Thursday the Canadian draft went down. By now you’ve probably forgotten about the German receiver we drafted in the European draft or the 3 amigos we drafted in the Mexican draft (pretty sure one was an O-lineman). But the Canadian Draft is the big one… in that there are currently rules allowing them roster spots and a chance that those drafted will actually see the field this season. (I’m not anti CFL 2.0, actually for it, just realistic about the short term impact of it all).
It was Jeremy O’Day’s first draft as GM and he made 6 selections. Overall I’d say he did well… though as O’Day himself said if you’re a GM and you don’t feel good after the draft then you haven’t done a very good job. Everyone thinks their draft class is awesome at this point. As was widely expected the Riders targeted a receiver in Round 1. What wasn’t expected was them doing the same with their second pick. Though unexpected, given their huge lack of depth at the position, nabbing 2 top end WR prospects is not a bad decision. I’ll break down each pick below but if you know anything about the CFL Draft its that Rounds 1-3 are where you get your top end talent and 4-8 are for depth players and the odd player that actually becomes an impact player (lotto tickets if you will). So while I’m not completely discounting our late round picks, odds are, the success of this draft will be dictated by the success of the top 2 WRs.
Let take a look at the picks:
Round 1 – WR Justin McInnis
At 6’6, McInnis is a big bodied WR who has speed to go along with his size. The Riders haven’t had a top end Cdn WR prospect since they drafted Demksi in 2015 and before that Fantuz in 2006. Sure Jordan Sisco appeared in between there but I’m pretty sure Canadian is the only word that applies to him out of top-end Cdn WR. But back to McInnis. He has mini-camp invites to Indy and Tennessee but well worth the risk, given how few mini-camp invites turn into NFL deals.
Round 2 – WR Brayden Lenius-Dickey
I don’t think many (us included) expected him to fall this far. Like McInnis, he has height (6’5) but at 240 lbs he’s a very different type of player. He’s more like a Lavoie-type who can play receiver but also had the size to play tight end or fullback. He also has a mini-camp invite in San Francisco. Assuming Steve McAdoo can actually figure out how to use a versatile player like Lenius-Dickey (for obvious reasons I will insist on using the second part of his last name) we should be a good add. Let’s all remember that we started Josh Stanford and Devon Bailey last season.
Round 4 – LB Jacob Janke
Projects as a safety in the CFL (where we need more depth) and was coveted because of his strong play on special teams. We already have a solid group of special teams players but in the 4th round this is exactly the type of player you can expect to get.
Round 5 – DL Charbel Dabire
He’s 300 lbs and plays DT… that pretty much covers why we targeted him. Obviously he is a developmental project because players this big who are solid are top round picks. But we need depth behind Evans and Henry so it’s the right position to look for developmental projects. Can’t say I’ve ever seen the name Charbel before. It’s almost enough to make me want to endorse him in training camp… thus cursing him to failure.
Round 6 – OL Vincent Roy
You can’t teach size and at 6’5, 285 Roy has that. Being realistic here as a 6th round pick Roy either ends up on the PR or goes back to school (assuming he still has eligibility) and hopefully develops down the road. The victory will be if he sticks around long enough for us to learn if its pronounced Roy like Roy Romanow or like Patrick Roy.
Round 8 – LB Christopher Judge
I had to make sure I heard right when they said he was the older brother of Cameron. He’ll be 28 when camp starts and hasn’t played in a few years. Apparently he was quite the special teams player in college. Look people may make fun at this pick but honestly he’s as likely to pan out as any other 8th round pick.