Thursday, March 19, 2015

2015 CFL Mock Draft: Version One

After nearly a month of research, watching film and typing, I have finally finalized my first 2015 Canadian Football League mock draft. 

I will likely have two more mock drafts released (one after the combine and one after the NFL draft) as players' stocks tend to trend either way based on those two events. 


Round One, Pick one: Ottawa Reblacks
Alex Mateas: centre/guard, UCONN 

Mateas, an Ottawa native, could start right away for the Redblacks at either centre or guard. Ottawa lost Alex Krausnick-Groh to the Eskimos in Free Agency and will be looking to fill the void by either starting Mateas or veteran Jon Gott at centre, with the other playing left guard. 

Ottawa may choose to draft a different offensive lineman should Mateas' NFL draft stock rise with a solid combine or pro day. 

Round one, pick two: Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Sukh Chungh: left guard, Calgary

The Bombers have plenty of options with their second overall pick. They are most starved for Canadian talent at the receiver position, on the defensive line and of course, on the offensive line. Every one of those positions includes a can't miss prospect (Chungh, LeMar Durant, Daryl Waud), however I'm beginning to think the team that gave up a league high 71 sacks goes with the safe pick: Sukh Chungh from the University of Calgary.

The Bombers already have four possible starters for the three interior offensive line positions, but need to be prepared in case injuries pile up as they did in 2014. 

Chungh is a natural left guard that would slot in behind Chris Greaves. Chungh was especially dominant when run-blocking and has first overall pick talent with a scary combination of size, athleticism and strength. Whoever impresses Kyle Walters the most at the combine will be in Blue and Gold next season; don't be surprised if it's LeMar Durant or even Danny Groulx, which would throw off my entire mock draft.

Round one, pick three: Toronto Argonauts 
Daryl Waud: defensive tackle, Western

The Argos are aging along the offensive line, but are hoping 2013 first round pick Matt Sewell will break out in his sophmore season after he returned to McMaster for his senior season. 

That leaves defensive line as their biggest need for Canadians, which is an issue they addressed when they traded for defensive end Ricky Foley. But who do they have to step up should the soon-to-be 33 year old Foley, or another Canadian, go down with an injury? 

The next man up for the boatmen may end up being Waud, who is considered a CFL-ready prospect. 

Waud is an athletic down lineman that is particularly good against the pass. His height at 6'5 will also affect opposing quarterback's throwing lanes, and his weight at 285 pounds makes him a shiftier threat that makes guards move their feet. Waud will need to prove himself as a run-stuffer.

Round one, pick four: Montreal Alouettes 
Lemar Durant: wide receiver, Simon Fraser

Jim Popp won't even hesitate before selecting LeMar Durant if the talented wideout is available when the Alouettes are on the clock. 

The Alouettes boast the leagues oldest receiving corps after they signed two veterans in Nik Lewis and Fred Stamps. They're national receivers, Sam Giguere and Eric Deslauriers, will both be in their 30s once Giguere has his birthday on July 11th. Deslauriers, 33, has only averaged 166 yards per season but is a solid contributer as a blocker in the run game; a duty Nik Lewis make take over from the 8 year veteran.

Durant is viewed by many as the most talented player in draft and will surely not be available for Popp's taking if some of the top ranked lineman sign NFL contracts before the CFL draft. 

Round one, pick five: BC Lions 
Sean McEwen: centre, Calgary 

McEwen, who was a four year starter, may be the best centre former Calgary Dinos coach Blake Nill has ever produced. 

McEwen is a natural centre who reminds me a lot of former Stampeder centre Brett Jones. The Calgary Dino will likely replace centre Matt Norman in BC, who was underwhelming in his second season at centre. In such event, Norman would likely move back over to guard. 

Round one, pick six: Saskatchewan Roughriders 
Danny Groulx: offensive tackle, Laval

Saskatchewan lost Ben Heenan to the NFL this off-season and will be looking to replace the Indianapolis Colt with another national. 

The Laval product is a perfect fit in Saskatchewan. He brings more nastiness to a Rider offensive line that is already known for their mean streak. 

Groulx's footwork is good enough for professional football while his quickness and speed is also as good as any CFL prospect in the last few years. Groulx excels in both pass and run blocking and can make blocks downfield on screen passes. 

Round one, pick seven: Edmonton Eskimos
Jacob Ruby: offensive tackle, Richmond 

The Eskimos need to boast their national talent all over the offensive line. They ended up losing Matt O'Donnell to the NFL which leaves a big void to fill. Although he played tackle in university, that player can hopefully be Ruby by the 2016 season. If Ruby does manage to beat the odds and successfully transition to the CFL as a tackle, he could end up being one of the biggest draft steals in this class.

Unfortunately, I don't believe Ruby is quick enough to play tackle in the CFL against the speed rushes of most international pass rushers. 

I did, however, take notice of Ruby's aggressiveness and power as a run blocker. Given Ruby's excellent size (6'7, 315lbs), the University of Richmond star should smoothly transition over to guard with the Eskimos. Ruby will be a project, but is the most logical pick for Edmonton based on the remaining talent available. 

Round one, pick eight: Hamilton Tiger-Cats 
Nic Demski: slot-back, Manitoba 

The Cats have no shortage of offensive or defensive lineman, so I figure they'll take the best player available with the 8th overall pick. 

Demski has the talent to be a top-3 draft pick and will be given time to develop in Hamilton. Demski is essentially Chad Owens but with better size as he's always a threat to take the football to endzone whether he's punt returning or catching passes in the flats. The 6'0, 215 pound speedster can stretch the field as a deep threat and is underrated as a run-blocker. Demski could replace Andy Fantuz if he shockingly leaves as a free agent as Hamilton's number one national receiver. 

Round one, pick nine: Calgary Stampeders
Brett Boyko: left tackle, UNLV 

It may seem too early into the draft for the Stamps to pick up an NFL-bound player, but there's always a chance Boyko is one and done in the NFL and comes back north. In that case, the Stamps would get a sure starter at either tackle or guard with All-Star potential. 


Round two, pick one: Ottawa Redblacks 
Addison Richards: wide receiver, Regina

Ottawa signed Brad Sinopoli this off-season and also have Matt Carter as their second national receiver, however it's unknown if Sinopoli will ever emerge as a true number one Canadian slot-back. Richards has first round talent and could be that guy for Ottawa. 

Round two, pick two: Winnipeg Blue Bombers 
Jake Harty: slot-back, Calgary 

The Bombers need to boast their Canadian talent at the receiver position. Harty won't see the field in 2015, but can hopefully compete for a starting job come 2016. 

Round two, pick three: Toronto Argonauts 
Karl Lavoie: left tackle, Laval

The Argos could use some more youth along the offensive line, and the 6'4, 285 pound tackle from Laval could provide some depth in the future. 

Round two, pick four: Montreal Alouettes 
Kwame Adjei: defensive back, Mount Allison 

Montreal's lone defensive starter is the hard-hitting Marc-Olivier Brouillette at safety. Adjei plays a similar game to Brouillette and would help make an even stronger case that Montreal has the best Canadian depth in the league. 

Round two, pick five: BC Lions 
Brandon Tennant: defensive tackle, Laval 
The BC Lions let go of two starting defensive tackles from 2014 in Eric Taylor and Khalif Mitchell, meaning they are looking for some youth, and possibly a ratio change, to fill that position. Tennant is a big boy at 6'2, 309 pounds and is capable of plugging gaps as he did at Laval. 

Round two, pick six: Winnipeg Blue Bombers (from SSK) 
Adam Konar: linebacker, Calgary 
The Bombers recently picked up national middle linebacker Sam Hurl from Saskatchewan to start, and will need some depth behind him if that were to be the case.

Konar is a prototypical Canadian middle linebacker at 6'2, 225 lbs and racked up an impressive 40 tackles with an interception and forced fumble during his senior season at Calgary. Oddly enough, his old coach at Calgary Blake Nill compares his former All-Canadian middle linebacker to Sam Hurl. 

Round two, pick seven: Edmonton Eskimos 
Sean Smith: offensive tackle, McMaster

Fortunately for the Eskimos, they have great Canadian depth at the receiver and defensive line positions, thus are able to continue to draft and develop their offensive line. 

Smith is another offensive tackle but has better size than Ruby at 6'7 and 310 pounds. Smith will likely stay at offensive tackle and will develop for a few seasons. His ceiling isn't particularly high. 

Round two, pick eight: Hamilton Tiger-Cats 
Chris Ackie: defensive back, Laurier

Ackie is a lot like Hamilton's current national safety Craig Butler. Both can play either safety or linebacker and have similar body frames. The hard-hitting Laurier defensive back will likely play SAM linebacker at 210 pounds, but a solid 40-yard dash time at the combine may make team's re-think his ability to play safety, thus improving his draft stock. 

Round two, pick nine: Calgary Stampeders 
Nick Shortill: linebacker, McMaster

The Stamps lost Keenan MacDougall to the Riders this off-season and will need to replace his presence on special teams and on the defensive depth chart. 

Shortill's speed and open field tackling ability has me convinced he'll be a dominant special teams player in the CFL. Despite his body frame, he's best suited as a WILL linebacker in the Stamps defence. 

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