I’ve taken a breath since the end of the CFL Draft and ranked how each of the teams did on draft day by grading out each pick. The grades are situational and are based on my grade of the player, team fit, other players available, etc.
1. BC Lions
Pick #3. Peter Godber, OL, Rice
Godber is the best lineman in this draft in my opinion and should start very early on. Getting him at #3 is a big win for BC and the concerns about potentially difficult contract negotiations should be calmed by the fact that he shares his agent with new GM Ed Hervey.
Pick #7. Julien Laurent, DT, Georgia State
I really like this pick for BC. Laurent will instantly upgrade their D-line and play a key rotational role with Junior Luke this season.
Pick #16. David Mackie, FB, Western
Although its not a position that garners much respect, I had a first round grade on Mackie so he is a steal here. BC successfully solidifies the future of the fullback position as Rolly Lumbala nears the end of his CFL career.
Pick #21. David Knevel, OL, Nebraska
I’ve been vocal in my critiques of David Knevel and this is still higher than I would have taken him, hence the A-. However, taking him in the third round with your needs already met is a low risk, high reward selection that I can begrudgingly give support to.
Pick #34. Isaiah Guzylak-Messam, DB, Wilfrid Laurier
Some thought Guzylak-Messam could have been in first round contention, so getting the shutdown cover man at #34 is tremendous value. He may allow the Lions to start a Canadian field corner down the road or challenge Anthony Thompson for the starting safety spot.
Pick 47. Rashari Henry, DL, Wilfrid Laurier
This is a bit higher than I would have taken Henry and I feel there were better players available, but he provides the versatility to play both inside and outside in a similar fashion to David Menard.
Pick #54. William Watson, REC, UBC
An extremely underrated prospect, getting Watson this late in the draft is a victory for BC. He will compete as a backup this season, be a willing participant on special teams and have a better career than most of the receivers drafted ahead of him.
Overall Grade: A+
BC made their Canadian content miles better, gained several players I expect to start early in their careers, and added value at nearly every spot. Ed Hervey laughs maniacally into the night.
2. Montreal Alouettes
Pick #2. Trey Rutherford, OL, UConn
Kavis Reed plays the entire league like a fiddle to add an All-Star calibre guard by moving back and still drafting the guy they wanted anyway. For those keeping track at home, that’s two starting linemen for the price of one. Rutherford should be on the field by the end of this year.
Pick #19. Bo Banner, DE, Central Washington
Jamaal Westerman’s addition means that Montreal will be committed to a starting Canadian defensive end but lack a high calibre backup option. Banner gives them that and they weren’t forced to reach for him.
Pick #23. Jean-Gabriel Poulin, LB, Western
A hard-nosed, downhill linebacker who will provides high quality depth behind new starting MLB Henoc Muamba. Poulin will be an integral special teams player from the beginning and has the potential to become something special.
Pick #27. KC Bakker, OL, Carleton
Bakker possesses impressive size and had a impressive career at Carleton, put missed out on the Combine process due to injury and didn’t exactly wow anyone with athleticism at the 2017 East-West Bowl. Certainly a draftable talent but far too high in my opinion.
Pick #38. Ryder Stone, RB, Dartmouth
Stone is one of my favourite players in the draft and he is a great value at #38 but Montreal had more pressing needs that could have been addressed here. Stone will fill the backup role nicely but likely won’t get an opportunity to do more than that in Montreal.
Pick #46. Paul Kozachuk, DB, Toronto
Kozachuk is an athletic hybrid who has the capacity to play SAM linebacker or safety. He will provide depth for a variety of possible ratio combinations.
Pick #51. Etienne Moisan, REC, Laval
Moisan is talented H-Back type receiver who is good value here but a more dynamic outside threat might have been the better pick here given that Patick Lavoie and Oumar Toure will occupy similar roles.
Pick #52. Khadim Mbaye, LB, Ottawa
A versatile linebacker that might be able to contribute as a rush end as well. Will contribute early on as a special teams ace.
Pick #56. Richmond Nketiah, REC, Waterloo
Really good value for this late in the draft, Nketiah has some of the drafts bests hands and should compete for a backup role early.
Pick #61. Lekan Idowu, DB, Windsor
Fantastic pick who dropped due to his small size, Idowu is an athletic freak who should rip up the field in kick coverage and has more defensive upside than most people realize.
Overall Grade: A
Kavis Reed acquitted himself more than competently both before and during the draft, assembling a base of players that should help the Alouettes become relevant again.
3. Ottawa Redblacks
Pick #4. Mark Korte, OL, Alberta
Offensive line wasn’t really a pressing need for Ottawa but its hard to argue with adding a blue-chip talent like Korte. He has the skillset to play tackle which will help the Redblacks play four National linemen, with him behind Jason Lauzon-Seguin at right tackle for the moment.
Pick #13. Marco Dubois, REC, Laval
Dubois will tear up the field on special teams and likely have a successful career, but this was far too high to take him. Ottawa needed receivers who can catch passes on offence and Dubois never proved an ability to be an offensive weapon in college.
Pick #22. Andrew Pickett, OL, Guelph
Pickett is tremendous value in third round and will develop into a starter at the guard position down the road. Can’t have too many quality Canadian linemen.
Pick #29. Kene Onyeka, DE, Carleton
Onyeka is a talented pass rusher but this is a bit high to take a guy who is going back to school, especially considering that there are no fewer than 7 other Canadian D-linemen on the Ottawa roster.
Pick #30. Mickael Cote, LB, Concordia
A high quality pick who becomes the only true Canadian linebacker on the Redblacks roster and will become a heavy special teams contributor.
Pick #55. Justin Howell, DB, Carleton
One of the drafts most underrated cover men, Howell can provide depth at safety and pinch hit at any spot in the defensive secondary in the event of injury.
Pick #64. Jacob Czaja, OL, St. FX
Czaja is a talented, technical lineman but there were better players on the board at his position and the depth that Ottawa has accrued at his position will make it difficult for him to make the team.
Overall Grade: A-
Ottawa may not have maximized value at every single pick but they improved their already strong Canadian content overall.
4. Calgary Stampeders
Pick #8. Ryan Sceviour, OL, Calgary
Calgary was in need of an injection of talented youth on the offensive line and Sceviour is just what the doctor ordered. He is a an athletic local kid who should be an anchor for the next decade.
Pick #17. Eric Mezzalira, LB, McMaster
Mezzalira is a talented depth linebacker with special teams value but I don’t view him as a second round talent. This is a bit of a reach here.
Pick #25. Royce Metchie, DB, Guelph
A solid depth defensive back with the ability to play SAM linebacker, he’ll back up Tunde Adeleke wherever he ends up playing on defence. That being said, I had Metchie valued lower than this and there were better players available.
Pick #28. David Brown, OL, Western
Brown is another fabulous addition to the offensive line that was only available this late due to injury. Calgary can allow him to heal and reap the rewards.
Pick #39. Justin Lawrence, OL, Alberta
Lawrence is a grind it out O-lineman who can play center and is a much higher value than this spot. He will be a strong contributor for Calgary down the line.
Pick #42. Dagogo Maxwell, DB, UBC
A versatile DB who can contribute in multiple ways, expect him to be a true special team’s demon early in his career.
Pick #50. Atlee Simon, RB, Regina
Perhaps the next Canadian running back for the Stampeders, Simon will contribute mostly as a receiver and special teamer early on.
Pick #59. Gabriel Ferraro, K, Guelph
This grade isn’t a knock on Ferraro, he is without a doubt a CFL calibre kicker. However, I am against wasted picks and I can’t see a future in which Ferraro beats out Paredes for the Stamps kicking job.
Pick #68. Boston Rowe, LB, Calgary
Weak testing numbers made Rowe fall in the draft but Calgary got tremendous value at this selection, even if he doesn’t pan out. Rowe can provide depth behind Alex Singleton or perhaps even convert back to the offensive side of the ball to play fullback like many successful USports’ linebackers before him.
Overall Grade: A-
Calgary needed to reset their offensive line and they did exactly that, while adding a couple nice cherries on top.
5. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Pick #1. Mark Chapman, REC, Central Michigan
Chapman is a pro-ready receiver who should contribute early and often as the heir apparent to Andy Fantuz. However, I can’t justify giving this pick the A grade it deserves because Hamilton compromised its offensive line to get it.
Pick #6. Darius Ciraco, OL, Calgary
I love Ciraco as a player and I think he will be a successful pro, but he is a little too raw for a first round pick in my assessment. That is especially important considering Hamilton lost a starting guard to move up to first overall. An immediate replacement might have been available at this spot but I don’t think Ciraco is that guy.
Pick #11. Jackson Bennett, DB, Ottawa
Bennett is perhaps the best overall athlete in this draft and he’ll be able to help out at safety, in the return game and even at linebacker. A quality pick that will be impactful for years to come.
Pick #15. Brett Wade, DL, Calgary
Its hard not to love the skillset that Wade brings to the table and he will help the Hamilton D-line both inside and on the edge. With that said, Hamilton had more pressing needs that could have been addressed at this spot and Wade will likely be third on the Tiger-Cats depth chart for the foreseeable future.
Pick #31. Marcus Davis, REC, UBC
I am extremely high on Davis and can attest from watching every UBC game that he is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. However, several things concern me about this pick. Davis has been struggling to recover from a devastating knee injury for almost two years and the make up of the Hamilton depth chart means he will be hard pressed to see playing time. His true value is as a kick returner but that job has many competitors with Banks, Quinn, Saunders, Haynes and even Jackson Bennett likely to get looks there.
Pick #37. Justin Buren, REC, SFU
One of the draft’s biggest steals, Buren is an immensely talented receiver who will be an immediate high quality backup receiver and should develop into a starting slotback.
Pick #44. Michael Moore, LB, Queen’s
While I don’t disagree with the drafting of a linebacker here, there were much stronger prospects than Moore available. He may become a special teams contributor but I don’t quite see what Hamilton does in him.
Pick #62. Joel Van Pelt, DL, Calgary
Van Pelt has a pro ready body and is now the fourth Calgary D-linemen in Hamilton but he lacks the natural athleticism of his counterparts and may struggle to hold on to a roster spot.
Pick #66. Nicholas Parisotto, DB, Guelph
Parisotto is a talented safety who will provide depth for the Ti-Cats. I had a few DB rated higher than him but this is still a solid pick.
Overall Grade: B+
The Tiger-Cats definitely improved their Canadian content in this draft but they failed to maximize their value at most spot.
6. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Pick #12. Rashaun Simonise, REC, Calgary/Okanagan
Getting the controversial Simonise at #12 provides a Canadian receiving corps once considered the weakest in the league a second dynamic threat. In speaking with Simonise’s former coaches, he requires a structured environment to succeed and the departure of one led to his downfall in Calgary subsequent issues. They may be no more positively structured environment in the league than Winnipeg and I expect fellow Vancouver College alumni Mathias Goosen to take him under his wing.
Pick #26. Daniel Petermann, REC, McMaster
Petermann is good value for a third round selection but I question the decision to add another receiver with their second pick. Petermann is likely the third receiver on the depth chart this season regardless of whether he plays in the slot or outside. Other needs may have been more important to address here.
Pick #33. Arnaud Gendron-Dumouchel, OL, Montreal
Gendron-Dumouchel is an intriguing developmental prospect but I don’t value him nearly as highly as most do. Winnipeg needed to draft someone who could be a backup guard early and I don’t think adding a raw tackle prospect helps them now.
Pick #41. Tyrone Pierre, REC, Laval
Drafting another talented receiver baffles me. Sure, it strengthens the position further but it also overloads it and does little to help the rest of the roster.
Pick #49. Matthew Ouellet De Carlo, OL, Bishop’s
I’m not particularly high on De Carlo and I feel better players were available at this position but at the very least the Bombers added some depth along the offensive interior.
Pick #58. Jacob Firlotte, DB, Queen’s
Firlotte is often compared to Taylor Loffler, so it makes sense to have him provide depth behind him. Right type of player without reaching.
Pick #67. Ben Koczwara, OL, Waterloo
Koczwara is a good depth lineman and although I had higher graded linemen still available, he wasn’t much of a reach.
Overall Grade: B+
The Bombers seemed to focus too much on the receiver position and improved it to the detriment of other positions on their roster.
7. Edmonton Eskimos
Pick #10. Godfrey Onyeka, DB, Wilfrid Laurier
Onyeka is an aggressive cover man who will provide important depth behind Canadian starting corner Arjen Colquhoun. The fact that Edmonton moved out of the first round and still got him is remarkable.
Pick #24. Jordan Beaulieu, DB, Western
Bold prediction: Jordan Beaulieu will start at safety for Edmonton before the end of this season. He is an aggressive, downhill safety from the reigning Vanier Cup Champions who falls into the third round. Remind you of anyone? How about All-Star Taylor Loffler.
Pick #32. Tanner Green, FB, Concordia
This is exactly where I had Green graded, as the 32nd player in this class. However, I question why Edmonton would draft a fourth fullback (fifth if you count injured James Tuck) at this stage in the draft.
Pick #40. Curtis Krahn, OL, Calgary
I am higher on Krahn than most people, but this is far too high for even my liking. He simply isn’t athletic enough to merit this high a selection and there were better linemen on the board.
Pick #48. Alex Taylor, RB, Western
Alex Taylor is a talented rusher, but Edmonton’s backfield is already overloaded and he may be hard pressed to make the roster.
Pick #53. Harry McMaster, REC, Western
McMaster gives Edmonton some necessary depth at receiver but he isn’t particularly athletic and there were much more well rounded receivers available.
Pick #57. Gabriel Bagnell, DE, Acadia
There were potentially better pure pass rushers available to back up Kwaku Boateng but I love Bagnell’s ability to contribute on special teams and I’m pleasantly surprised he was drafted.
Pick #65. Blair Zerr, RB, Humboldt State
Added another running back makes no sense to me, especially one that rushed for just over 400 career yards at a Division II college. I see no way to justify this selection.
Overall Grade: B
Edmonton hit a couple of early home runs to bump them up my list but their mid-late round drafting left a lot to be desired.
8. Toronto Argonauts
Pick #9. Ryan Hunter, OL, Bowling Green State
Without any pressing needs, I’m ok with Argos taking a early flyer on a futures player. However I still feel that the first round is a little high for Hunter given his opportunity in Kansas City. That could all change if he comes North early.
Pick #18. Nelkas Kwemo, LB, Queen’s
An imposing linebacker with some concerns about athleticism, I think Kwemo will perform to expectations though I would have drafted him slightly lower myself.
Pick #20. Regis Cibasu, REC, Montreal
Already deep at National receiver, this is too high to take Cibasu who has an odd frame for the CFL and won’t beat players like Williams, Coombs, Ralph, Noel and even Brian Jones out for playing time.
Pick #35. Simon Gingras-Gagnon, FB, Laval
Higher than I would have taken Gingras-Gagnon, though I can see how he will fit behind Declan Cross as a similar special teamer, blocker and pass catcher.
Pick #43. Sean Harrington, LB, Michigan State
Yes, Harrington played at an elite NCAA FBS program but he rarely saw the field. He recorded a whopping 4 total tackles in his whole career and showed a lack of athleticism at the combine. This pick makes no sense to me.
Pick #60. Mathieu Loiselle, LB, Wagner
Another player who struggled to play a consistent starting role down south, Loiselle will contribute on special teams but other players that were still available had much more upside.
Pick #69. Kain Anzovino, LS, Kent State
Using the last pick of the draft on a talented long snapper is not neccesarily a bad move, but I feel its unlikely he beats out Jake Reinhart for the job after a year out of football due to PED use.
Overall Grade: B-
Toronto added a couple of interesting pieces but consistently swung on NCAA players with a variety of concerns around them that I doubt will pan out.
9. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Pick #5. Dakoda Shepley, OL, UBC
When in possession of a measly five draft picks, the rule should be that you don’t spend your first rounder on a player that you may never see. Jones will look like a genius if Shepley comes North early, but his freakish athleticism makes me think he won’t and Saskatchewan is in need of more help than they would care to admit.
Pick #14. Micah Teitz, LB, Calgary
Teitz is a truly dynamic linebacker who will contribute on special teams early on. Goes a little higher than I would have selected him but hard to find a problem with it.
Pick #36. Mathieu Breton, DL/OL, Bishop’s
A project that will likely be converted to offence, I like his upside a lot. Better pure linemen were available here but this pick may pay off for the Riders, sadly it will likely be a few years until that happens.
Pick #45. Tresor Buama-Mafuta, DL, Saint Mary’s
Not only do I feel this is high for a depth defensive tackle, there are two undrafted players (Maxime Tessier and Jeremy Magan-France) with virtually the same dimensions and testing numbers that I much preferred on tape.
Pick #63. Christopher Smith, OL, York
Smith has impressive size but I have more questions than answers about him and his exclusion from the pre-draft process meant I haven’t had much of a chance to scout him. Therefore, I can’t fault this pick too much from a position of ignorance but there were some pretty impressive linemen still on the board that would have given me pause.
Overall Grade: C+
The Riders lacked draft capital and they used what little they did have to select a number of projects. Saskatchewan will be sitting pretty if a few gambles pay off, but ultimately they failed to make their team better now.