Jeremy O'Day has Quiet, but Great First Draft as GM
Published: Sunday, May 5th 2019, 9:05am
By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)
Jeremy O’Day went into his first CFL Draft as a General Manager with one thing in mind: Draft for need.
The Riders very clearly have issues at the receiver position, especially with the lack of depth from Canadians. Gone are the days of the Canadian Air Force with Andy Fantuz, Chris Getzlaf and Jason Clermont. Before the 2019 draft we were looking at receivers like Fullback/Receiver hybrid Patrick Lavoie, a 35 year old Cory Watson, and an unproven Mitchell Picton (and of course Jake Harty is likely out for the year after complications from surgery).
O’Day went out and got the best receiver in the draft in the first round at #6 overall, Justin McInnis from Arkansas State. McInnis had a mini-camp with the Indianapolis Colts this past weekend and has another one scheduled with the Tennessee Titans this upcoming weekend, so there is the possibility McInnis won’t be here for Training Camp, maybe until partway though the CFL season.
With that in mind, in the 2nd round, the Riders took receiver Brayden Lenius from New Mexico. Another tall receiver, Lenius actually grew up in Regina, his father was with the Riders and his mom still lives in Regina. Much like McInnis, Lenius had an NFL mini-camp invite this past weekend, with the San Francisco 49ers.
Still, O’Day got the top 2 receivers on his board in the first 2 rounds. Even if only one of them pans out and becomes a starter for the team in the next couple of years, O’Day will have knocked it out of the park.
The rest of the picks he made in the draft are solid and all make sense.
3rd Round – No pick (was apart of the trade with Montreal that brought QB Vernon Adams to Saskatchewan, who was later traded for DE Charleston Hughes)
4th Round – LB Jacob Janke, York – Another Canadian LB that can compete for a special teams role with Micah Teitz, Sam Hurl, Alexandre Gagne, Brandyn Bartlett and Alexandre Chevrier. Very clear that they want Canadian LB depth on the roster.
5th Round – DL Charbel Dabire, Wagner College – Depth behind starter Zack Evans. Will compete with Tresor Mafuta and Makana Henry to be on the roster.
6th Round – OL Vincent Roy, Sherbrooke – Surprisingly, the only O-Lineman taken by the Riders. O-Line wasn’t an area of need, however, especially after the Dakoda Shepley signing. A project player who still has one year of U-Sports eligibility. Will likely be at Training Camp in a few weeks and then sent back to school to finish his final year. Should join the team for Training Camp again in 2020.
7th Round – No pick (sent to Toronto for WR Brian Jones last year)
8th Round – DE Christopher Judge, Cal Poly – Maybe the most interesting pick in the entire CFL draft. Chris, the OLDER brother of Riders LB Cameron Judge, is 28 years old and hasn’t played football since 2015. It’s cool to see a pair of brothers on the same team and let’s be honest… it’s a final round pick… how often do these guys become starters, let alone make rosters? (Joshua Stanford the only one that comes to mind… but that shows how bad the Riders depth at Canadian receiver was). Worst case, Chris Judge gets cut like most late round picks. Best case, he plays special teams for a year or two. If that’s the case, it’s a great pick.
Overall, I thought Jeremy O’Day did a good job with the limited picks he had. He got arguably the two best receivers in the biggest position of need for the team and a couple of guys that can come in now and compete for backup/special teams roles.
Next year, I expect him to be more active to address the O-Line, but for 2019, the O-Line is looking VERY solid with 6 or 7 Canadians that can start.
We’ll be talking about the draft more on Episode 114 of the Piffles Podcast, coming out Tuesday. We’ll be joined by TSN 1150’s Marshall Ferguson who will share his thoughts on the draft and who he thought were the biggest winners from Thursday night.