We take a look at the first East team of this preview today. Over the last 2 years Hamilton has loaded up on early round picks. They had 4 top 20 picks that season and have another 3 this year. Side note
Picks: 8 picks, first selection is 2nd Overall
2018 Draft Assessment: Tough to call a draft a success when you use the first overall pick on a guy that still has not signed. That said, despite that 2018 was still pretty good for the Ti-Cats. Their other first round pick turned into Darius Ciraco who started every game in his rookie season. They also got Jackson Bennett in round 2 who had some good plays on special teams and I think is a guy poised for a step forward in year 2. Add in a few other depth picks and you have a pretty good draft class. If Chapman ever reports it could end up being a great one. 5th round pick Justin Buren was a guy they were high on (he started the last 6 games) but he retired.
Potential Pipeline: DL Brent Urban (NFL – free agent), DL Nathan Shepard (neg list, NY Jets), WR Mark Chapman (AAFL)
Current Strengths: Pretty solid across the board. The interior of theor O-line is good and young. Mike Filer is the “old” one at 29. Ciraco and Revenberg have turned out to be great first round picks for the Ti-Cats. Add in Girard and Rice for depth They have 3 potential starters at D-line with Laurent, Westerman and Cappicciotti (man I hate having to type that name). Add in McGough and Vaugh for depth and they are set there. Mike Daly, newly signed Tunde Adleke and Jackson Bennett have them solid at DB. Mike Jones had a breakout year at WR. RB Sean Thomas-Erlington (and 8th round pick in 2017) turned some heads last season and proved he can be a solid rotational RB.
Current Needs: The ratio likely dictates starting 2 Cdn Wrs. Mike Jones has one of those spots. But the other one? Chambers has played more than 6 just once in the past 4 years so I wouldn’t be counting on him. Brian Jones is serviceable (honestly to Rider fans even remember he played for us last year?). So unless they get Chapman under contract, they will need more depth there. While they are OK at OL for now the Ti-Cats have only drafted 4 Cdn OL in the past 5 years… that is not a typo. They could also use to build some depth at LB/special teams. While they did just re-sign Hajrullahu if you have followed his career he tends to be really good only in alternating years. Given that last year was pretty good that doesn’t bode well for 2019.
Prediction: I see the Ti-Cats using two picks on and OL and a WR. I’m just not sure in what order. With no clear cut #1 receiver and picking second overall my guess is they go OL in the first round (Drew Desjarlais, Zach Wilkinson, Jesse Gibbon) and then target a WR like Kayon Julien-Grant or Kurleigh Gittens in Round 2.