By: RodPedersen.com Staff
It was quite a week in Riderville. When the dust had settled on their annual mini-camp in Florida, a handful of fresh faces dotted the roster and a handful of Canadians were released.
- We head Out of the Tunnel beginning with the cuts. The Rider offensive line became thinner with the release of veteran Canadian guard Peter Dyakowski. This likely places Dariusz Bladek in the starting right guard spot.
Then a pair of Canadian skill players were given their papers. There were some rumblings that Johnny Augustine would be a great addition as Canadian running back and Brett Blaszko would have a shot at slot. Neither will happen as both were also let go the same day as Dyakowski.
Blaszko was acquired late last season in exchange for a conditional draft pick in this Thursday’s CFL Draft. This will be interesting to see if the conditions were met, or the release of Blaszko means the Riders will not have to give up a pick.
- The release of Jeff Hecht frees up some space in the defensive backfield for the mass of Canadians currently on the Rider roster vying for a spot.
From here on in, burn all attempts at a depth chart (including a woeful attempt here last week). By the time the Riders announce their final roster at the end of Training Camp 2018, expect a few more familiar faces gone from the lineup as the Green & White gear up for a run at a home playoff date and the Grey Cup.
The juggling of Canadians on the Rider roster may come with a side story.
Last season’s fourth round pick, tight end Antony Auclair, may be on the bubble in Tampa Bay. He is currently fourth on the Buccaneers depth chart behind O.J. Howard, Cam Brate and Alan Cross. Things get even more interesting as the Bucs inked a trio of NFL UDFA’s (undrafted free agents) on Saturday. Maybe the Rider front office staff has a feeling they may see Auclair once the September cuts roll around in the NFL.
That gets us to this Thursday’s CFL draft.
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The Riders lost their own fifth round pick in selecting Brandyn Bartlett in last year’s Supplemental Draft. Other than the Blaszko conditional pick, the Riders also have another pick in the air. They sent a conditional pick with Shawn Lemon in the 2016 trade for Mitchell Gale and Matt Sewell. It will be interesting to see how the CFL rules on that one.
The Green and White need offensive line help and need it right now. One or both of their first two picks should be offensive linemen.
That may be a little more difficult with two of the top rated offensive linemen signing UDFA contracts after this past weekend’s NFL Draft.
Ryan Hunter (Kansas City) and Dakoda Shepley (New York Jets) signed free agent deals and with some money invested in these players, expect them to make it to NFL Training Camp.
Five players were invited to NFL mini-camps (but as of yet were not given offer sheets): offensive linemen David Knevel (New Orleans), Peter Godber (Houston) and Mark Korte (New York Giants) and receivers Jackson Bennett (New York Jets) and Regis Cibasu (Chicago). And a big shout out to Justin Dunk for his great work covering all of the potential Canadian UDFA’s!!
With the CFL Draft this Thursday, here are some things that commonly happen that ruin a team’s draft board. It’s a common thread for all CFL teams and for some reason, they don’t learn from their mistakes:
- Listen to your damn staff. I apologize for the harsh words, but too many times the scouting staff has their board set and the head coach or G.M. walk in without seeing a ton of tape and ruin everything. They may have seen a player have a couple great drills at the Combine or one of the scouts are heavy in their ear tub-thumping for some player that showed signs of potential in a single game they saw.
The Canadian scouting staff along with the video and analytics crew have put in thousands of hours of work over the past 364 days, listen to them!
- Don’t get enamoured with where they went to school. The list is long of the players that went to a brand-name NCAA football power house and flamed out. It’s usually a player that saw limited action, was a walk-on or just played special teams. If there isn’t any quality tape, how the heck can a staff properly evaluate that player?
- Does the workout match the tape? Players climbed and dropped after the CFL Combine in Winnipeg. When it was all said and done, are they workout warriors or does the workout match the tape?
The CFL Draft is a lot of fun and a peek at the future, but don’t get your hopes up or get let down on draft day. Wait until they hit the field before you make your own judgment. Just tune in to the festivities and enjoy a little taste of CFL talk before training camps kick off in a few weeks.
1) Alouettes – Mark Chapman, REC, Central Michigan
2) Ticats – Dakoda Shepley, OL, UBC
3) Lions – Peter Godber, OL, Rice
4) Redblacks – Trey Rutherford, OL, UConn
5) Riders – David Knevel, OL, Nebraska
6) Eskimos – Jackson Bennett, DB, Ottawa
7) Bombers – Ryan Hunter, OL, Bowling Green
8) Stampeders – Mark Korte, OL, Alberta
9) Argos – Godfrey Onyeka, DB, Laurier