The Esks seems to have a bi-polar condition when it comes to the draft. In recent years they seem to alternate between good drafts and bad ones. 2014 was bad (Devon Bailey, Aaron Milton), ’15 was good (Groulx, Beard, Konar), ’16 was bad at the time (though Tevaughn SMith showing up suddenly improves things), ’17 good (Behar, Roy, Mulumba, Boateng). 2018 was a whole lot of meh. I guess that means 2019 should be another good one.
Picks: 8 picks, first selection is 3rd Overall
2018 Draft Assessment: With only one pick in the top 20 it was not a high impact draft class for the Esks. They traded out of the first round to add another mid-round pick. Mostly a lot of special team/depth players. Godfrey Oneyka could develop into an impact player in year 2 but the early returns on the 2018 class are minimal so far. They did however get a pick boost this offseason by finally signing 2016 first round pick Tevaughn Smith
Potential Pipeline: OL Justin Senior (NFL), DL Stefan Charles (free agent), OL Austin Paztor (NFL – Tennessee), LS LP Ladouceur (NFL - Dallas)
They only played with 2 Cdn OL last season but have the depth to go back to 3 if they choose with the likes of O’Donnell, Ruby, Roy, Woods and Spooner. Kwaku Boateng is an impact D-end. 2017 first rounder Behar bolted in free agency but the addition of Smith along with Anthony Parker and Adjey for depth have them alright at WR still. Adam Konar and Christophe Mulumba have them good at LB though with all the offseason acquisitions of American LBs (Santos-Knox, Dean, Unamba) they may not plan on starting Konar anymore (a curious move because he’s pretty good). Solid in the kicking department. Lastly feel the need to mention Calvin McCarty. He may be like Paul McCallum old but he’s still valuable player for them.
They need to figure out what they are doing with the ratio (short of crossing their fingers that the League agrees to lower it before the season). Last season they stared 4 Cdn defenders but they currently have no Safety and if Konar gets bumped to back-up duty they need to fill 2 spots. They can easily switch back to 3 Cdn OL (maybe even 4 if they had too). But they will need to add where ever they choose to put the 7th Cdn Starter. If its safety they need a safety. If it’s a second Cdn WR, they need more depth there. They also need some depth behind Boateng as its pretty minimal there.
With the 3rd overall pick and some very talented D-line prospects up for grabs that’s where I would see them going in Round 1. They could certainly roll the dice on Mathieu Betts despite likely NFL interest but I see them going a safer route with a Robbie Smith or Connor Griffiths. In round 2, they will likely look to add at DB but could also look to keep building at OL as they have only drafted one O-lineman in the first 3 rounds over the past 3 years.
Smith may be my pick for a receiver to watch this year. He's big & knocked it out of the park in the NFL combine for non-drafted players. I read where his results would have placed him top 3 if you looked at combines for drafted & non-drafted. Hervey was ridiculed for picking Colquhoun & Smith as they were unlikely to end up in Edmonton but there they are. I digress. I think the Esks will go with 3 on O-Line again. To be brutally honest, neither Bond or Kelly were any good last year. So they should go 4 Nationals. Roy was great in testing & is a natural Ctr. Beard played LG, RG & Ctr last year. Ruby was a high draft in Mtl, put in too early as a starter but got the 6th spot on the team last year & has been brought along slowly in Edmonton. He can play tackle. So you may be right. The other factor is Harris. Harris gets rid of the ball quickly, doesn't throw often past 20 yards. The O-Line won't have to hold the fort for 4 seconds. I expect the Eskimos to switch to more of a short passing, ball control offence. Walker & Williams each averaged over 17 yds/catch which is indicative of the deep passing game employed last year. They're both gone. Ellingson is more of a possession receiver. I think they'll start 2 Nationals @ receiver on 5 man sets, 1 if McCarty is in. With Boateng, Colqhuon & Hoover on defence, they could play 3 imports on O-Line. I don't get what they're going to do with Konar & Mulumba. They needed to get Dean with Sherritt gone. Unamba was the 2018 All- CFL SAM. Edwards drew too many bad, costly penalties & they weren't going to sign him so I can see that move. But Santos-Knox may have been too good to pass up. Still they're all only signed for 1 year so what do you do with Konar? Would he re-up next year if they bump him aside this year? I'm betting a trade may be coming. If so, the Riders would be a great landing spot for him. We've got a lot of National LB's who are great special teams players & that's about it.
What was so bad about the 2014 picks?
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