behind him with guys like Pierzchalski, MacDonnell and Harty. Interior OL is very strong and they have good depth. Antoine Pruneau also gives them another bona-fide starter on D. Overall a very good Canadian core.

Current Needs: Two concerns jump out for me. The first is that the loss of Capicciotti may force them to rejig there ratio. They started Cdns 3 on D last season (Shologan, Pruneau and Capiccotti). Evans can step into Shologan’s role but while they have good depth, I’m not sure they have another starting caliber DE on the roster. This should have them looking at add either d-linemen or safeties to give them options. They could also look at starting 2 Cdn WRs but would need to add depth there as well.

The other concern is depth behind Pruneau. While depth is good pretty much everywhere else I’m not confident in their ability to replace Pruneau if he got hurt.

Prediction: I would expect their first pick to be a defensive player. Either a D-lineman like Trent Corney or a DB/LB in the mold of Pruneau like Arjen Colquhoun (should he happen to fall that far) or Taylor Lofler or Anthony Thompson. Beyond that with few glaring needs they will look to draft the best available regardless of position. Also based on the whole Jason Maas ordeal, expect the RedBlacks to petition the league to introduce compensatory draft picks to cover the loss of some of their players via free agency.

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