CFL Draft Recap

In what is likely going to be the only blog doing this, we’re covering the 2009 Canadian Football League draft.  The CFL draft is unique in sports in that the only draft eligible players are those who played at Canadian universities and Canadians who played at American schools.

1st Pick – Hamilton Tiger Cats – OT Simeon Rottier (Alberta)
Rottier has long been considered the top prospect in today’s draft. While Hamilton could likely have used an impact player like Jamall Lee, they needed a draft pick that they knew would be available for the full season. In Rottier, the Ti-Cats get the best offensive lineman in the draft. He is a force on the offensive line and seldom misses a block or lets a rusher through. He only started playing football in high school so many scouts and coaches believe that he still has some room to improve. It’s his potential that has put him on top of this year’s draft.

2nd Pick – Toronto Argonauts – DT Etienne Legare (Laval)
Legare is one of the most dominant defensive linemen in the CIS. In the two games of his that I saw, he was absolutely dominant. He does whatever he needs to in order to get to the ball. He was a first team all-Canadian and a best down lineman award winner last year in the CIS. He is very capable of being able to step right into a starting spot in the Argo’s defensive line and make an impact. Getting Legare was important for Toronto because they’re pretty thin on the defensive line behind Adriano Belli.

3rd Pick – B.C. Lions – RB Jamall Lee (Bishop’s)
The Lions moved up from the 6th pick to get their hands on Lee. He is considered the best pure athlete in the draft. He attracted attention from NFL teams in last week’s NFL draft but went undrafted. As mentioned earlier, the key factor that dropped Lee to third overall was the fact that he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. There is a chance that Lee will not be available to the Lions for quite some time. However, if he doesn’t make the Panthers, he could be back in Canada and playing for the Lions by Labour Day. If or when get to the CFL, he is very likely to be a game breaker for the Lions.

4th Pick – B.C. Lions – LB James Yurichuk (Bishop’s)
With Yurichuk, the Lions seem to have taken the mortgage out on Bishop’s players. Yurichuk is likely better as a run-stopping linebacker. He has a good lateral movement which allows him to keep tabs on a ball carrier. His vertical movement is as highly thought of so not everyone is sold on his pass coverage. However, he has a nose for the football so if someone tries to scamper upfield, they’ll quickly be eating turf.

5th Pick – B.C. Lions – SB Matt Carter (Acadia)
The Lions covered their linebacker need with the fourth pick andcover their receiver need withthis pick. The only question with selecting Carter is whether the Lions will actually need him. Lions coach Wally Buono suggested that he may convert 3rd pick Jamall Lee to slot receiver which would make the selection of Carter almost redundant before he steps on the field. Carter has speed to burn and can be used as an in-motion receiver to stretch the field vertically and give BC a deep option. The only problem is that you can probably say the same about Lee.

6th Pick – Hamilton Tiger Cats – WR Darcy Brown (St. Mary’s)
This pick was a bit off the board. He wasn’t very high on either the CFL Central Scouting board or the TSN expert panel. The thing with Brown is that while he may not be high up the receivers’ draft board but at 6’3″ and 251 lbs., many people in the know believe that he can fill in very well at fullback. At his size that move would make a lot of sense because I can’t remember saying anything about Brown during the Mitchell Bowl. The Ti-Cats made an interesting pick but they are still lacking that game breaker they so desperately need to get to the next level.

7th Pick – Montreal Alouettes – OT Dylan Steenbergen (Calgary)
This year’s CFL Canadian Draft has a lot of depth on the offensive line as evidenced by this pick. Steenbergen is another lineman who possesses good speed and is able to quickly get leverage on attacking defensive linemen. This pick baffled a few of the experts. Montreal is strong all over but could use a little more depth on the defensive line and at receiver. The Al’s scouting department is one of the best in the league as evidenced by the number of “non-imports” on their roster. If they picked Steenbergen, then his upside is probably better than any risks of lack of depth.

8th Pick – Calgary Stampeders – DB Eric Fraser (Central Michigan)
As evidenced by that new Grey Cup trophy that they have, Calgary has a solid squad going forward. At the eighth pick, Fraser was the best player left on the board and Calgary had the freedom to pick the best player left available. Fraser fell this far down the draft board because he broke his ankle in the last game of the 2008 season. That injury likely turned off some teams and let him fall to Calgary. Also, he is the first NCAA player taken in the draft and started the last two seasons in Division 1-A football. To start there shows that he has good talent.

Round 2 Picks:
1st – Saskatchewan – DB Tamon George (Regina)
2nd – Toronto – WR Matt Lambros (Liberty)
3rd – Edmonton – OT Gordon Hinse (Alberta)
4th – Edmonton – DL Dedrick Sterling (Queen’s)
5th – BC – DB Ryan Hinds (New Hampshire)
6th – Montreal – TE Martin Bedard (Connecticut)
7th – Montreal – OL Matt Singer (Manitoba)
8th – Calgary – LB Tristan Black (Wayne State)

For complete draft results, visit CFL.ca.

UPDATE:Since we’re a predominantly UWO blog, here’s a look at the two Western Mustangs football players drafted by CFL teams.
4th Round – 2nd Pick – Toronto Argonauts – OL Zach Pollari
6th Round – 4th Pick – Edmonton Eskimos – LB Jason Kozec

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