The CFL Draft is only a day away.
Starting at 12 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, the Toronto Argonauts will be on the clock with the first pick in the draft. Who will the Argonauts take?
To preview the first round of the draft, I invited some fellow journalists to help me compile a mock draft. Joining me in this CFL mock draft is Steve Thompson, a CFL columnist on Bleacher Report.com and fellow examiners Jeremy Freeborn (Calgary Sports Examiner) and Jonathan Williams (Edmonton Eskimos Examiner). After looking at all of our picks, it is clear that every one of us has a different idea of how the draft will go down.
1) Toronto Argonauts: The Argonauts have so many wholes to fill. Holding the first overall pick will not offer a permanent fix, but it will help. Two of Toronto’s biggest needs fall in the running back and quarterback position. Unfortunately, this is the CFL draft and finding a star quarterback is rare. Finding a star running back is not so rare, but there are no running backs even rated in the scouting bureau’s top 15.
There are generally two trains of the thought on which direction the Argonauts will go with this pick. On the one hand, they could go with a defensive player, even though their defence is not exactly their weak position. If they draft defensively, expect Toronto to grab either defensive end/linebacker Shomari Williams or linebacker Cory Greenwood. On the other hand, Toronto could also look to improve their offence by drafting a lineman. If this was the case, they would likely grab Joe Eppele, as he is the most readily available lineman.
Clearly, no consensus was reached on this pick.
Jonathan Hamelin (CFL Examiner): Joe Eppele, Offensive Lineman, Washington St.
Jeremy Freeborn (Calgary Sports Examiner): Danny Watkins, Offensive Lineman, Baylor.
Jonathan Williams (Edmonton Eskimos Examiner): Shomari Williams, Defensive End/Linebacker, Queen’s.
Steve Thompson: (Bleacher Report.com CFL Columnist): John Bender, Offensive Lineman, Nevada.
Freeborn: “The Argonauts may have given up 502 points in 2009, but that number was so high mainly because their defense was on the field for so long. Their offense was terrible, as they only scored 328 points during the regular season. With an unsettling situation at quarterback (Kerry Joseph is out), they will need an offensive lineman to protect the inexperienced CFL QB on board.”
2) Saskatchewan Roughriders via Winnipeg Blue Bombers: While there is some uncertainy surronding Saskatchewan’s two first round picks, it is fairly certain they will look to draft defensive players. This is not necessarily because their defence was bad last season, but because defensive ends John Chick and Stevie Baggs signed in the NFL this off-season. Furthermore, Saskatchewan could improve at the defensive tackle position.
There are a couple of players Saskatchewan could take with this pick. They could grab Williams, if he is still available. Williams would help fill the void left by Chick and Baggs. Saskatchewan could also add some experience in the linebacking core by selecting Greenwood. Of course, Saskatchewan could go with a reliable offensive lineman as well.
Our group seemed to agree that the Riders would draft defensive with their first pick in the first round.
Hamelin: Shomari Williams, Defensive End/Linebacker, Queen’s.
Freeborn: Shomari Williams, Defensive End/Linebacker, Queen’s.
Williams: Joe Eppele, Offensive Lineman, Washington St.
Thompson: Shomari Williams, Defensive End/Linebacker, Queen’s.
Hamelin: “Saskatchewan would be foolish not to take Williams if he is still on the board. Though he is listed as a linebacker primarily, Williams can also play defensive end. Saskatchewan lost their two top defensive ends and Williams would be a perfect replacement. Some have suggested the Riders take a linebacker with the second pick, but it is too early. The Riders already have solid starting linebackers in Sean Lucas, Barrin Simpson and Tad Kornegay, as well as backups Jerrell Freeman and Mike McCullough.”
3) British Columbia Lions: The B.C. Lions, like many teams, lost some key players to the NFL during the off-season. Defensive end Ricky Foley and running back Martell Mallett, two key players, signed in the NFL. They will look to fix one of the holes in their roster with this pick.
The Lions could look to add an offensive lineman. After all, they did not bring back offensive lineman Jason Jimenez. Bender, Watkins or Eppele could be a good pick for the Lions if they have not yet been picked. B.C. is also weak in their front seven and could look to add a defensive end or a linebacker. The Lions would obviously select Williams if he was available, or perhaps Greenwood.
Like the first pick, no consensus was reached here.
Hamelin: Cory Greenwood, Linebacker, Concordia.
Freeborn: John Bender, Offensive Lineman, Nevada.
Williams: Curtis Dublanko, Linebacker, North Dakota.
Thompson: Brian Bulcke, Defensive Lineman, Stanford.
Williams: “Playing in division I-AA football is not high profile, but a lot of good players have come from those ranks and this Albertan (Dublanko) should have a chance to go higher with Greenwood possibly signing with the Kansas City Chiefs.”
4) Saskatchewan Roughriders via Edmonton Eskimos: The Riders are the only team with the luxury of two first round picks this year.
As mentioned, the Riders have gaps in their defensive line that need to be fixed. However, there is the possibility they would take a linebacker or an offensive lineman with this pick if they secure a top lineman with their second pick.
The group was split on this pick.
Hamelin: Brian Bulcke, Defensive Lineman, Stanford.
Freeborn: Brian Bulcke, Defensive Lineman, Stanford.
Williams: Cory Greenwood, Linebacker, Concordia.
Thompson: Cory Greenwood, Linebacker, Concordia.
Hamelin: “What is the Riders biggest question mark heading into next season? The defensive line. So, naturally, they should look to silence any doubters by selecting two defensive linemen in the draft. The Riders have a lot of depth at every other position and this draft could help them get some depth on their defensive line.”
5) Calgary Stampeders: There are a couple of ways the Stampeders could go with this pick.
With the retirement of offensive lineman Jeff Pilon, Calgary could look to take an offensive lineman. With the loss of kicker Sandro DeAngelis, the Stampeders could select highly-ranked kicker Rob Maver. Though they did recently add a kicker. Calgary could use some depth in the receiving core as well and could look to go that direction. Finally, the Stampeders could look to improve their defence.
By signing a kicker, Calgary’s pick is really up in the air, though the consensus still seems to be that Maver is too good to pass up.
Hamelin: John Bender, Offensive Lineman, Nevada.
Freeborn: Rob Maver, Kicker, Guelph.
Williams: Rob Maver, Kicker, Guelph.
Thompson: Cory Watson, Wide Receiver, Concordia.
Thompson: “Calgary had strange problems with their passing attack last year when Henry Burris didn't seem to be on the same page as his receivers. They will probably take the highest ranked receiver, which is Shawn Gore or Cory Watson.”
6) Winnipeg Blue Bombers via Saskatchewan Roughriders: The Bombers, like the Argonauts, could use a quality quarterback. Unfortunately this is not a luxury available often in the CFL Draft.
Winnipeg could perhaps use an explosive receiver/receiver. Wide receiver Steven Turner, who had a dominant performance at the evaluation camp, could be a good fit. To make up for the departure of Barrin Simpson, Winnipeg could add a player like linebacker Joash Gesse. Taurean Allen, the top defensive back in the draft, may be selected here as well to compliment Jovon Johnson. Defensive tackles Eddie Steele, who is a hometown boy, or Brian Bulcke if he is available, could be selected to lineup next to Doug Brown.
The consensus for this pick was that the Bombers would stay close to home.
Hamelin: Eddie Steele, Defensive Tackle, Manitoba.
Freeborn: Cory Greenwood, Linebacker, Concordia.
Williams: Eddie Steele, Defensive Tackle, Manitoba.
Thompson: Danny Watkins, Offensive Lineman, Baylor.
Freeborn: “After making the playoffs three years straight, the Bombers struggled mightily on defence in 2009, as they gave up a CFL worst 506 points and missed the postseason. …. The Bombers lost Rookie of the Year finalist Jonathan Hefney to the Detroit Lions in the off-season, but were able to add defensive back LaVar Glover from the B.C. Lions. Still, Winnipeg needs to tighten their defence, and Greenwood, a Kingston native, with solid mobility, would be a welcome addition to the Bomber linebacking corps.”
7) Montreal Alouettes: With a lot of depth at most positions, Montreal may just draft the best player available.
Looking up and down their lineup, there are not many holes. With the loss of defensive tackle Keron Williams, Montreal could add a defensive lineman. The Alouettes are also getting older on the offensive line and could draft a lineman for the future. However, with so much depth, don’t be surprised if Montreal grabs a skilled receiver like Shawn Gore, Turner or Watson.
Just like we started out, no consensus was reached.
Hamelin: Danny Watkins, Offensive Lineman, Baylor.
Freeborn: Joe Eppele, Offensive Lineman, Washington St.
Williams: John Bender, Offensive Lineman, Nevada.
Thompson: Shawn Gore, Wide Receiver, Bishop’s.
Williams: “The Grey Cup champs, with the last pick in the first round, could possibly have the luxury to take an NCAA eligible player. John Bender, the guard from Nevada, probably fits the bill nicely.”
To recap, here are the four journalist’s first round picks. Draft order is: 1. Toronto, 2. Saskatchewan, 3. B.C., 4. Saskatchewan, 5. Calgary, 6. Winnipeg, 7. Montreal.
Jonathan Hamelin Jeremy Freeborn Jonathan Williams Steve Thompson
1) Joe Eppele Danny Watkins Shomari Williams John Bender
2) Shomari Williams Shomari Williams Joe Eppele Shomari Williams
3) Cory Greenwood John Bender Curtis Dublanko Brian Bulcke
4) Brian Bulcke Brian Bulcke Cory Greenwood Cory Greenwood
5) John Bender Rob Maver Rob Maver Cory Watson
6) Eddie Steele Cory Greenwood Eddie Steele Danny Watkins
7) Danny Watkins Joe Eppele John Bender Shawn Gore
Other Players To Watch
Taurean Allen, Defensive Back, Wilfrid Laurier: If Allen stays off the board in round one, there will definitely be some suitors in round two for the top-rated defensive back. The Edmonton Eskimos, at pick number nine, could benefit from Allen.
Jordan Sisco, Wide Receiver, Regina: Sisco impressed at the evaluation camp and has NFL aspirations. The Riders would likely love to bring Sisco in, but if they pass on him in the first round it will likely not happen.
J'Michael Deane, Offensive Lineman, Michigan St: At 6’5, 312 lbs, Deane is one of the biggest lineman available. He won’t be passed on for too long in the draft.
Other Draft Information
Jeremy Freeborn's Mock Draft
Jonathan Williams' Mock Draft