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)
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.
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
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).