Right now, the Saskatchewan Roughriders are on the clock. That may change between now and when the first pick of the 2016 CFL Canadian draft happens just after 5 PM this afternoon. Yesterday new Riders GM and coach Chris Jones said they were fielding offers for the pick, but were also still working out prospects. So it’s pretty clear the Riders have not made a decision yet. They probably won’t make that decision until just before the pick, waiting for teams to make their best offers. Jones said yesterday that they had received offers involving picks, and offers involving players. The Riders are in a pretty good spot on draft day (that’s what a 3 win season earns you) they can wait for the best possible offer to trade the pick , or sit back and select who they think is the best player.
Ed Hervey (or any other CFL GM) wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t inquire what the price was for the top pick. It is unlikely the Eskimos and Riders make that trade, but they probably had talks, like every other team did with Saskatchewan.
Unless they make a trade Eskimos will draft 8th in round one. It’s hard to tell who will still be available at that time. Last year highly ranked OL Danny Groulx of Laval slipped to 7th and the Eskimos were more than pleased to him at that spot. Will anyone slip this year ? That will play out starting at 5.
First but not first
The best player available in this draft is defensive lineman David Onyemata of the Manitoba Bisons. He is ranked number one, but will not go number one and may not even get drafted at all. Onyemata was selected in the fourth round of the NFL draft by New Orleans Saints – his future is south of the border. A team that has depth and is willing to take a chance might select him in the late rounds. Its risk and reward, and both are high.
There are other Canadian players that have signed NFL deals or have been contacted by teams. Those players are less of a risk, but selecting them means you will have to be patient and let them run their NFL dreams to conclusion. It might be September, or even a year or two before they show up in the CFL.
Draft well, but not too well
The Eskimos have had that issue a couple of times in the last few years. In 2012 they selected OL Austin Paztor with their first round selection. He has been in the NFL since his draft day. A year later with their first pick (in round two) the Eskimos chose Stefan Charles a defensive lineman who has also spent his career in the NFL.
The 2015 draft was a home run for Eskimos GM Ed Hervey and his staff. Five players were selected and all spent the season with the Eskimos. Groulx went in round one, he played 10 games and started six. Another OL David Beard from the U of A went in round two, he played 9 games before breaking a thumb and heading to the injured list. Linebacker Adam Konar was drafted in the 3rd round – he had an impressive training camp and preseason, but injuries limited him to five games. Andrew Johnson, a receiver spent the year on the practice roster – he was a 4th round pick. Then in the 7th round with their final pick of 2015, the Eskimos took linebacker Blair Smith. He was good in the first half of the season and then became a special teams demon in the second half. Smith was moved to cover teams for the Labour Day game, he then totaled all of his 20 special teams tackles in the final 9 games of the year. For good measure then added 5 more in the West Final.
2015 was an excellent draft for the Eskimos. They are now on the clock for 2016.
Eskimos picks in 2016 draft
1 8th overall
3 No pick
4 No pick
First round order of selection
No first round pick for Winnipeg. They used it as to select Garrett Waggoner in last year’s supplemental draft
630 CHED will have live coverage of the draft beginning at 6 PM with Reid Wilkins and Inside Sports live from Commonwealth Stadium.