With 4 of the first 15 picks in the draft Hamilton is probably in the most enviable position in the draft. From loading up on top end prospects, to taking chances on people with NFL interest, to trading up/down/for other players, the Ti-Cats have pretty much every option available to them.
Picks: 8 picks, first selection is 2nd Overall
2017 Draft Assessment: It was primarily about building for the future. #4 overall pick Connor McGough made 18 special teams tackles in his rookie season and could see an increased role defensively. Good depth additions like OL Braden Schram and DL Justin Vaughn have them well positioned in the trenches. The best news for Hamilton may be that every single pick is still with team. Retain and develop is usually a recipe for longer term success.
Potential Pipeline: DL Brent Urban (Baltimore)
Current Strengths: D-line is pretty strong with 2 starters in Laurent and Cappicciotti with Vaughn, McGough for depth. Courtney Stephen gives them a 3rd bona fide starter on D. They have youth along the O-line. Bomben is their oldest Canadian at 30. Revenberg and Filer round out their interior. They also have a lot of solid depth guys like Prime, Davis, Shortil, Daly and Timmis. Newly acquired Lirim Hajrulahu gives them a Canadian kicker (something they haven’t had in a while and can help the ration)
Current Needs: Want a stat that I find utterly amazing? The Ti-Cats have drafted just 3 O-lineman over the past 5 years! In a league where Cdn OL are at the core of any good team that seems almost unthinkable. While they have quantity in terms of OL depth, I would argue they lack quality. That extends to the rest of the team. Outside of their bona fide starters they have a lot of Canadians but few with the potential to step in a thrive. In theory the combo of Chambers and Mike Jones leaves them set at receiver but both have failed to live up to expectations and aren’t really the type of player that can be impact guys like Fantuz.
Prediction: As awesome as having 4 top 15 picks is it actually poses somewhat of a problem for the Ti-Cats (albeit a good problem to have). Actually drafting 4 people in the top 15 means paying them all a decent salary and finding a roster spot for them all. A high pick on a practice roster can and will be swooped (ask Chris Jones). So I expect them to draft only 2 people who actually be in camp with those picks. For the other 2 they will do some combo of picking someone with NFL interest (since they can afford to wait on them) and trading up to land to first round picks or trading for a roster player. Eric Tillman loves to trade so expect that (he also is historically an awful drafter). I see one fo 2 scenarios with the top pick. If the Als happen to pass on Mark Chapman, the Tabbies will take him. Otherwise they will take an OL (likely Hunter or Shepley). They will also look to add a DB in the mid rounds.
The Als could very well take Chapman. Reed really wanted Behar last year but couldn't trade up to get him. I think Riders, no 3rd or 4th round picks, or Eskimos, no 2nd or 3rd round picks, may be looking to get draft picks via trade. Hamilton could be a likely partner. Eskimos, especially, have danced with the TiCats a lot. I have to agree though - not much depth on Nationals & they'll use a pick or two for a guy destined for some time in the NFL though most teams usually wait till the 3rd round before "wasting" a pick on these guys.
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