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Two Things I Learned From the Roughriders Canadian Draft Class

Published: Thursday, May 2nd 2024, 11:05am

By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)

 

The Saskatchewan Roughriders 2024 Draft Class started out as a bit of a head scratcher for some fans, but after looking back on it, I think we can all be fairly happy with how it played out. At least, that’s what us here at Piffles Podcast think based off our grades given out about the draft class.
And looking at the picks made, there’s two things that stood out for me that are crystal clear from General Manager Jeremy O’Day and Head Coach Corey Mace.

 

Number one: The Riders are happy with their Canadian content RIGHT NOW. To use their first two draft picks on guys that won’t be available for Training Camp next week sounded silly to me at first (I said as much immediately after the Draft on episode 267 of The Piffles Podcast). But also looking at how the roster has shaped up, it’s obvious the team feels confident with their Canadians in 2024. They didn’t NEED anyone to come in tomorrow to make an impact and that’s a good thing.

Sure, there’s some risk taking a guy at #3 overall that signed an NFL deal to go to mini-camp, but the confidence in drafting O-Lineman Kyle Hergel that high showed me that the Riders like the O-Line grouping of Logan Ferland, Peter Godber, Ryan Sceviour, Philip Blake, Zack Fry, Noah Zerr & Evan Floren. The Riders can afford to wait a year on Hergel if that’s what it takes.

Same with taking Linebacker Nick Wiebe in the 2nd round. He’s coming off a serious knee injury and may not be able to come back at all this season. But again, with Adam Auclair, A.J. Allen, Jaxon Ciraolo-Brown, Matt Dean, Jordan Herdman-Reed, Justin Herdman-Reed, and Nick Thomas all under contract, the team must be feeling pretty good about their Canadian LBs.

 


Number two: You can safely welcome back the Canadian Air Force 2.0 to Riderville. Ever since JO took over as GM of the Riders in 2019, he’s made it a clear priority that the team is not going to start just one Canadian receiver, two is the absolute minimum… and it sure looks like the plan is to have three Canadian receivers in the starting lineup in 2024.

Going back through all of his drafts, O’Day has taken Justin McInnis (1st round, 2019), Brayden Lenius (2nd round, 2019), Kian Schaffer-Baker (4th round, 2020), Terrell Jana (2nd round, 2021), Samuel Emilus (1st round, 2022), Riley Boersma (8th round, 2022) and the three receivers in this year’s draft, Dhel Duncan-Busby, D’Sean Mimbs and Ajou Ajou. You can also add Mitch Picton in there from the 2017 CFL Draft.

O’Day has spent a lot of capital, including some high draft picks on trying to recreate the Andy Fantuz, Chris Getzlaf and Rob Bagg days. It makes sense, that’s when the Riders had their greatest run in team history.

I didn’t think it was a huge need coming into this year, but with the NFL interest Emilus and KSB have had over the last couple of years and the injury history of Lenius, O’Day is making sure he is set up for 2025 and beyond.

Andy Fantuz & Rob Bagg (photo courtesy The Canadian Press)

 

I know it’s cliche, but trust the process. It’s very clear to me what the plan is for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and their Canadian content moving forward.

 

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