I’m back. Did you miss me? Did you even notice I was gone? Did you I assume that I ended up on the wrong side of a Mexican drug deal and was forced to do things I’m not proud of to survive south of the border?
Well I did go to Mexico and was greeted with Winter Part 18 upon my return. The important thing is that I’m back and ready to jump headfirst into the season. The draft and training camp are coming up quick.
Let’s take a look at the Riders’ Canadian content heading into the draft.
Picks: 8 picks, first selection is 3rd Overall
Potential Pipeline: DL David Oneymata (Atlanta/Never coming to the CFL), TE Anthony Auclair (NFL free agent), DL Neville Gallimore (Dallas).
The injury to Schaefer-Baker is a short term downgrade
but overall the Riders are pretty strong at Canadian receiver. When healthy
Baker is a stud. Lenius is solid. Picton is a versatile and underrated
receiver. We’ll see if Emilus can take a step forward and start earning his
first round draft pick status in year 2. Brescacin is there for depth and keep
an eye on Boersma who caught eyes in training camp last season.
Defensively we have a bona fide starter in Teitz. I still maintain my status as chairman of the Charbel Dabire fan. I think Jayden Dalke will start at safety and be a star. We have some good depth at DB with Lokombo, 2 Oneyka’s and Beaulieu.
Two guys who are stone cold studs on special teams and should not be overlooked are Brett Lauther and the often forgotten but always spot on Jorgen Hus. Guys like LaFrance, Awachie and LaBelle will be unheralded but are important role players.
Our O-line was god awful but if you are looking for a silver lining, I see two potential positives. First, despite his age, Philip Blake proved he can still be a reliable starter at every position, including tackle where we have lacked anything resembling competence for 2 years. Second, we have a super young group. Outside of Blake our oldest Cdn OL is 28. Still potential to turn this group into a long-term success.
receiver and kicker I would label every position an area of need. We have
spoken ad nauseum about the need to upgrade the OL. That has to start will a
commitment to drafting OL early. Particularly this year when the
draft is reportedly thin on top end OL.
On defense ask yourself honestly, what happens if Teitz
gets hurt? And while I think Dalke and Dabire have potential, Teitz is the only
legit Canadian starter we have on D as of right now. In theory Lokombo should
be ready to step in but he hasn’t stayed healthy so far. Beaulieu can start in
a pinch but is hardly an impact player other than on teams.
should happen and what I think will actually happen are 2 very different
scenarios. As mentioned, there are few top end OL in this draft. There are some
impact defenders out there particularly at DL. What we should do is take and OL
first. Sidy Sow is the best but is NFL bound so that should land us on Dontae
Bull or maybe Phillip Grohovac. Second pick should be a DL or LB such as
could maybe make a case to take a defender at #3 which may land you a Lwal
Uguak or Francis Beimy. Then you can still likely get and OL at #11 in the
second round. This would not be the worst but for obvious reasons, I prefer
is likely to happen? I think Jeremy O’Day gonna O’Day and there is not way he
can resist taking a receiver we don’t need in round 1 or 2. He’ll say all the
right things “he was too good to pass on” blah blah blah. Wanna know why we
have a crap OL and good Canadian receivers? It has to do with priorities. Still
not convinced has learned his lesson and is willing to prioritize OL.