Based on my pre draft write up, you would assume that I was unhappy with how the Riders drafted on Tuesday. Actually, in a turn of events that surprised even me, despite the lack of O-linemen I did not hate O’Day’s pick this time around. I was fully prepped to pen this post and lambaste him for another year of poor drafting, but I won’t. Based on how the draft fell, I think he did a good job.
Dontae Bull should have been target #1 but apparently Ottawa agreed with that assessment and swooped him before anyone else had a chance. There really wasn’t another OL worth the 3rd overall pick so shifting gears and going DL made sense. That said, I guarantee you that our 3rd pick would not have changed even if Bull had been still available. O’Day said as much. But that is a moot point. O’Day managed to address a lack of top end defensive Canadians and somehow managed to not prioritize receivers for the first time in years.
Round 1 (3) DL Lake Korte-Moore
Outside of OL, D-line was the biggest need in terms of Canadians. Gone are the days of Evans, Shologan, Shultz. Its about the only Canadian position O’Day has prioritized lower than OL over his time as GM and the fact all we currently had was Dabire reflects that. Korte-Moore is a high motor guy we brings good power. He can step in immediately on teams and rotating at DL and has the potential to become a starter in the near future. I like this pick.
Round 2 (11) DB Jaxon Ford
This one took me a while to warm up to. I would have thought OL Grohovac was the logical pick here. Also, I am always leery of Riders taking hometown kids, wondering if its prioritizing a nice headline over smart drafting. To those who think that doesn’t happen, two words for you… Jordan Sisco. But the more I read about Ford the more I got the sense that he warranted a top 15 pick regardless of his last name. The safety spot is losing a rock solid veteran in Mike Edem. I love Dalke but he’s largely unproven. In theory Lokombo should be a starter by now but injuries have slowed his development. A smart, physical safety is not the worst use of a second round pick. I think out of principle TSN should bring Rod Black for one last CFL game when Jaxon plays. He would certainly have some insightful information to share on him throughout the game.
Round 3 (21) LB Matt Dean
We were one pick away from Grohovac falling to us in the 3rd but Edmonton swooped him. Dean helps build some potential depth behind Teitz. Dean has good athleticism. I don't think many of us expected Teitz to turn into a starter, so you never know what Dean's ceiling could be.
Round 4 (30) RB Thomas Betrand-Hudon
Kienan LaFrance turns 32 this season so the search begins for a RB who can potentially fill his role primarily on teams but also as an emergency RB. At 227 lbs he’s a big dude. His university career was hampered by a couple major injuries.
Round 6 (48) OL Sidy Sow
This is what we call a lotto ticket pick. Sow was the 2nd best Canadian OL in the draft but he was taken in the 4th round of the NFL draft by New England. So odds are slim he comes north and if he does it will be a while. But honestly for as often as a 6th round pick pans out, I don’t mind swinging for the fences here. I looked back over the last 10 years and only found 2 Rider draft picks taken in the 6th or later that amounted to anything that being Jayden Dalke (6th, 2022) and Alexandre Chevrier (7th in 2017). I don’t like using early picks on NFL players (i.e. what we did with Oneymata) but for a 6th round pick I’m totally OK with this. For a very low cost we maintain Sow’s rights forever. Hell our own Philip Blake is an example of a guy drafted in the NFL but ended up coming back. Alouettes had to wait 3 years to get him but once they did he was worth the wait.
Round 7 (57) OL Evan Floren
This is an interesting one to watch. 3DownNation had him rated as one of the best OL in a thin draft class. Now obviously there was a reason that every GM in the league repeatedly passed on him and to be blunt, I don’t really expect a 7th round OL to amount to anything. But more than one person saw something of value in Floren’s film so he likely warrants taking a chance on.
Round 7 (60) LB Nick Thomas
With due respect to Thomas who I’m sure will come in and compete with all he has, I sincerely doubt a 7th round LB is cracking this roster. At least there will be some competition in camp at LB.
Exact same comments as Sow. 8th round picks almost never pan out so taking a chance on the 4th round pick of the Baltimore Ravens has as good a chance of anything of succeeding. The Riders seem intent on building the best hypothetical Canadian D-line imaginable as we now have the rights to David Oneymata, Neville Gallimore and Tavius Robinson.