Alex’s Tuesday Takes – Who Should the Riders Draft?
Published: Tuesday, Mar 26th 2019, 2:03pm
By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)
The CFL just held their National Combine this past weekend where college students and now, the top ‘Global’ talent got to show their talents and measurables to the nine CFL teams in hopes of getting the draft call on May 2nd.
Look, I’ll level with you, I don’t watch U-Sports, NCAA football, nor will I pretend to know who these guys are and who are on the tops of the draft boards. I wish I had that kind of time, but I just don’t. That said, I now what the Riders currently have on their roster and where they need the most Canadian help. So I’ll focus on the positions that I would like to see the Riders draft in each round of the 2019 draft.
We’ll start with a look at who the Riders have right now and go from there (projected starters in bold).
OL – Brendan Labatte, Dan Clark, Phillip Blake, Dariusz Bladek, Dakoda Shepley, Emmanuel Adusei, Braden Schram
RB/FB – Albert Awachie, Kienan LaFrance
WR – Patrick Lavoie, Cory Watson, Mitchell Picton, (Jake Harty)
DL – Zack Evans, Makana Henry, Jordan Reaves, Tresor Mafuta, Mathieu Breton,
LB – Cameron Judge, Sam Hurl, Micah Teitz, Alexandre Gagne, Adrian Clarke, Alexandre Chevrier, Brandyn Bartlett
DB – Mike Edem, Denzel Radford
K – Brett Lauther, Tyler Crapigna
P – Josh Bartel
LS – Jorgen Hus
When we look at the projected starters, the Riders are in pretty good shape. Depth wise, we do find some holes. The most important group is the O-Line and with the recent signing of Dakoda Shepley, drafting an OL in the first (or even second) round isn’t as big a priority as it was just a few shot weeks ago.
The Riders have 6 picks in this years’ draft and I think they’ll end up making a deal or two to add a few more picks (we’ll discuss that next week), but we will just go with what they have right now.
1st Round – Pick #6 – This is no longer a priority to get an O-Lineman, thanks to the Shepley signing. Sure, Labatte, Clark and Blake are all up there in age, but they don’t NEED someone to come in and contribute now. With this pick, they HAVE to go with a receiver. Lavoie was good for the team in his limited role and time last season and that will expand in 2019, but he is far from an impact player. The best receiver available needs to come to Saskatchewan in this spot. They haven’t drafted their own star Canadian receiver since 2006 when Andy Fantuz was drafted (Rob Bagg was undrafted and Chris Getzlaf was drafted by Hamilton and acquired via trade) and they need to stop trying to find stop gap solutions. Enough of making the Canadian receiver spot a token spot. Let’s get in a solid contributor who can become a star. RECEIVER.
2nd Round – Pick #15 – I would go one of a few ways here. First, O-Line. You can NEVER have enough good, young Canadian O-Lineman. Second, D-Line. After Zack Evans, the Riders have a solid rotational guy in Makana Henry, but questions behind that. I would like to see another DL project that could become a starter in 2 years to pair with Evans, but I think that can wait until next year. Finally, DB. Mike Edem is the for sure starter at Safety, but what if he goes down to injury? Denzel Radford is a converted receiver and has played in games at Safety, but is he the answer? Would the team alter the ratio and put an American there and move Cory Watson to a starter role? Adding a DB that has some great tutors around him in the DB group would give him time to learn and grow in the system. DEFENSIVE BACK.
4th Round – Pick #33 – Should the Riders go with a receiver and defensive back with their first couple of picks, O-Line is the no brainer here. Gotta keep that pipeline flowing. O-LINEMAN.
5th Round – Pick #42 – Here’s where you are drafting for depth and maybe one of these guys becomes a starter in a few years. Given the holes at receiver, that’s where I go here. RECEIVER.
6th Round – Pick #51 – O-Lineman. Clearly a projection pick, hopefully he can take a year or two on the Practice Roster and grow into a roster player. O-LINEMAN.
8th Round – Pick #69 – Joshua Stanford is an anomaly in the sense that you can find a starter in the 8th round. The last 3-4 round picks are all shots in the dark, so go with either a Lineman or where you need some help. DEFENSIVE BACK.
Bottom Line, Jeremy O’Day needs to find a couple guys in the first 2 rounds that can come in a contribute now, not go for guys that MIGHT shake free in 3-4 years. Other than Chris Jones’ disastrous 2016 draft, the last couple years have found some really solid players. O’Day will look to keep that going in his first year in charge.
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