Wednesday, April 19, 2017

CFL Draft 2017 Team Preview: Edmonton Eskimos


Edmonton may not have a GM but presumably somebody will be making picks for them come draft day.

Picks: 8 picks, first selection is 5th Overall

2016 Draft Assessment: A very questionable draft strategy by then-GM Ed Hervey. Used his 1st and 2nd round picks on players bound for the NFL (Tevaughn Smith and Arjen Calquhoun) and did not have a 3rd or 4th rounder. That meant the first tangible selections for the team started in the 5th round. Not a recipe for success (just ask Brendan Taman). Obviously if either NFLer ventures north this assessment could change quickly but currently the value of the 2016 is negligible.

Potential Pipeline: WR Tevaughn Smith (NFL – Indy), DB Arjen Calquhoun (NFL – Dallas), DL Stefan Charles (NFL - Detroit), OL Austin Paztor (NFL - Cleveland), K Shaun Suisham (NFL), LS LP Ladouceur (NFL - Dallas)

Current Strengths:
They have a solid interior to their O-line with O’Donnell, Rottier and Sorensen with Groulx and Beard for depth. Safety position is in good shape with starter Neil King and Andrew Lue and Dubuisson providing depth. Calvin McCarty is one of those unheralded role players that every team needs in order to be successful. Sean Whyte was the most accurate kicker in the CFL last season at 93.8% and has missed only 6 kicks over his 2 years in Edmonton (I still have no clue what Montreal was thinking when they outright cut him but lucky for the Esks I guess). They have a glut of Cdn LBs led by Cory Greenwood (who could start) and solid special teamer Blair Smith.

Current Needs:
What the Esks really need is something to show for their first selection. Of the past 5 players the Esks have used their first pick on 3 are still in the NFL, 1 is no longer part of the team, and 1 was injured for all but 1 game last season. The Esks really need to land someone who can contribute in 2017 with their first pick.

They currently have only 5 Cdn O-lineman under contract so that is likely an area to focus on (unless they think they can get through the whole season injury-free). The sudden retirement of Nate Coehoorn leaves big hole for them in terms of ratio. Last season they started 3 Cdn receivers so they will either need another Cdn receiver to start or adjust the ratio. Moving Cory Greenwood to a starter is an option (though given his health that would require a solid back-up plan). They could also move to starting 4 Cdn OL which would also require adding some depth as a back-up plan. They have just one Cdn D-lineman but I don’t see that being a concern given their intent to play an all American front 4

Prediction:
Whoever is making the picks for the Esks will be looking to distance themselves from the Hervey legacy, and that means picking a player who they can expect in training camp. Given that they aren’t overly concerned about D-lineman, that leaves O-line as the obvious place to use their first pick. A relatively safe pick like Qadr Spooner or Dariusz Bladek would fit that. If by some chance Hamilton passes on Danny Vandervoot at #4 the Esks may be inclined to forgo that strategy based on the Coehoorn departure. Round 2 will see them look to add a Receiver such as Nate Behar or Mitch Picton (provided they didn’t land one in Round 1).

2 comments:

Darren Popowich said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darren Popowich said...

Don't discount either Natey Adjei or Andrew Johnson. Adjei was more likely to start this season over Coehoorn who had a 60.4% reception rate and concussion problems. Johnson is 6' 1" 205 and runs a 4.43 / 40. While the Esks could use a long term alternative to Cory Watson who is 33, a receiver is a secondary concern.

The bigger concern that needs to be addressed in the draft is the fact that WLB Cory Greenwood has had concussion problems. If Greenwood goes down with an injury, the Esks do not have a legit Canadian 7th starter. With the shift in the draft board due to the NFL signings expect the Esks to go with SLB Deondre Wright.

The question is can they can get Nathaniel Behar @ 5 and Deondre Wright @ 14?

Also note Arjen Colquhoun has been rumored to be either signed or on the verge of signing since February. Seeing he is currently out of football and has not been picked up by any other NFL team after his PR time with Dallas this seems likely. Colquhoun could play either SLB or CB as a starter in the CFL.

Both Wright and Colquhoun would be ratio breakers.