Realty One

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Just over 24 hours prior to the 2016 CFL Draft, Roughriders Coach & GM Chris Jones fielded questions from reporters on Monday.  Here are some notes from the gathering:

- The Riders own the #1 overall pick but are fielding calls from numerous teams regarding a trade and haven't yet figured out what their course of direction is.

- The draft begins Tuesday just after 5:00 pm ST (Sask Time) and the first two rounds will be carried live on TSN.

- The Roughriders are hosting a Draft Party at the Canadian Brewhouse beginning at 4:00 pm.

- They want players in the draft who can come in and play right away. (Not wait on those with NFL opportunities).

- Bill Parcells told Jones this morning these drafts are often for the future, and depth.

- Jones said the draft is solid at the top-end, yet the club only has one pick in the first two rounds.]

- They've received all kinds of offers for #1.

- The addition of the extra round by the CFL will give more players a chance. There are some diamonds in the late rounds.

- What do the Riders need? Receivers, o-line and special teams players. The traditional Canadian spots.

- Reports of the Riders signing DE Eric Norwood are "premature".

- Regarding the Ticats releasing Norwood last week while he's injured, Jones said you'll have to ask the Ticats about that.  In the quote was, "You can ask Tillman and those guys over in Hamilton the legalities on that. I have enough to worry about over here."

- The Ticats have since informed me they broke no CBA rules by releasing Norwood.

TORONTO - Chris Jones has a decision to make.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders' head coach/GM said Monday he's fielded numerous offers for the top pick in Tuesday night's CFL draft. The Riders' have the first selection after last season's league-worst 3-15 record.

Usually the first selection would be coveted by a GM like Jones, hired this off-season to rebuild the Riders after leading Edmonton to last year's Grey Cup as its head coach. The draft pool features many top offensive linemen but no consensus No. 1 player, making it tough for Jones to reap the rewards of a bidding war for the pick.

"We're still in the process of fielding phone calls from numerous teams in the league to determine exactly what our course of action will be,'' Jones said Monday. "We're going to look at the best offer and then we'll make the right decision for us.''

Montreal goes second, followed by B.C., Toronto, Hamilton, Calgary, Ottawa and Edmonton in the first round. Winnipeg opens the second round at No. 9, forfeiting its first-round selection - which would've been second overall - to take Dartmouth linebacker/defensive back Garrett Waggoner in last year's supplemental draft.

This year's CFL draft goes eight rounds, up from seven last year.

Oklahoma tackle Josiah St. John is the top available prospect, ranked fifth by the CFL's central scouting bureau. Other highly regarded offensive linemen include the Laval trio of Charles Vaillancourt (ranked sixth), Philippe Gagnon (No. 9) and Jason Lauzon-Seguin (No. 17), Buffalo's Dillon Guy (No. 14) and Simon Fraser's Michael Couture (No. 16).

Grand Valley State offensive lineman Brandon Ravenberg is also garnering interest after not cracking the final top-20 prospects list.

Ravenberg was one of six prospects brought in by Saskatchewan for final pre-draft workouts. The others were St. John, Guy, Calgary running back Mercer Timmis, Northern Illinois receiver Juwan Brescacin and Virginia defensive lineman Trent Corney.

Saskatchewan isn't scheduled to pick again until the third round, long after all the top-ranked offensive linemen are expected to be taken. That further complicates what to do with the top pick.

"That has been kind of a stumbling block for us ... but I feel like we've got some pretty good names there in the third,'' Jones said. "We've got numerous spots we feel like on our football team that we need to always look for, offensive line, receiver.

"Defensively, you've got to have people who can cover kicks. There's numerous people who are interesting for us.''

But the tough decisions don't stop there for Jones, who says he spoke to former NFL coach Bill Parcells about the CFL draft. If he keeps the first pick, Jones figures he'll have to choose between four players.

Don't expect Manitoba defensive lineman David Onyemata to be that player. The CFL draft's top-ranked prospect was a fourth-round pick by New Orleans in last month's NFL draft.

Ditto for Iowa receiver Tevaun Smith, Boston College defensive lineman Mehdi Abdesmad and Michigan State cornerback Arjen Colquhoun - the second-, third- and fourth-ranked CFL draft prospects have signed NFL deals with Indianapolis, Tennessee and Dallas, respectively.

Toronto GM Jim Barker said the sheer depth of this year's draft pool lessens the sense of urgency to make a deal to move up in the first round.

"This is a year that I think, No. 1 to No. 20 there's not a huge disparity between them,'' Barker said. "That doesn't bode well for anybody to trade up and things like that.

"Obviously, as things happen in the draft, you may see more trading to get up into the second round as the offensive linemen or the receivers that you think can play start to dwindle. I think the first round you don't see as much but we'll see.''

Predictably, Barker has been working the phones leading up to the draft. In 2010, the Argos traded the first overall pick to Saskatchewan then made a deal with B.C. to take offensive lineman Joe Eppele and linebacker Cory Greenwood - two players then head coach Barker coveted - second and third overall.

The following year, as Toronto's coach/GM, Barker moved up five spots to No. 7 to take offensive lineman Tyler Holmes.

"We've talked to just about every team about every different kind of scenario,'' he said. "Are we happy at No. 4? Yeah, I think in the first round it's the spot to be in.

"I think there's four good rounds ... this year's draft, I think, is pretty solid.''

(Canadian Press/Dan Ralph)


Anonymous said...

This was on TSN last week. "According to TSN's Matthew Scianitti, Norwood is set to sign with the Saskatchewan Roughriders,"

So where's the retraction and apology from Scianitti?

What ever happened to waiting for the club to announce something?

Anonymous said...

You're assuming that anyone who works for TSN has any credibility, integrity or common sense.

Remember when Hufnagel was coming to Regina? Thanks Gary Clueless.

Remember when the Riders were the "lead candidate" to sign Ted Laurent?

All just rumours a BS.

A guy in Lower Canada

Anonymous said...

The mantra of TSN, and a lot of media reporters, is throw “it on a wall and see if it sticks.

Everyone is so worried about being the first to report something, that they don’t even worry about being the first to report something correctly.

There is no consequence to a reporter if they throw something out there that isn’t true. They can always chalk it up to a “source” that somehow absolves them of any journalistic integrity.

In a way, their just like greasy politicians

Anonymous said...

I am sure that TSN reporters are not the only ones to have made predictions that did not pan out, and some that did pan out. Since no one can predict the future, just roll with it.

A gal in Upper Canada

Anonymous said...

Yeh, just like politicians. If it works out, great. If not, oh well.

Anonymous said...

Trade the 1st Pick to Montreal and Smith,
PTBNL or our 3rd rounder if needed.

Take Carter and Bridge back, heck yeah!

Anonymous said...

Most people I know in the media would sell their children to slavers if it meant they would get 50 new Twitter followers. Being an 'insider' and getting scoops get them followers. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Christopher Evans said...

Well, Norwood did post on Twitter that he was flying into Saskatchewan. Considering he was coming off a knee injury from last season, I would expect the medical staff are doing their due diligence to ensure he is recovering properly. Likely, the coaching staff are dotting their i's and crossing their t's too! Chill and wait for the process to work itself through, folks! Yikes!

Anonymous said...

Christopher, that's exactly what I was saying. What ever happened to waiting for the team to make an announcement?