Thursday, May 2, 2024

Thursday Morning Sentimonies: Assessing the 2024 Draft

The 2024 CFL Draft went down Tuesday. Coming into the draft there was lots of curiosity about what approach the Riders would take with Corey Mace now at the helm. That approach was apparently risk be damned.

It is really tough to give an assessment at this point on how we did because it’s a big question mark. 1-2 years from now we may look back on this draft and say “Damn, they nailed it”. We may also look back and put in it the same success category as 2016 (Josiah St John and David Oneymata for those without photographic CFL draft memory).


There is no doubt that the players we selected are talented. Talent-wise we got some of the best at their respective positions… well, we got their rights. Who knows if/when we actually see them in a Rider jersey. We seemed to take a strategy that we think our current Canadians are good enough and we are stocking the shelves for the future. That’s a quality strategy… if you are a currently successful team like say the Bombers. We have been stinking up the league for 2 straight years and while I don’t think our Canadian talent is bad, I do think there was room for improvement and this draft did nothing to help the 2024 season.


Let’s take a more detailed look at each pick:


1st Rd – OL Kyle Hergel

This pick was a rollercoaster of emotion. When I heard the Commissioner say “Riders select, offensive lineman..” I was on cloud 9. Finally! Years of complaining about O’Day’s refusal to draft OL early and he listened! The Ambrosie said the name and there was stunned silence. 3rd overall… the chance to draft any OL we want… and we take a guy already signed in the NFL. He’s legitimately one of the best OL in the draft no doubt but usually you want a sure thing at #3… particularly when your OL has been utter garbage for 2 seasons and you can have any OL you want in the draft. Sometimes swinging for the fences pans out. Dakota Shepley at #5 was risk but we didn’t wait overly long on him. Montreal is happy with how Lestage turned out. But Calgary is also still waiting for Amen Ogbongbemiga and Carter O’Donell ain’t coming back anytime soon.


If we were stacked at OL or if we were a later pick then sure take the chance. But this is a ton of risk when we have immediate needs and you might not get value on a 3rd overall pick for 1,2,3 years or never. So we wait. This could very well be a great pick but we won’t know for a while.


Side note, while I absolutely love the TSN panel they had for the draft why oh why did they interview Hergel? Such an awkward and useless conversation. Guy being polite but really not giving 2 craps about this draft because he is focused on the NFL (where he is currently signed). Don’t make the poor guy pretend to be polite.


2nd RD – LB Nick Wiebe

I actually like this pick. Is it a bit of a reach? Maybe. But if you truly think he’s a stud LB (and his resume would support this) then a second round pick is not an unreasonable price to pay. My only real issue is doubling up on risky picks. You take a sure thing in round 1 then this looks great. You swing for the fences in round 1 then maybe you get some certainty here. There is risk in terms of Wiebe’s recovery but its not an unprecedented injury.


3rd Rd – WR Dhel Duncan-Busby

I had to look up this guys college. Never heard of Bemidji State. Turns out it’s the home of beavers. Now a less mature Prophet would have probably made a joke about that. This more mature version of me still wants to make a joke but is too lazy. Even though we have a lot of Cdn depth at WR, I expect it to be tested during the season so more was definitely needed. Marshall Fergusson talked about how deep the receiving group was in the draft so I like that we waited and still probably got a good prospect. We could have used an OL or DL more here but there really wasn’t anyone worth chasing left.


4th Rd – LB Melique Straker

Probably the first pick of this draft I really liked without any reservation. Straker was a productive LB and between special teams and defensive depth you always need Canadian LBs. He has a great college resume and was a possibility to be drafted much higher were it not for disappointing testing at the combine. This is the perfect use of a 4th round pick.


5th Rd – OL Daniel Johnson

Back to the risk… which is actually perfectly ok at this point of the draft. Late to football, injuries, and an invite to Colts minicamp put all kinds of uncertainty on Johnson. Not to mention the last OL named Johnson we had was a terrible experience. Likely a developmental project (but that’s the kind of OL you get in the 5th round), normally the fact that Indy wants to take a look at him would give me some hope, but they also once signed Jordan Sisco so, you know, take it with a grain of salt.


6th – WR D’Sean Mimbs

I don't mean to devalue Mimbs specifically but I think its written in the constitution that the Riders must select one Regina Ram per draft. He comes from strong Rider lineage (yes that Mimbs). Book on him appears to be a fast dude with so-so hands. Were Chris Jones here Mimbs would be a projected starting safety.


7th Rd – WR Ajou Ajou

Probably overdoing it on the WRs at this point but its not like you picking from A list material in the 7th. Ajou is an intriguing prospect. Highly touted college recruit but he just seems to keep failing to live up to the potential. Worth a shot to see if we can bring out the talent that first got him noticed but his story reminds me a lot of another late Rider WR draft pick Josh Stanford. Worth a shot but did not pan out.


8th Rd – DB Richard Aduboffour

He’s an 8th round pick… what do you want me to say? Probably comes to training camp for a look but that’s about it.


Overall I don’t mind this draft class. We got good players. I don’t like how much risk we took on or that we are 6-12 team and at best this draft class may get us a practice roster WR in 2024. You do need to balance winning now with building a sustainable foundation. Time will tell if the risk is worth it.


Anonymous said...

Not much to say - you nailed it. Riders had chances to take someone on DL. Again, why are we stocking up on REC when there are pressing needs elsewhere. CFL guys & the Regina media keep mentioning we are starting 3 CDN's there. Not against getting 2 LB's (I see Chris is loading up there too😀) In 2nd round aA guy like Brubaker might have been a better pick IMO & addressed some DL issues.

One quick note on St. John - bad choice yeah. But to give the guy credit he had a 7 year career, mostly as a #6 guy. He wasn't the worst #1 ever when there were guys like Chapman & Ekikatie.

Rider Prophet said...

St John was far from the worst 1st round pick. The issue is more that we passed on a lot a really quality OL swinging for the fences. If St John was a second round pick he probably is widely viewed as a decent pick.