Since returning to the league Ottawa has been one of the most consistently successful teams in the league (3 Grey Cup appearances in the past 4 years). Now a large part of that success has to do with playing in a division where being mediocre is good enough to be way better than the rest of the teams. But their success has also been driven by their strong Canadian content.
Interesting fact for you from 2016 to present they have only traded away 5 of their picks… total. Some teams manage that in a year. Other interesting fact: the RedBlacks have only 3 people over the age of 30 on their roster.
Picks: 7 picks, first selection is 7th overall
2018 Draft Assessment: It was all about building depth, which is something they have the luxury of doing with a strong set of Canadian starters. First rounder Matt Korte builds depth at OL. Same with second rounder Dubois at receiver. So far the impact has been minimal but almost every pick is still on the roster so they could yet develop into something with more impact.
Potential Pipeline: DL Eli Ankou (NFL – Jacksonville). They also have the rights to DL Mehdi Abdesmad but he retired.
Current Strengths: They have 6 former first round picks at O-line. 5 of their own plus Philippe Gagnon acquired in free agency, That is some enviable depth there. Sinopoli remains the top Cdn WR in the league at this point and they added 2017 first rounder Nate Behar to further solidify that spot. Feoli-Guidino is an underrated contributor there as well. Pruneau gives them a defensive starter at safety. Latanzio and Klassen give them the needed 7th Canadian at DL. Also their kicker is kinda good. Something about breaking a pro football record as an undrafted rookie.
Current Needs: Too bad they can’t draft a new OC. Too soon? I was working on another joke about how at the combine Ottawa likely blocked prospects from interviewing with other teams as well… but I was honestly too lazy to turn it into something decent enough to post (you get what you pay for). D-line would be a good place to build. They finished third last in sacks last season and while Latanzio and Klassen are adequate they are hardly impact players. Given that they start 2 Cdn WR they could use some more depth there. Linebacker is another place to look. Beyond that they have very few glaring needs.
Prediction: In every single draft in RedBlack history except 2014 they have selected an OL with their first pick. They are nothing if not consistent. As much as they are creatures of habit I think this will mark the second time in franchise history they don’t take an OL first. D-line would make the most sense, though in the past their attempts to draft DL high have failed to materialize (Ankou, Abdesmad). Receiver would be the other place for them to look in the early rounds.