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No O-Line Love, No Problem

Published: Wednesday, May 3rd 2023, 2:05pm

By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD


The Saskatchewan Roughriders shocked many on Tuesday night as they didn’t go heavy on drafting Offensive Linemen, like many fans wanted. And I’m glad they didn’t.


First off, General Manager Jeremy O’Day has done pretty well in his tenure at the CFL Draft, I think he deserves a bit of leeway here. I’ve definitely been critical of the team’s management, but their Canadian talent is not one to be upset about.


Second, despite what many believe, I don’t think the cupboard is bare for Canadian O-Lineman for the Riders. Yes, last year was awful and they needed help in the trenches, but they did address that in free agency and will have a few more draft picks from last year coming to camp this year. 


Philip Blake will likely be the starting Left Tackle, though he can play anywhere on the O-Line and may end up going to Right Guard. Logan Ferland learned a lot last year and will only improve. Peter Godber will replace Dan Clark at Center and he has only gotten better in his career. Logan Bandy didn’t look too out of place, even with some growing pains. He’ll continue to grow and he could push for a starting spot. Evan Johnson… well, I’ll give you that one. He’s been terrible here and I hope they find better. Maybe one of those guys is Zack Fry, last year’s 2nd round pick. I really like him and I sure hope he can beat Johnson out at some point this year for the Right Guard position. Another draft pick from last year, Diego Alatorre-Montoya is coming to camp this year and the team just signed Matthew Derks, who was with the Ottawa Redblacks in Training Camp last year.


So looking at what they have, they didn’t need to reach for an O-Lineman if someone better on the board was there. I really love what Duane Ford said on the TSN broadcast at the end of the draft on Tuesday night when they were talking about the lack of offensive linemen taken. 15 years ago, even if the draft class for O-Linemen was weak, teams would still draft them high and try to force the picks. The other positions have come so far in their talent, that you just can’t ignore them anymore. This year’s draft class was apparently weak for O-Linemen as well, with only 11 drafted. We used to see 11 OL drafted in the first 2 rounds!


The Riders have enough depth now with their Canadians at Defensive Back, Receiver and Linebacker where they can start 2 DBs, 2 WRs, 1 LB and go 3 OL and not force a 4th OL starter if they aren’t ready. The team has tremendous flexibility with their Canadians now where they don’t NEED to go hard after the O-Line. And Jeremy O’Day deserves credit for that.


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