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.