Well another CFL Draft has come and gone. All drafted players appear to be still be living so that's a plus. From a Rider perspective, we thus far haven't been fined for anything on draft day, so there's another plus. The only downside was the overt awkwardness of Jim Lawson.
"The (reads car) Winnipeg (reads card) Blue (read card) Bomb (reads card) ers...."
It would have made my day if TSN cut to the scene from Billy Madison where goes "T-t-t-t-today Junior!"
Though you never really know the value of a draft class on the day of the draft, I though the Riders did well. What I wanted to see with their first 2 picks was a top end O-lineman and defensive player. I probably would have gone in a different order but given how few OL went early, their strategy paid off. Let's take a look a the Rider selections
1st Rd (2) - LB Cameron Judge - We have not drafted an impact defender since Craig Butler. We need to build depth at LB given Muamba being our starter. Lastly, we need to rebuild a strong special teams core. We are lacking impact players there. So based on all that, I think the Judge pick makes a ton of sense. Sure there's risk as his body of work is small but given how Chris Jones molds former receivers and basket players into defenders, just imagine what he can do with an actual defender.
2nd (11) - OL Dariusz Bladek - It was so logical for us to take an Ol here that I was almost worried we would overthink it and not do it. Bladek missed a year of football but I still think he will bring much needed depth... I guess I should say quality depth. We were considering him at #2 so to land him in Round 2 is a plus.
4th (30) - TE Anthony Auclair - Now I know what you are thinking. What is a team with questionable Canadian content now, doing using a pick on a future prospect? My preference would be build depth now but even though Auclair signed a priority free agent deal with Tampa, I still think it's worth the risk for a 4th round pick. Tampa drafted a tight end so even though Auclair got some upfront money, he will have his work cut out for him to stick. If he doesn't, his value to us will far exceed the 4th rd cost. We took Oneymata last year in the 4th and he has almost zero chance of coming north. By comparison, Auclair is a more calculated and plausible risk.
4th (32) - OL Eddie Meredith - This is the one pick that concerns me. Meredith was an all-Canadian tackle in 2014 and 2015 at Western. You may be wondering why such a high caliber OL fell this far... well it's because he "hung up his cleats" prior to the 2016 season. Yes, apparently we weren't satisfied with trading for people who then retire, we are know drafting already retired people. Not sure if this pick is a Chris Jones pipe dream or whether he has laid some groundwork behind the scenes for a return to football. Time will tell, but for now this looks like a questionable pick.
5th (37) WR Mitch Picton - A familiar face around these parts. Picton was not among to top tier WRs in this draft, but I think worthy of a chance to compete. We need WR depth so he is a good add.
6th (46) OL Danny Sprukulis - When in doubt, draft linemen. I honestly can't tell you how long its been since we drafted this many OL. I love it. He has nice size at 6'5 , 315 lbs. He will be part of what will actually be a competition this year, not just people making the team by default because they are all we have for Canadians.Temper
your expectations for an OL taken this late but there are
examples of late round OL that panned out great (Shane Bergman, Luc
7th (55) LB Alexandre Chevrier - He has a ton of speed and as I mentioned with respect to Judge, we need to rebuild our special teams. We need a new crop of special teams demons and Chevrier is a good add in that respect.
7th (57) DT Emmauel Adusei - We have good depth at DL but another one in the mix can't hurt.
8th (64) OL Marc Glaude - Seriously?!? 4 OL? Didn't even think that was legal based on our recent history.