This past weekend the nation's top prospects were on display at the CFL Combine. There were also a number of European players looking to make their mark as CFL 2.0 takes its next step forward. By the way, the term 2.0 is grossly misused these days. It comes from software versions where various iterations would be released. 1.0, 1.1, 1.5, 2.0, 2.1, etc... But now we just skip over all the iterations and go right to 2.0. If there was nothing between 1 and 2 you can just drop the .0
Well you probably didn't come here for random rants about trivial things in life that bother me. And if you did I have a great rant about when people misuse the word "humbling" when getting an award. Anyway how about some actual football talk.
The combine got me thinking about the current state of the Riders' Canadian talent and where they might be looking to add heading into the draft.
The addition of Dakota Shepley is huge and really shores up our OL depth. You can never have enough depth there but with Shepley in the fold longterm, I like where we are at there. We are also deep at Canadian LB. Judge may be the only starter but Hurl is a good rotation guy. Gagne and Chevrier are great on special teams and could be rewarded with some time on D. We also have Bartlett and Teitz. I also like how we sit in terms of our starting 7. Three on the OL. Evans, Judge and Edem on D (all impact players). Provided we can find a token Cdn Receiver, we are looking pretty good (which is a nice change from a couple years ago).
So what do we need?
Priority #1 - Receiver
We have a 34 year old Cory Watson and Mitch Picton. That's it. Technically you can add Lavoie to the mix but he is a mixture of a TE/FB/SB and is more a utility guy than a fulltime starter. Dan Clark could legitimately be the 3rd best Cdn WR on our roster. As mentioned above, short of adjusting our ratio, we will need to start a Cdn WR. So at this point its all on you Mitch Picton. Don't choke. We have actually lacked an actual quality Cdn WR since Demksi left. Harty would have been a great solution to this problem but health has not been on his side. We started Josh Stanford for goodness sake. We tried Bailey but he can't do anything but a jump ball deep. Rob Bagg was legitimately the best we've had for the past 2 years. I love Bagg (pause for immature giggle) but we need an injection of young talent here.
Priority #2 - Depth in the secondary
Skill testing question for you. Who is Mike Edem's back-up? It's a trick question, we have none. I guess technically Radford can play DB but that's in an emergency situation only. Edem is a great player and stayed healthy last season but at least bringing a second Canadian DB to training camp might be a good idea.
Priority #3 - Depth at D-line
Unlike DB we at least have some depth behind Zach Evans. Makana Henry is a solid depth player. But last year we also had Eddie Steele and currently we have yet to replace him. Jordan Reaves usually makes the roster but he is mostly just a special teams guy. We drafted and have been grooming Breton and Mufata but I'm not ready to just assume they are now good to go. Not a pressing need but certainly worth addressing.
Too much humblebrag for sure going 'round. Nailed it. Desperate situation at receiver. Can't say for sure we have anybody. Not sold on Picton at this point. Radford as backup. Loonnngggg drop from Edem. Again, desperate situation. I'm not sure about Henry. He's 32 & that's okay. But you better start grooming a replacement...quick. Maybe the ratio goes down & helps us out. If we get an injury to ONE of Evans, Edem or Watson we are in a world of hurt. That is how thin we are on Cdn content. This looks like a deep draft so let's not draft for OL. Never thought I'd say that.
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