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Piffles Top 5 – Swing and a Miss CFL Draft Picks Under Riders GM Jeremy O’Day

Published: Monday, Apr 29th 2024, 3:04pm

By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD


For the record, this is ALL in fun and is in no way meant to crap on anyone. The CFL Draft is traditionally a bit of a crapshoot where top end picks don’t pan out and mid-round picks do. Every team has hits and misses, that’s just how it goes. Last week, I did my Top 5 (Best) Draft Picks the Riders have had with General Manager Jeremy O’Day in charge, so in the interest of fairness, fun and a bit (a lot of) hindsight, here’s my Top 5 Swing and a Miss Draft Picks the Riders have had with JO making the call. 




Nelson Lokombo – photo courtesy Huskies Athletics


5. DB Nelson Lokombo (2021 – Round 1, 2nd overall)

The reason I start my list with Lokombo is not because he is a bad player. It’s just that for being drafted 2nd overall, he hasn’t panned out like we had hoped. I know the knee injury hurt his career before it even got started, but he’s been jumped on the roster by Jayden Dalke (a 6th round pick) and Jaxon Ford (a 2nd round pick). 2024 is a make or break year for Lokombo, in my opinion. If he can’t stay healthy or contribute more than just on special teams, I’ll have to say it’s time for the Riders to move on.


4. LB Jakob Janke (2019 – Round 4, 35th overall) & LB Tommy Bringi (2022 – Round 4, 36th overall)

The Riders have done a pretty decent job in mid rounds over the last few years with taking Linebackers like A.J. Allen who has come in and contributed on Special Teams and sometimes rotationally on defense, but they’ve also had some misses. Janke and Bringi are a couple of those misses when the team was trying to find a strong backup to Micah Teitz and Cameron Judge when they wore green and white. 


3. WR Terrell Jana (2021 – Round 2, 17th overall)

It always sucks when you draft a guy then he ups and retires on you without ever really taking the field. It sucks even more when you use a 2nd round pick on him. Jana was a big swing and a miss for the green and white, playing only 2 games and having one catch, but on the plus side, not too many players in this draft class have really panned out for anyone.


2. WR Justin McInnis (2019 – Round 1, 6th overall)

At the time, Jeremy O’Day‘s first draft pick of his own seemed like a great pick, especially with O’Day wanting to recreate the Canadian Air Force on the roster. The reason this is a bad pick for the Riders is because they let him go to BC and have his breakout season in 2023, opting to keep Brayden Lenius and his injury history instead. 


Mattland Riley – photo courtesy Huskies Athletics


1. OL Mattland Riley (2020 – Round 1, 7th overall)

The biggest swing and a miss for O’Day and the Riders over JO’s tenure is for sure Riley. He was hyped up as being the next big thing, Brendan LaBatte’s replacement and he is a Sasky guy, so the stars were aligned. Of course, Covid wiped out the 2020 season and in 2021, Riley only dressed in one game before retiring from football just before Training Camp in 2022. The Riders really could have used a young stud on the O-Line over the past few years and we could have missed out on the Evan Johnson Experience. Sigh, what might have been… As I said, it sucks when you draft a guy and retires, it sucks more when you waste a high pick on him.


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