After sitting out the first round last year due to the infamous Drew Willy deal, the defending champs once again find themselves with a 1st round pick. Incidentally they still had to give their 3rd round pick this year to Winnipeg as part of the Willy trade… it’s the gift that keeps on giving (much like an STD).
Picks: 7 picks, first selection is 9th Overall
2017 Draft Assessment: Not a great draft in terms of top end talent. They had no 1st rd pick and 2nd round pick Mason Woods played exactly zero games and was shipped to Edmonton to get James Franklin. They did not bad in the back end of the draft in terms of depth guys nabbing guys like Nakas Oneyka (5th rd) who had 14 STT and Evan Foster who can add to DL depth and Robert Woodson at DB.
Potential Pipeline: TE Luke Wilson (Detroit)
Current Strengths: Starts up front where they have two young studs in McEwen and Holmes in the middle and Van Zeyl on the edge who has been one of the better OL in this league for a long time. Plus a ton of depth behind them (Deane, Watman, Campbell, Sakey). Laing is an impact player on the D-line with Gaydosh and Foster for depth. Gabriel, Black and Woodson have them set an Cdn DB. Guys like Coombs and Cross are valuable offensive contributors. You don’t win a Grey Cup without strong Canadian talent (unless you are from Baltimore) and the Argos certainly have a strong base.
Current Needs: They have quantity but not quality at Cdn WR. Matt Jones has never developed into the impact guy they envisioned when they took him 4th overall in 2016 and the remaining guys (Ralph, Noel, Charette) are token Cdn WRs at best. Not a pressing need but not an area of strength. Van Zeyl is 34 so planning for life after him is a need. Unlikely you find a lock-down tackle like him but stocking the OL shelves so you can play 3 interior CDN OL is a need. Beyond that not much in terms of needs.
Prediction: Normally I would say a receiver makes sense with their top pick but Jim Popp avoids using high picks on WRs like the plague. The last time he drafted a WR above the 4th round was in 2006. And this is a guy who has used first rounders on kickers he didn’t need. So logically that leaves the lines as the top target for the 1st round. A OL to replace Mason Woods is a strong possibility. A DL like Justin Laurent is another possibility. In the second round I think they look to add a DB.