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Draft Rewind: Five years of first round picks

Draft Rewind: Five years of first round picks

TORONTO — The primary spherical decide, some of the valued belongings within the Canadian Soccer League.

Regardless of the hit-or-miss nature of the CFL Draft, excessive picks are coveted by entrance workplaces and for good cause. They characterize youth, untapped potential and the attract of the unknown. And above all, the prospect to draft the subsequent huge Canadian star.

Because the Toronto Argonauts get set to select first general, we glance again on the final 5 years of first spherical picks throughout the league:

BC LIONS

2018: OL Peter Godber (third), DL Julien Laurent (seventh)
2017: WR Danny Vandervoort (third), DL Junior Luke (seventh)
2016: OL Charles Vaillancourt (fifth)
2015: DL Ese Mrabure (fifth)
2014: No first spherical decide

Peter Godber crammed in at centre for the Lions as a rookie in 2018 (BCLions.com)

With 4 first spherical picks over the span of two years, the Lions have re-stocked the cabinets with intriguing, younger Canadian expertise — even when they’ve but to hit a house run.

Final yr’s third general decide Peter Godber might change that this yr, as Ed Hervey’s first draft choice as basic supervisor seems to be to win a beginning job this season in coaching camp and turn into a foundational pillar of the Lions’ offensive line for years to return. Godber, simply 24 years previous, crammed in at centre final yr and began three video games as a rookie.

The number of Julien Laurent seventh general final yr appeared to sign Hervey’s dedication to beginning a Canadian on the within of the Lions’ D-line. Laurent joins 2017 first spherical decide Junior Luke as defensive linemen picked early within the draft the final two years, and each are anticipated to make strides and compete for a beginning job in camp this spring.

As soon as highly-touted popping out of Laval, former fifth general draft decide Charles Vaillancourt hasn’t been capable of escape in three years within the league, whereas 2017 third general decide Danny Vandervoort has only one catch in two CFL seasons. With the potential for two Canadian starters at receiver this yr in B.C., Vandervoort might see a path to extra enjoying time behind Shaq Johnson and free agent addition Lemar Durant.

And not using a first spherical decide on this yr’s draft, the Lions are hoping a few of their unproven prospects can improve their roles in 2019.

EDMONTON ESKIMOS

2018: No first spherical decide
2017: WR Nate Behar (fifth)
2016: WR Tevaun Smith (eighth)
2015: OL Danny Groulx (seventh)
2014: WR Devon Bailey (sixth)

Tevaun Smith joins the Eskimos after spending a while south of the border (Esks.com)

The Eskimos have had little success with their first spherical picks during the last 5 years, however there’s some purpose for optimism following the low season signing of Tevaun Smith. The eighth general decide in 2016, Smith was a highly-touted prospect popping out of Iowa however fell within the draft due to his NFL ambitions. After three seasons within the NFL, the 26-year-old speedster is in line for an enormous position in Jason Maas’ offence, the place he’s projected to fill considered one of two jobs for Canadian receivers.

Nate Behar, the fifth general decide in 2017 earlier than lacking camp as a consequence of a contract dispute, made his first influence on the CFL with the Eskimos final season. However after recording 27 catches for 257 yards, to go together with his first skilled landing, the gifted 24-year-old signed with the Ottawa REDBLACKS, the place he attended college with the Carleton Ravens.

With the third general decide at his disposal, Eskimos GM Brock Sunderland has an opportunity so as to add a prime prospect early within the draft on Might 2. Extremely-touted defensive linemen Robbie Smith and Mathieu Betts might be on his radar to complement Canadian star move rusher Kwaku Boateng, although the Esks’ largest want is probably going on the O-line. Even when the Eskimos choose to start out three People up entrance, Matt O’Donnell, now 30, isn’t getting any youthful.

CALGARY STAMPEDERS

2018: OL Ryan Sceviour (eighth)
2017: DL Randy Colling (sixth)
2016: LB Alex Singleton (sixth)
2015: OL Karl Lavoie (ninth)
2014: OL Pierre Lavertu (1st), DL Quinn Smith (seventh)

The Stamps will miss former sixth general decide Alex Singleton, who’s NFL-bound (Johany Jutras/CFL.ca)

Regardless of a robust monitor report on the CFL Draft, Stamps basic supervisor John Hufnagel has had some again luck together with his first spherical picks.  Budding star Pierre Lavertu was injured and compelled to retire after simply three seasons, whereas 2014 draft decide Quinn Smith (free agent), 2015 decide Karl Lavoie (retired) and 2017 selection Randy Colling (launched) are additionally not on the workforce’s roster.

The Stamps additionally misplaced former Most Excellent Defensive Participant Alex Singleton to the NFL after simply three seasons, although Singleton’s impression on the workforce has been apparent: he’s anchored a defence that’s led the Stamps to 3 straight Gray Cup appearances, together with a profitable effort final November.

Regardless of the emergence of late-round draft picks Shane Bergman and Brad Erdos as established starters, the Stamps are more likely to begin three People on their O-line in 2019 — but when final yr’s first spherical decide Ryan Sceviour is prepared for extra enjoying time, Head Coach Dave Dickenson could have some ratio flexibility up entrance.

The defending Gray Cup Champions will decide eighth and will go a variety of instructions, together with at receiver the place they misplaced Lemar Durant this low season to free company.

SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS

2018: OL Dakoda Shepley (fifth)
2017: LB Cameron Decide (2nd)
2016: OL Josiah St. John (1st)
2015: REC Nic Demski (sixth)
2014: No first spherical decide

Cameron Decide seems to trace down Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols (The Canadian Press)

After Cameron Decide took an enormous step ahead in 2018, the Riders hope the identical occurs with final yr’s fifth general draft decide and offensive lineman Dakoda Shepley, who signed with the group this low season. Shepley had NFL aspirations final yr however is trying to lock down a beginning job up entrance for the Riders. He’ll have his work minimize out for him as Philip Blake, Dan Clark, Brendon LaBatte and Dariusz Bladek, coming off a season-ending damage, are all within the combine on the Riders’ inside O-line.

Chosen second general in 2017, Decide made waves in the midst of the Riders’ linebacking corps after lacking most of his rookie season. The 24-year-old rotated with Sam Hurl at center linebacker in Chris Jones’ defensive system, making 41 defensive tackles along with two sacks and a pressured fumble. If he can grow to be a starter the Riders might have a star within the making at linebacker.

Whereas the return of free agent lineman Josiah St. John hasn’t been dominated out, gifted receiver and returner Nic Demski left after three seasons in Riderville and loved a profession yr together with his hometown Bombers in 2018.

The Riders maintain the sixth general decide within the draft this Might and will goal a receiver, with this yr’s prospect pool boasting loads of gifted pass-catchers and Canadian receiver Jake Harty anticipated to overlook a lot of the season.

WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS

2018: No first spherical decide
2017: DL Religion Ekakitie (1st), OL Geoff Grey (eighth)
2016: Decide forfeited (2nd)
2015: OL Sukh Chungh (2nd)
2014: OL Matthias Goossen (2nd)

The lack of Sukh Chungh was an enormous hit to the Bombers’ Canadian expertise this low season (Johany Jutras/CFL.ca)

The Bombers hit again to again house runs within the draft with Matthias Goossen and Sukh Chungh in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Each second general picks, Goossen and Chungh turned pillars of one of many CFL’s most dominating O-lines, holding a clear pocket for Matt Nichols whereas paving the best way for Andrew Harris on the bottom.

Sadly for GM Kyle Walters neither of these gamers stays, as Goossen retired this low season whereas Chungh signed a profitable cope with the BC Lions. With 2017 first general decide Religion Ekakitie launched after only one season, highly-touted offensive lineman Geoff Grey is the one remaining Bombers first spherical decide of the final 5 seasons.

Walters’ shrewd work outdoors of the primary spherical has given the Bombers a robust Canadian core regardless of their losses this low season (Taylor Loffler additionally left by way of free company), however the focus will probably be on the hometown product in Grey, who’s spent his final two seasons trying to land south of the border.

With again to again picks within the first spherical (fourth and fifth general), Walters has his choices open, however anticipate the Bombers to attempt to re-stock the cabinets on the O-line.

HAMILTON TIGER-CATS

2018: REC Mark Chapman (1st), OL Darius Ciraco (sixth)
2017: DL Connor McGough (4th)
2016: OL Brandon Revenberg (third)
2015: No first spherical decide
2014: LB Beau Landry (eighth), DL Evan Gill (ninth)

Darius Ciraco made a direct influence as a beginning guard for the Ticats (Adam Gagnon/CFL.ca)

The standing of reigning first general decide Mark Chapman stays a thriller, however the Ticats have already seen returns from their 2019 draft class within the type of Calgary offensive lineman Darius Ciraco. They could simply have a homegrown star within the 6-foot-Four, 292-pound Burlington native, who began all 18 video games regardless of being simply 22 years previous in 2018.

With Ciraco and 2016 third general decide Brandon Revenberg, who’s already signed his second skilled contract, the Ticats are constructed for the long run in the midst of their O-line — however there’s the potential for extra on the D-line, particularly if 2017 fourth general decide Connor McGough can someday grow to be a starter. He’s presently behind Canadian move rushers Jamaal Westerman and Justin Capicciotti on the depth chart.

A yr after choosing first general, the Ticats maintain the second decide on this yr’s draft, giving the brand new regime a chance so as to add a premiere prospect. In the meantime, followers maintain out hope that Chapman will someday go well with up for the Black and Gold, including one other dynamic menace to one of many league’s prime teams of pass-catchers.

TORONTO ARGONAUTS

2018: OL Ryan Hunter (ninth)
2017: No first spherical decide
2016: WR Brian Jones (4th)
2015: OL Sean McEwen (third)
2014: RB Anthony Coombs (third)

Regardless of his damage historical past, Anthony Coombs is a vital weapon on the Argos’ offence (Adam Gagnon/CFL.ca)

It seems the wait continues for 2018 first spherical decide Ryan Hunter, the offensive lineman out of Bowling Inexperienced who continues to pursue work south of the border. Meaning the O-line ought to be a goal for veteran basic supervisor Jim Popp this yr, because the Argos’ massive males, led by Chris Van Zeyl (35), Ryan Bomben (31) and Tyler Holmes (30), might use an injection of youth.

Whereas former fourth general decide Brian Jones has moved down the QEW to the rival Ticats, the Boatmen hit on again to again first rounders in 2014 in Anthony Coombs and 2015 in Sean McEwen. Each are pillars of their offence as McEwen, 25, anchors the offensive line whereas Coombs, regardless of his irritating damage historical past, is productive and electrifying when on the sector.

The Argos have some ratio flexibility because of their means to start out 4 offensive linemen, and in the event that they need to keep that long-term, the draft’s true pure deal with in Kyle Saxelid might be chosen and groomed to ultimately substitute Van Zeyl. Regardless of the case, Popp’s choice with the No. 1 decide may have a big impression on the Argos’ nationwide core shifting ahead.

OTTAWA REDBLACKS

2018: OL Mark Korte (4th)
2017: OL Evan Johnson (ninth)
2016: OL Jason Lauzon-Seguin (seventh)
2015: OL Alex Mateas (1st)
2014: DB Antoine Pruneau (4th)

REDBLACKS centre Alex Mateas has lived as much as his billing as a prime draft decide (Adam Gagnon/CFL.ca)

Since touchdown within the nation’s capital, Marcel Desjardins has picked an offensive lineman with 5 of his final six picks. It’s turned out properly for the enlargement REDBLACKS, who’ve appeared in three of the final 4 Gray Cups — together with a championship in 2016. The play of quarterbacks Trevor Harris and Henry Burris have performed an enormous position in that success, however the success of the O-line can’t be ignored.

Whereas 2015 first general decide Alex Mateas and unique 2013 decide Nolan MacMillan have turn out to be common starters, former Laval star and 2016 draft decide Jason Lauzon-Seguin provides versatility in his means to play guard or deal with. Evan Johnson and Mark Korte, chosen in 2017 and 2018 respectively, have already earned enjoying time and will press themselves into a lot larger roles in 2019.

Sure, 2014 first spherical decide Antoine Pruneau is an outlier, however solely due to his place. He’s been spectacular although, anchoring the REDBLACKS’ defence from the security place whereas offering management and expertise all through all three of Ottawa’s journeys to the Gray Cup.

Given Ottawa’s depth on the O-line, the REDBLACKS might go a unique path with the seventh general decide on Might 2. Both means, Desjardins has among the best monitor data round on the CFL Draft, which explains a lot of Ottawa’s success since returning to the league.

MONTREAL ALOUETTES

2018: OL Trey Rutherford (2nd), OL Tyler Johnstone (supplemental draft)
2017: No first spherical decide
2016: OL Philippe Gagnon (2nd)
2015: DB Chris Ackie (4th), OL Jacob Ruby (eighth)
2014: OL David Foucault (fifth)

Trey Rutherford is trying to turn out to be a daily starter for the Als in his sophomore season (Montreal Alouettes)

Whereas the Johnny Manziel commerce value the Als some draft picks, the emergence of offensive linemen Trey Rutherford and Tyler Johnstone might negate a lot of the injury. The Alouettes want each gamers to turn out to be future pillars up entrance. Rutherford was the second general decide final yr, whereas Johnstone value the Als their second general decide this yr because of the supplemental draft.

If Johnstone can begin at deal with and grow to be a ratio-breaker, and Rutherford can turn out to be a staple at guard, the Alouettes’ revamped O-line might pave the best way to success on the offensive aspect of the ball. And the Als are virtually banking on it after dropping Philippe Gagnon (free company) and Philip Blake (commerce) since final autumn.

Regardless of not proudly owning a primary spherical decide, Basic Supervisor Kavis Reed has the power to maneuver up within the draft if he chooses because the Als presently personal 4 draft picks within the 13-21 vary. In the meantime, the Alouettes do have some ratio flexibility to their identify, particularly if they begin two Canadian linebackers (Henoc Muamba and Bo Lokombo) and 4 nationwide O-linemen.

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