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Monday, April 16, 2018

OUT OF THE TUNNEL: REVIEWING THE 2015 CFL DRAFT


By: RodPedersen.com Staff

All is incredibly quiet across the CFL.

The only news trickling in will come from the upcoming spring camps. Three teams are off to the Sunshine State with Montreal’s camp starting Monday in Vero Beach, Fla., Toronto also got underway in Bradenton, Fla. on Monday, while Saskatchewan’s kicks off next weekend at the IMG Academy in Bradenton.

Edmonton will head south of the border to Las Vegas on April 21-24, while Winnipeg and Ottawa are staying at home with their camps on April 24-26 in Winnipeg and April 23-25 in Ottawa.

The next big date for CFL fans is the draft on May 3rd. To tide you over, here is another look-back, this time the 2015 CFL Draft.

This turned out to be a very good draft with more than half of the players still currently on CFL rosters with a handful of starters and two quarterbacks.

The big highlight came out of the University of Calgary. They had seven players drafted with six still in the league (Sean McEwan, Sukh Chungh, Jake Harty, Tanner Doll, Adam Konar and Andrew Buckley).

Like last week, players listed will have total games played and games played with drafted team followed by a team synopsis and grade. The grade is a combination of impact to the team, if the player is a starter, games played with drafted club and total games in CFL.

Individual players won’t be graded, but the teams’ overall draft will receive a grade.

Quick notes:
- CIS drafted – 44
- NCAA/NAIA drafted – 18
- Top CIS school – University of Calgary (7 players)
- Top NCAA school – Michigan State/UNLV (2)

Ottawa Redblacks (2-16) Head Coach – Rick Campbell/G.M. – Marcel Desjardins

1(1) – Alex Mateas (OL) Connecticut:            53 total games all with OTT/29 starts

2(10) – Jake Harty (WR) Calgary:                   34 total games all with OTT/now with SSK

4(28) – Tanner Doll (LS) Calgary:                   22 total games all with OTT

5(37) – Jefferson Court (FB) Utah State:        Practice roster in 2015/released

6(45) – Kienan LaFrance (RB) Manitoba:       45 total games, 32 with OTT/now with WPG

7(54) – Alex Laganiere (OL) Montreal:          Practice roster in 2015/released

Total games played: 154

Games played with Ottawa: 141

Fantastic top-end talent with Mateas, who is an anchor on their offensive line and will be a future all-star. Harty was a solid reserve receiver and signed in the off-season by the Riders. Doll will have a long future with the Redblacks as their long-snapper. Kienan LaFrance has shown signs of being a solid running back and is now Andrew Harris’s backup in Winnipeg. Four of six players are still in the league, two with Ottawa.

Grade – B

Winnipeg Blue Bombers (7-11) Head Coach – Mike O’Shea/G.M. Kyle Walters

1(2) – Sukh Chungh (OL) Calgary:                 52 total games with WPG/all starts

2(11) – Addison Richards (WR) Regina:        17 total games all with WPG/Retired August 2017

2(15) – Brendan Mordan (DB) Bishop’s:        29 total games all with WPG/ re-signed with WPG

4(33) – Christophe Normand (RB) Laval:       42 total games all with WPG/now with EDM

5(38) – Ettore Lattanzio (DL) Ottawa:             43 total games all with OTT

6(46) – Justin Warden (LB) Bishop’s:             Cut in 2015 training camp

Total games played: 183

Games played with Winnipeg: 140

Kyle Walters and staff put together a nice draft in 2015. Chungh was almost a day-one starter and has all-star potential. Brendan Morgan didn’t play in 2017 but has re-signed with Winnipeg. Normand is an all-around special teamer and Edmonton signed him in the off-season. Lattanzio was an interesting subject – Winnipeg tried to flip him to the offensive side off the ball and placed him on the practice roster. Ottawa plucked him off the practice roster and he has been with the Redblacks ever since…on defence. Richards had a tough career and retired last summer.

Grade – B

Toronto Argonauts (8-10) Head Coach – Scott Milanovich/G.M. – Jim Barker

1(3) – Sean McEwan (OL) Calgary:                36 total games all with TOR/2017 CFL all-star

2(12) – Daryl Waud (DL) Western:                 25 total games all with TOR/now with OTT

3(21) – Cameron Walker (DL) Guelph:           35 total games all with TOR/now with OTT

4(30) – Matt Norzil (WR) Laval:                     Practice roster/released 2016 training camp

5(39) – Dillon Campbell (RB) Laurier:           1 game played with MTL

7(55) – Kevin Bradfield (WR) Toronto:          14 total games all with TOR/released Nov 2016

7(56) – Daniel MacDonald (LS) Guelph:         2 games played with SSK/retired 2016

Total games played: 113

Games played with Toronto: 110

Anytime a team is able to grab an anchor to the offensive line and a league all-star is a huge gain. Sean McEwan is just that for the Argos, an East Division and CFL All-Star in 2017. Waud and Walker both contributed to the Argos and signed with Ottawa in the off-season. Other than not much in this draft.

Grade – B-

Montreal Alouettes (9-9) Head Coach – Tom Higgins/G.M. – Jim Popp

1(4) – Chris Ackie (DB) Laurier:                      39 total games all with MTL/re-signed with club

1(8) – Jacob Ruby (OL) Richmond:                 28 total games, 20 with MTL/now with EDM

2(13) – Nick Shorthill (LB) McMaster:            45 total games, 35 with MTL/now with HAM

3(24) – James Bodanis (OL) Michigan State:   1 game played with MTL

4(31) – Brandon Bridge (QB) N. Alabama:    Dressed for 45 games/17 played/15 with SSK

4(36) – Alex Charette (WR) Guelph:              32 total games, 27 with MTL/now with TOR

5(40) – Mikail Davidson (WR) Montreal:       31 total games, none with MTL/cut by EDM in 2017

6(48) – Quinn Lawlor (DL) BYU:                    Practice roster 2015/released training camp 2016

7(57) – Anthony Coady (DB) Montreal:          18 total games all with MTL/released by TOR 2017

Total games played: 211

Games played with Montreal: 160

Looking back this turned out to be a weird draft for the Alouettes. Just one player remains with the Als, and that’s Chris Ackie who re-signed with the club during the off-season. Jacob Ruby is now a reserve offensive lineman with Edmonton, Shorthill is a special teamer with Hamilton, the same as Charette with the Argos. The most intriguing pick is Brandon Bridge. The Canadian quarterback finally saw significant action with the Roughriders in 2017 including a pair of starts.  Bridge will more than likely be the backup in Saskatchewan in 2018 and will see more action.

Grade – B-

1881 Scarth St, Regina 306-789-0011

B.C. Lions (9-9) Head Coach – Jeff Tedford/G.M. – Wally Buono

1(5) – Ese Mrabure (DL) Laurier:                    38 total games, 8 with B.C./now with CGY

2(14) – Brett Boyko (OL) UNLV:                     2015 NFL draft (3rd rd. PHI)/now with L.A. Chargers

3(23) – Shaq Murray-Lawrence (RB) UNLV:  39 total games all with B.C./now with MTL

4(32) – Adrian Clarke (LB) Bishop’s:              50 total games all with B.C./now with MTL

5(41) – Campbell Allison (OL) EMU:              Practice roster 2015/released 2016 training camp

6(49) – Joshua Brinkworth (DB) Pacific:        3 games with MTL/Released by OTT in 2017

7(58) – Maxx Forde (DE) Idaho:                     23 total games all with B.C.

Total games played: 150

Games played with B.C.: 120

This was a good draft that could have been great by Wally Buono. He took a shot on Brett Boyko even though he was a third-round pick in the 2015 NFL draft and is still in the league with the L.A. Chargers. Mrabure is a late bloomer and is now with the Calgary Stampeders after a solid 2017 with Saskatchewan. After three solid seasons with the Lions, Murray-Lawrence and Clarke have signed with the Alouettes. Incredible late value with Maxx Forde, who started a handful of games with the Lions in 2017. Even though only Forde remains with the club, there are still two CFL starters, and an additional two solid Canadians remain on CFL rosters.

Grade – B

Saskatchewan Roughriders (10-8) Head Coach – Corey Chamblin/G.M. Brendan Taman

1(6) – Nic Demski (WR) Manitoba:                40 total games all with SSK/now with WPG

3(26) – Rory Connop (DL) Western:               16 total games all with SSK/Retired in 2016

4(35) – Matt Rea (FB) Michigan State:           12 total games, 8 with SSK/WPG in 2016

5(42) – Kwame Adjei (DB) Mt. Allison:          10 total games with HAM

7(47) – Tyler Langlais (DL) Calgary:               Cut in 2015 training camp

6(50) – Melvin Abankwah (RB) St. Mary’s:    Released in 2016

7(59) – Brandon Tennant (DL) Laval:             12 total games, 8 in SSK/Released by WPG 2017

Total games played: 90

Games played with Saskatchewan: 72

An awful draft by the Saskatchewan Roughriders and one of the reasons why they are still thin on Canadian talent. Only Nic Demski has been a solid CFL contributor, while the rest of the draft was quickly out of the CFL.

Grade – D-

Edmonton Eskimos (12-6) Head Coach – Chris Jones/G.M. – Ed Hervey

1(7) – Danny Groulx (OL) Laval:                     12 total games all with EDM/released in January

2(16) – David Beard (OL) Alberta:                  35 total games all with EDM

3(26) – Adam Konar (LB) Calgary:                  23 total games all with EDM/12 starts in 2017

4(34) – Andrew Johnson (WR) Ft. Lewis College: Released in 2016

7(60) – Blair Smith (LB) Angelo St.                40 total games all with EDM

Total games played: 107

Games played with Edmonton: 107

If it wasn’t for a myriad of injuries to Danny Groulx, this would be an A-grade for the Eskimos. Beard made eight starts in 2017 and two more in the playoffs. Konar had a breakout 2017 and will be a starter at linebacker in 2018. Blair Smith is a great special teamer and started one game in 2017. The Esks also forfeited their fifth-round pick to select Mike Dubuisson in the 2014 supplemental draft.

Grade – B+

Hamilton Tiger-Cats (9-9) Head Coach/G.M. – Kent Austin

Lost 2014 Grey Cup

2(17) – Byron Archambault (LB) Montreal:   10 total games all with HAM/retired after 2016

3(20) – Jay Langa (LB) St. Mary’s:                  43 total games all with HAM

4(29) – Ron Omara (LB) St. Francis Xavier:   35 total games, 25 with HAM/Released by OTT

6(52) – Everett Ellefsen (DL) McNeese St:    3 total games/released in 2016

6(52) – Daniel English (WR) UBC:                  Released after 2015 training camp

7(61) – Preston Huggins (LB) Western:         Released after 2015 training camp

Total games played: 88

Games played with Hamilton: 78

Injuries hampered Archambault and he is now the special teams and linebackers coach with the University of Montreal. Jay Langa is the only remaining player with Hamilton and in the CFL.

Grade – D

Calgary Stampeders (15-3) Head Coach/G.M. – John Hufnagel

Won 2014 Grey Cup

1(9) – Karl Lavoie (OL) Laval:                         1 game played/retired after 2016 season

2(18) – Lemar Durant (WR) SFU:                   35 total games all with CGY

3(19) – Tyler Varga (RB) Yale:                                   Free agent with Indianapolis/Retired in 2015

3(22) – Tevaughn Campbell (DB) Regina:      32 total games, 5 with CGY/now with MTL

3(27) – William Langlais (FB) Sherbrooke:    51 total games all with CGY

5(44) – Dexter Janke (DB) Saskatchewan:     16 total games all with CGY

6(53) – Aaron Picton (OL) Regina:                 Released by SSK in 2016

7(62) – Andrew Buckley (QB) Calgary:           36 total games all with CGY/1 start

Total games played: 171

Games played with Calgary: 144

If it wasn’t for a pair of knee injuries to Karl Lavoie, this would be another A- grade for John Hufnagel and staff. Four players (Durant, Langlais, Janke, Buckley) all remain with the Stampeders heading into 2018 with Durant being pegged as a starter. Campbell will look for a spot with the Alouettes to begin the season. To have a Canadian backup quarterback in Andrew Buckley that can also start in a pinch and fill in with short-yardage situations is crucial.

Grade – B+

(RodPedersen.com Staff)

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just can't wrap my head around off-season football news and trivia .. my brain is all filled with hockey, hockey, hockey.

Anonymous said...

In today's MMQB by Peter King he notes that today would have been Joe McKnight's 30th birthday.

Marc said...

Taman killed this team for a long time

Anonymous said...

No arguments here. Two things - surprised Groulx still out there. Also Jake Thomas. If healthy both would be good additions to the Riders.

Anonymous said...

PLEASE WRITE ABOUT SOMETHING RELEVANT!

Anonymous said...

Where’s jones ? How come he doesn’t live here all year around. Isn’t that part of the job???

Scott Thompson said...

Clearly no.