2017 CFL Draft Preview

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The CFL season is about to get started as the CFL draft marks the beginning of the preparations for this all-important season in the Canadian Football League.

This is the only league that involves all Canadian teams and features Canadians in prominent roles.

In a year where the country celebrates 150 years, the CFL will likely take some focus especially when they travel to the nation’s capital for the Grey Cup in November.

It all starts here though as the league and fans watch as the next generation of CFL players enters the league.

Like every year the CFL Draft is an interesting mix for team GMs who need to determine the best value for their picks.

It isn’t as simple as taking the best player available in the draft because the CFL draft involves other big factors that can change everything.

The biggest factor is that the NFL Draft was only a week ago and their season has already kicked into gear with teams beginning to sign and build their rosters for training camp.

It may be a while until training camp but with rookie camps underway and OTAs coming up the NFL is already in the process of their season.

The CFL is a little behind with most teams getting in their first practices in the USA and soon they will launch their training camps to start the season at the end of June.

The NFL has had their time with the top prospects in the sport and although the CFL doesn’t compete to take those top prospects away they do compete for the top Canadians.

This year there was only one Canadian drafted in the NFL Draft but directly after the draft, a number of other Canadians were signed to NFL teams.

The lone Canadian drafted in the NFL Draft was Justin Senior who was taken by the Seattle Seahawks in the sixth round of the draft.

Senior is widely considered to be the top prospect in the CFL Draft and would have been the first pick in the draft this year.

With Seattle spending a draft pick on him he is sure to make their roster for training camp and will not be headed to the CFL anytime soon.

That leaves the teams in the CFL with a big decision to make as taking Senior is essentially taking a bet on his failure to make it in the NFL.

Someone will take Senior in this draft but when to take him will change as he will likely become a late-round pick.

A team will take him with a pick but not when they can get a good player that can play right away for the team.

That is the balancing act that the GMs have to make when it comes to the CFL Draft and Senior is not the only player where those decisions will need to be made.

The Scouting Bureau’s second overall prospect, Eli Ankou, is headed to Houston after signing a free agent deal.

Third-ranked prospect Geoff Gray will be looking to crack the roster in Green Bay after signing his own rookie deal a day after the draft.

One of the most exciting receiving prospects in Antony Auclair is headed to Tampa Bay while the top linebacker in the prospect rankings, Christophe Mulumba received a mini camp invite with Tampa Bay.

Out of the top 10 Scouting Bureau prospects, the NFL has already expressed interest in five of them.

Whether they make their teams or not is still up for debate as there are mini-camps and training camp before the season actually begins.

Any of these players could be cut from their respective teams or could make the teams out of camp and begin an NFL career.

Nobody knows how good they can or will be and for the CFL that means they need to make decisions based on what they believe will happen.

Five of the top prospects in the draft are going to have an asterisk beside their names in the war rooms of the draft.

Those will state that they are the most talented player but there is no guarantee that they ever see a CFL field.football-sidebar

So the GMs in every city look towards the draft with that extra aspect to think about when they draft.

Not only do they have to decide if a player showed any red flags that can’t be outdone by their talent and then decide to pick the best player or best fit but they also have to wonder if they will play.

It doesn’t mean that these players won’t have their names called but they go from some of the best in the draft to late round picks where teams are will to take a risk.

It also doesn’t mean that there is no talent in the draft this year with plenty of Canadians that can make an impact in the league as soon as next year.

If the players headed to the NFL were taking out of the Scouting Bureau rankings the top ranked prospect would be a bit of a surprise.

That is mainly because the CFL Draft tends to value offensive lineman higher than anyone else but the top prospect left would be a receiver.

Danny Vandervoort would be an exciting pick for any team and with Winnipeg holding the top pick in the draft he could be a fit.

They might also go for the top lineman left in Mason Woods or they could be willing to take a risk right away in the draft and choose an NFL player.

There is no player right now that is considered the can’t miss prospect because the players that would are stuck in that strange CFL place where they have the talent but not the future in the league.

Those are the decisions that will be made from the first round onwards as teams look not only for help now but for in the future.

It is the nature of the draft and something that every GM deals with every year but it is also what makes the league so unique.

Nothing is ever done easily in the CFL which takes on a bit of the attitude of the fans who watch the league.

One way or another teams find their way through and make their decisions to improve the teams in their pursuit of the Grey Cup.

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