2015 CFL Draft: What Happened?

Poto Credit: OttawaCitizen.ca

Photo Credit: OttawaCitizen.ca

The CFL Draft is done and a host of new Canadians will look to try to make an impact on the CFL field but once again it is not that simple in the CFL.

In the NFL, NBA, and NHL drafts players are taken early because they can make an impact immediately.

These players are given big money and are often chosen as the saviours of the franchise.

In the CFL Draft there are limitations and quite often it is not the top option for teams to get their biggest talent.

The best option for most teams is to use free agency and the negotiation list to find top talent. That generally means Americans who make up the majority of the skilled positions in the CFL.

So the CFL Draft turns into something different as teams use it to find Canadian talent and take Canadian players that can help their ratio and play important, if not always flashy, roles on the team.

Many of these players will not be heard from in the coming years as they make up the groups that get little to no credit on the field.football-sidebar

That, of course, being the offensive lineman who do the grunt work and get little credit in the mainstream.

The fact is though, Canadians make up some of the best lineman in the CFL. Canada has an abundance of farm-strong men who can provide the athleticism and strength needed to be a part of a CFL line.

With so many great Canadian lineman teams tend to load up on Canadians in the offensive line and this is where they can get the best of these lineman.

This year marked a banner year for the linemen talent as rule changes before the 2014 draft eliminated many juniors and third year players from the pool.

That meant that the lineman available fell to another year and this year the amount of great lineman available.

Although this was the case once again the complexity of the CFL draft came about with the top four players in the CFL Scouting Bureau’s final rankings were given a ticket to the NFL only a few short weeks ago.

Defensive lineman and top prospect Christian Covington was taken in the NFL draft by the Houston Texans.

Offensive lineman and second ranked prospect Brett Boyko was signed after the draft by the Philadelphia Eagles and was joined by fourth ranked prospect running back Tyler Varga who signed with the Indianapolis Colts.

Another offensive lineman, third ranked prospect, Alex Mateas was invited to New York Jets rookie camp.

All four of the top prospects were a question mark heading into the CFL draft as GMs had yet another factor to think about.

It is a largely complex decision process and one that brings plenty of factors into the decision-making being done in war rooms.

There were plenty of discussions and talk as teams looked to find the best Canadians to add to their teams that could provide that ratio-busting prospect.

As the draft started there was predictably a run on offensive lineman with the first round featuring five O-lineman.

That included the top pick in the draft Alex Mateas who will become a member of the Ottawa REDBLACKS, as long as he does not receive an offer from the Jets in to attend NFL training camp.

It wasn’t all about the offensive hogs though as a few teams looked for that rare skill player from Canada that can make a big impact this year.

The Alouettes took Chris Ackie, a defensive back from Wilfrid Laurier, and the Roughriders took the man many consider to be the best receiver in Nic Demski from Manitoba.

From that point on is where the real work came as the run on the lineman was finished and teams began trying to find those players that can provide some skill to their team.

It was once again a balancing act for general managers as one of the more complicated pro drafts is done with every team adding a host of new Canadians to their rosters as the season fast approaches.

ott-redblacks

Ottawa REDBLACKS

1. Alex Mateas, OL (UCT) 10. Jake Harty, WR (UofC)
28. Tanner Doll, LS (UofC) 37. Jefferson Court, FB (UTS)
45. Kienan Lafrance, RB (UMan) 54. Alexandre Leganiere, OL (UM)
The REDBLACKS went with their biggest need with the first pick and took the best lineman that will likely play in the CFL this year. Mateas may have earned a rookie camp invite from the New York Jets but he is not likely to get a contract and instead will play for his hometown team. Harty is good addition but they missed an opportunity to take a good defensive back that can back-up Pruneau in a draft with some missed opportunities.
wpg-blue-bombers

Winnipeg Blue Bombers

2. Sukh Chungh, OL (UofC) 11. Addison Richards, WR (UR)
15. Brendan Morgan, DB (QU) 33. Christophe Normand, RB (Lu)
38. Ettore Lattanzio, DL (OU) 46. Justin Warden, LB (BU)
Following suit the Bombers took a good offensive lineman but did pass on Groulx who was available. Still it was a good depth pick up and the addition of Richards will help to replace Cory Watson while Morgan provides needed depth in the defensive backfield. Normand and Lattanzio were also solid additions in a draft that could provide everything the Bombers needed.
tor-argonauts

Toronto Argonauts

3. Sean McEwen, OL (UofC) 12. Daryl Waud, DL (Wu)
21. Cameron Walker, DL (UoG) 30. Matt Norzil, WR (Lu)
39. Dillon Campbell, RB (WLU) 55. Kevin Bradfield, WR (UofT)
56. Dan MacDonald, LS (UoG)
With a need for depth on both sides of the ball the Argos went with a good lineman in McEwen, although they missed Groulx. Beyond that they made two solid depth picks in Waud and Walker that should provide solid Canadian content behind new addition Ricky Foley. Adding another Canadian running back seems like a back-up plan if Coombs isn’t available but Campbell was a top four rusher in the CIS last year.
mtl-alouettes

Montreal Alouettes

4. Chris Ackie, DB (WLU) 8. Jacob Ruby, OL (RC)
13. Nick Shorthill, LB (McMaster) 24. James Bodanis, OL (MSU)
31. Brandon Bridge, QB (USA) 36. Alex Charette, WR (UoG)
40. Mikhail Davidson, WR (UM) 48. Quinn Lawlor, DL (BYU)
57. Anthony Coady, DB (UM)
They made plenty of moves in the draft and picked up plenty of picks where they began to add some solid player. Ackie may have been a reach but they clearly see something and Ruby is a good back-up for an all-Canadian line. The most interesting pick is Bridge who had some interest in the NFL but has a lot of work before he can be a starter although he does provide some promise for a starting Canadian quarterback.
bc-lions

BC Lions

5. Ese Mrabure-Ajufo, DL (WLU) 14. Brett Boyko, OL (UNLV)
23. Shaquille Murray-Lawrence, RB (UNLV) 32. Adrian Clarke, LB (BU)
41. Campbell Allison, OL (EMU) 43. Christian Covington, DL (RU)
49. Joshua Brinkworth, DB (PU) 58. Maxx Forde, DE (UID)
The Lions needed offensive lineman but they went with defence first in picking Ajufo who will end up being a good addition. The biggest questions will be Boyko and Covington who are both headed to the NFL but if they can’t make their teams the Lions have the two best players in the draft. They also may end up being wasted picks in a draft that added good players but could turn out to be a bust.
ssk-roughriders

Saskatchewan Roughriders

6. Nic Demski, WR (UMan) 26. Rory Connop, DL (WU)
35. Matt Rea, FB (MSU) 42. Kwame Adjei, DB (MAU)
47. Tyler Langlais, DL (UofC) 50. Melvin Abankwah, RB (SMU)
59. Brandon Tennant, DL (Lu)
The past home of the Canadian Air Force added another great receiver to their stable in adding Demski with their first pick. Demski could have been a reach and will be good but they may have used a lineman better especially with Groulx available. Connop is another good addition after the loss of Foley but overall the Riders added good talent but did not concentrate on some of their biggest needs.
edm-eskimos

Edmonton Eskimos

7. Danny Groulx, OL (Lu) 16. David Beard, OL (UofA)
25. Adam Konar, LB (UofC) 34. Andrew Johnson, WR (FLC)
60. Blair Smith, LB (ASU)
The Eskimos did not need offensive lineman all that much but when Groulx is available at their first pick it is hard to pass up. The addition of Beard is more of a depth pick than anything else while Konar is a good addition on the other side of the ball. They could have used a defensive back somewhere in the draft and decided not to take any in a draft that was good but not great for the Esks.
ham-tiger-cats

Hamilton Tiger-Cats

17. Byron Archambault, LB (UM) 20. Jonathan Langa, LB (SMU)
29. Ron Omara, LB (StFX) 51. Everett Ellefsen, DL (MCN)
52. Daniel English, WR (UBC) 61. Preston Huggins, LB (WU)
The Ti-Cats love of defence showed in the draft this year as they went all out looking to shore up and already solid defence. Archambault gives the Ti-Cats the best linebacker in the draft and provides more Canadian depth. Adding another three linebackers creates some competition in camp but they refused to add one of the top Canadian receivers or an offensive lineman and they could have used both.
cgy-stampeders

Calgary Stampeders

9. Karl Lavoie, OL (Lu) 18. Lemar Durant, WR (SFU)
19. Tyler Varga, RB (YAL) 22. Tevaughn Campbell, DB (UR)
27. William Langlais, FB (USherb) 44. Dexter Janke, DB (US)
53. Aaron Picton, OL (UR) 62. Andrew Buckley, QB (UofC)
Lavoie is a good pick-up for a team full of depth but the biggest part of the draft was the second and third rounds where they found Durant, Varga, and Campbell. Many consider Durant better than Demski while Varga is a ratio buster if he cannot make an NFL team. Campbell is another great pick-up in the defensive backfield while Buckley is an interesting pick to see if he can develop under Mitchell.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 168 other followers

%d bloggers like this: