The Balancing Act of the CFL Draft (2013 CFL Draft Preview)

cfl-draft4529The CFL Draft does not have the hype surrounding it that it’s cousin to the south does but it continued to get bigger. The CFL is a constantly growing league as they look to make events out of everything like the league that does it the best to the South. The NFL has become the most successful sports league in North America because they have figured out how to make every event a major deal. The CFL is a much smaller league but they are learning from their close cousins in the south. The CFL is looking to be a bigger league and generally a bigger deal in the sports world of Canada. As the CFL continues to try to grow they are taking lessons from the NFL in creating events out of everything that happens. The Grey Cup continues to get bigger while special weekends like Opening weekend around Canada Day and Labour Day weekend continue to be big for the league. They are trying to do the same with the CFL Draft as TSN continues to show why they have an exclusive TV deal. TSN and CFL team up to broadcast the Draft and make a legitimate event out of the addition of the new generation of players. There are some marked differences between the NFL and CFL draft though as TSN and CFL work around them to make it a truly unique event. In the CFL there are only 8 teams giving a lot less chance for players to be taken by a team. This year the ratio will be somewhat better with the newest CFL team making their debut in the CFL. The Ottawa franchise will begin to build their team in the entry draft before the expansion draft this December. Another unique part of the CFL draft is that the CIS, where the majority of the draft eligible players will come from, does not get the same exposure as the NCAA. As a result of this the players being drafted in the CFL Draft are generally not as big names as many in the NFL draft. Possibly the most unique part of the CFL draft though is the fact that there is a major decision to make that the NFL scouts and management need to weigh in to the decision. In the NFL when a player is drafted there is a 100% chance that he will be in camp for the NFL team. In the CFL draft when a player is drafted they may not be in CFL camp as many are looking to the NFL for a free agent deal or have been drafted by a team in the NFL. This adds another issue that management needs to look at before pulling the trigger on a draft pick. They need to pay attention to players who could be good additions but may be a wasted pick if there is some interest from the NFL that will pay more money. Add all of this to the fact that the CFL GMs need to ensure that a ratio is held up between Canadian and non-Canadian players and you have plenty to think about before drafting. There are a lot of things that make the CFL Draft a unique sports event but one thing remains the same through any draft in any league. The new generation of players is ready to make an impact in the CFL and their first step will be the CFL Draft. Teams will be looking for that new addition that can provide something that they do not have. Whether it’s for depth or for a spot that needs to be filled right now and where there is no fill from free agents. A new crop of CFL players will enter the league as the now 9 teams in the CFL look for someone who can help them to the 101st Grey Cup.


1st Round Mock Draft

1. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats made a lot of moves in 2012 but many were on offence as they almost ignored the defence leading them to last place in the league. Now they will try to go with a defensive player as they try to even out the team by drafting a defensive player. The Ti-Cats have a good amount of defensive lineman but it will be hard to pass on Linden Gaydosh who can have an impact immediately as the Ti-Cats will have plenty of options on the defensive front.
Who They Will Draft:
Linden Gaydosh, DT (Calgary Dinos)

2. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
The Blue Bombers are always looking for more defensive talent and with an offence that they believe is stable enough to win. To keep the ratio right and continue to build a fearsome defence that was known as Swaggerville a few years ago the Bombers will likely go with another Canadian defender. Providing more depth could be the best option as the Bombers will likely take the best athlete in the draft in Mike Edem.
Who They Will Draft:
Mike Edem, LB/S (Calgary Dinos)

3. Montreal Alouettes (via Edmonton)
The Alouettes have the luxury of having two first round picks meaning they can fill two holes rather quickly. The first one will likely be a pick that they can use in order to improve their ratio on the offensive line. Matt Sewell is a good fit as the Als have two import tackles and adding a non-import tackle can improve their ratio and provide a young talent to develop for the future which may have to happen after he signed with the Tennessee Titans.
Who They Will Draft:
Matt Sewell, OT (McMaster Marauders)

4. Saskatchewan Roughriders
The Roughriders had a very strange year last year as they would begin the year with a terrible start but would turn things around later. Now they are looking to add another player to a team that is expecting to be better all around as they hope for a home town Grey Cup appearance. They will take a back up for new addition Rickey Foley and someone who can have an impact on Specials team as Ben D’Aguilar could be the next Rickey Foley.
Who They Will Draft:
Ben D’Aguilar, DL (McMaster Marauders)

5. Montreal Alouettes
The Alouettes will take their second pick in the first round and will use it to try to fill one of their few needs. The Alouettes have one of the best wide receivers corps in the CFL which has made them a great team for years. What they don’t have as a part of this group is a lot of Canadian content but that will change as they should pick up Seydou Junior Haidara to provide another weapon for Anthony Calvillo.
Who They Will Draft:
Seydou Junior Haidara, WR (Laval Rouge et Or)

6. BC Lions
The Lions are simply looking to continue their strong run as one of the best teams in the CFL as they hope to get back to the Grey Cup. As they enter the draft there are few holes for them to fill but there is always need for depth. This is where Corey Watman will come in as the offensive line is getting older and will soon need to be replaced so drafting a good replacement could be the best move at this spot.
Who They Will Draft:
Corey Watman, OL (Eastern Michigan Pirates)

7. Calgary Stampeders
The Stampeders did lose some people in the offseason and one was Brian Bulcke who they need to replace if they hope to be contenders again in 2013. They’re will be plenty of options but many will be gone as the NFL draft has reduced the amount of players who will come to the CFL for opening day. One of the safer picks that they can take and have an immediate impact will be Brent Urban who has plenty of experience from the NCAA.
Who They Will Draft:
Brent Urban, DL (Virginia Cavaliers)

8. Toronto Argonauts
The Argonauts are the defending champions but they are not the same team as the one that won the Grey Cup a year ago. There are a few spots that need addressing but at this point in the draft there are plenty of risky picks that may never step foot on a CFL field. The Argos could go with a defensive lineman here but Matt Vonk is the safest pick as he will be in the CFL and is one of the most consistent players in the CIS.
Who They Will Draft:
Matt Vonk, OL (Waterloo Warriors)

9. Ottawa
They don’t have a name yet and they don’t have a player on their roster but the new Ottawa franchise will change that in the draft. It will be a unique situation for any player who is drafted as they will be on a team that doesn’t technically exist yet. The Ottawa franchise could go any way with this pick but the smart money says they go with a local boy in one of the most important positions in football.
Who They Will Draft:
Brander Craighead, OT (UTEP Miners)

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