The 2019 CFL Draft is in the books. CFL teams should now be well-stocked heading into training camp which is just three weeks away.
As per usual, there was a run on offensive linemen and receivers. But as the overall quality of Canadian talent improves, we are seeing more defensive backs, running backs (think more Andrew Harris, less Kienan LaFrance) and even a quarterback picked in the top half of the draft.
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The 21 selections are the most since 2012 when 21 were also taken and the second-most since 2006 when 24 were picked. The number of players receiving their training south of the border is slowly increasing. The NCAA is making a concerted effort in recruiting international players; not just from Canada but from around the world.
Here is a quick breakdown of the 2019 CFL Draft:
- 52 players selected from USports.
- The OUA led the way with 21 selections with Canada West next with 18, RSEQ with nine and AUS with four.
- 21 NCAA players were selected.
- 13 from FBS, six from FCS and two from Division II.
- The top USports team was Manitoba with seven players selected.
- Missouri was the top NCAA team with two players selected.
- Defensive linemen led the way with 20 selections while offensive line and receivers were tied with 19 apiece.
- 36 offensive players, 35 defensive players and one long snapper were selected.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders had six selections and went with four players from the NCAA and two from USports.
They desperately needed to fill their cupboard with quality Canadian receivers and they went with a pair of pass catchers for their first two picks.
Justin McInnis is a big-bodied deep threat that will stretch the field with his speed while also using his size to out muscle defenders to make the big catch.
His best game at Arkansas State was during a November 2017 Red Wolves victory over the University of Louisiana-Monroe. McInnis caught nine passes for 211 yards.
McInnis went the American junior college route playing a season with Dodge City Community College in 2015. He helped the Conquistadors to their first Jayhawk League title in over 30 years. If one wants a taste of what that football is like watch season three of Last Chance U. The focus of that season was the 2017 Independence Community College Pirates of the Jayhawk League.
The Riders went back-to-back big receivers by selecting Brayden Lenius-Dickey from New Mexico in the second round.
Lenius-Dickey is a huge receiver (6’5”, 245 lbs.) who would instantly be in the rotation with Patrick Lavoie as the fullback/tight end/inside receiver spot with the Riders.
It has been a road less-travelled for Lenius-Dickey. He was a solid contributor with the Washington Huskies as a sophomore in 2015. As a reserve receiver, Lenius-Dickey caught 26 passes for 307 yards.
He then redshirted in 2016 before seeing limited action in 2017 with the Huskies. Lenius was a grad transfer to New Mexico State where he put on some weight and played tight end for the Aggies.
This is a great chapter in his story as he is the son of former Roughrider Troy Dickey (who passed away in 2017) and was raised in Regina.
Both of these players have rookie mini-camp invites (Lenius with San Francisco and McInnis with Indianapolis and Tennessee) and depending on how these camps go, these two players have a chance to make an immediate impact with the Roughriders.
He will be entering his fourth season with York after finally playing a full season in 2018. Janke began his career with the Yeoman in 2015 as a receiver before missing all of the 2016 season because of injury.
2017 saw Janke take the field as a defensive back for the first time but played just three games before having his season end with another injury.
Finally, in 2018 Janke was able to play a full OUA season with York. Played his high school football in Kalispell, Montana at Glacier High School.
Look for Janke to attend camp and then spend another season of college football at York.
The Riders finished the draft by selecting offensive lineman Vincent Roy out of Sherbrooke and Chris Judge, the brother of current Rider linebacker Cameron Judge.
This, like almost any other CFL draft, isn’t make or break in the last rounds but if you miss in the first three, then you will have to continue to tread water with your Canadians.
With only two picks in the first three rounds last season the Riders received a little bit of help from linebacker Micah Teitz before getting hurt. They may still win in the end with Dakoda Shepley signing with the Green and White in the off-season.
2017 saw Cameron Judge and Dariusz Bladek come into the fold. Both improved immensely last season but the Riders will need to see more from both.
As for 2016, the duo of Josiah St. John and Quinn Van Glyswyk is gone from the roster without registering barely a blip.
For the Jeremy O’Day/Craig Dickenson era to succeed, one of the many places that has to improve is with their scouting and drafting of Canadian talent. Let’s hope it begins with this 2019 draft.