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Saskatchewan Roughriders 2024 Draft – Draft by Position or Best Player Available?

Published: Tuesday, Apr 2nd 2024, 12:04pm

By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)


With the calendar flipping over to April, we are now only 4 weeks away from the CFL Draft! The Saskatchewan Roughriders have the #3 overall pick in the upcoming Draft (and the 3rd pick in each of the 8 rounds, for that matter) and I wonder…. What do the Riders do with that first pick?


Disclaimer: I’m not one that follows college ball in Canada or the US very closely. I’ll half pay attention to what’s going on, but I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I know who the top prospects are (follow 3 Down Nation for that). I’m strictly looking at positional needs for the Riders and not WHO I think it will be.



Normally I like the approach of taking the best player available. When it comes to Canadian talent in the CFL, you shouldn’t let a great talent get away because you may think you have a bigger want at a different position. The good teams will figure out a way with their ratio. Currently, the Riders have the Canadian depth in many spots on the roster that they can go with the best player available approach.


So what do the Riders do at #3 overall? Is there an impact player in the draft that can actually come in and contribute immediately? Not just on special teams, but on either offense or defense? If there is, I say the Riders need to go that route and then spend the rest of the draft going for position of need/want and in the later rounds, getting guys that still have eligibility left in University (much like they did last year with Evan Floren).


Should the Riders go with a position of need? If that’s the case, I’d like to see them go into the trenches on the Defensive Line. Right now, there is only Charbel Dabire, Nicholas Dheilly and Lake Korte-Moore. And let’s be honest, none of them are really challenging for a starting position, just rotational roles. And because of the lack of depth there, you can’t really make them one of your 7 Canadian starters. If the team has 8 or 9 Canadian starters, you can have one of them start, but for now, I just don’t see the depth there to make it happen. That’s why I’d like to see another D-Lineman brought in, we haven’t seen an impactful Canadian anchor on that D-Line since Keith Shologan.


Kian Schaffer-Baker (4th round pick in 2020)


How about another receiver? The Riders have Sam Emilus & Kian Schaffer-Baker as their starters with Brayden Lenius & Mitch Picton as their backups (who will also get plenty of reps). It wouldn’t hurt to have another one in the wings to learn the pro game and potentially be ready for 2025 if Emilus gets more NFL opportunities, even after signing his 1 year extension. There’s plenty of chatter amongst fans that the Riders should start 3 Canadians at receiver, but to do that, they’d need some more depth. If that is an option for the coaching staff, it might be wise to take another receiver in the first couple of rounds.


And it never hurts to go with O-Linemen. General Manager Jeremy O’Day did a very good job in free agency upgrading the O-Line, but you can never have too many quality Canucks on the O-Line. They have their Canadian starters in place with Logan Ferland, Peter Godber & Ryan Sceviour, with Philip Blake as well. Plus depth is there with Logan Bandy, Zack Fry, Noah Zerr & Evan Floren, but I’d still make sure that a few of the Riders 8 picks this year are some O-Linemen.


Finally, maybe the team looks at trading that pick away and acquiring more picks later in this draft or next year’s draft. I don’t think this is how it’s going to play out, but if the coaching staff and scouts think that this year draft class is a deep group, maybe we do see a trade down from that #3 spot and get a few more mid round picks.


We’ll find out on April 30th what the plan is for O’Day and Head Coach Corey Mace when the CFL Draft takes place.


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