Monday, May 11, 2015

2015 CFL Mock Draft 3.0

2015 CFL Mock Draft 3.0 

The dust has settled following the completion of most NFL mini-camps, where numerous CFL draft prospects competed in hopes of landing a contract. And now, it's time for me to complete my third and final mock draft featuring the 2015 class.

Round One: 

1:1 Ottawa Redblacks: C Alex Mateas, UConn 

Alex Mateas is the perfect candidate to join the Ottawa Redblacks as the first overall pick. The 22 year old out of UConn is an Ottawa native, has experience playing against Americans, is tough, athletic and, best of all, he's out of NFL options at this point. The Redblacks are in need of a third interior offensive lineman to start, and that is exactly what Mateas will do.
1:2 Winnipeg Blue Bombers: OT Danny Groulx, Laval

The Bombers have been dreaming of starting a superstar Canadian offensive tackle for a long time. Enter Groulx, a likely CFL All-Star for years to come with the Blue Bombers. The nasty Laval product is arguably the most polished lineman available (aside from newly-signed Philadelphia Eagle Brett Boyko, that is) and proved so at the CFL combine in March, where he was victorious on every rep during one-on-ones. 

1:3 Toronto Argonauts: G Sukh Chungh, Calgary 

Don't expect Jim Barker's Argonauts to be on the clock for very long when they see Sukh Chungh available. Aside from 2013 draft pick Matt Sewell, the Argos have very little depth behind an aging offensive line and adding Chungh would solidify his position in Toronto for years to come. The Argos can't go wrong with drafting a nasty guard with striking comparisons to Saskatchewan's Branden Labatte to play alongside Tyler Holmes. 

1:4 Montreal Alouettes: WR Lemar Durant, Simon Fraser

The Alouettes have a couple options with the fourth overall selection. Jim Popp could go with the safe pick and draft DT Daryl Waud out of Western University to form a solid duo with Michael Klassen, or he could attempt to hit a home run in SFU's Lemar Durant. Knowing Popp, I think he steps up to the plate and swings for the Grand Slam. Anthony Calvillo was fortunate to have Ben Cahoon throughout his career, so perhaps Popp will try to provide his new pivot, Jonathon Crompton, with a potential Canadian superstar of his own in Lemar Durant.
1:5 BC Lions: C Sean McEwen, Calgary

This pick is a no-brainer for the Lions organization. Protecting QB Travis Lulay is BC's number one priority and their offensive line hasn't done a very good job of that recently. Centre Matt Norman has been inconsistent since moving into the middle and would benefit from a position change back to guard if McEwen is ready to start, which I believe he is.

1:6 Saskatchewan Roughriders: DB Chris Ackie, Wilfred Laurier

Daryl Waud or Chris Ackie? This was the hardest decision to make in the entire mock draft. After looking long and hard at Saskatchewan's depth chart, I think they'll take the versatile Chris Ackie. While an all-Western duo featuring 2014 2nd round pick Dylan Ainsworth and potential 2015 pick Daryl Waud would be fantastic for the future, the Riders currently need to add Canadian depth behind national linebackers Keenan MacDougall and Shea Emry. Ackie can play safety, halfback and SAM linebacker for the Riders, therefore drafting this combine star could pay huge dividends for them in the future. 

1:7 Edmonton Eskimos: OL Jacob Ruby, Richmond

The Eskimos absolutely cannot afford to pass up on an offensive lineman in the first two rounds for the sixth consecutive year. They already boast a poor starting group of Canadian lineman and need to begin to re-stock the cupboards after seeing Mike Reilly take a beating for two straight seasons. Ruby will likely make the switch from tackle in the NCAA to guard in the CFL, where his 6'7", 315 pound frame and inability to defend speed rushers best suits him. 

1:8 Hamilton Tiger Cats: SB Nic Demski, Manitoba

If you thought Hamilton was in need of Canadian pass-catchers before Spencer Watt went down with a season ending injury, you'll know that now, they are more desperate than ever to add another receiver to the mix. The Tabbies really only have recently acquired 2013 2nd round pick SJ Haidara (7 catches in 2 seasons) behind Andy Fantuz, therefore Demski will contribute in a rotational role for Hamilton in his rookie season. Keep in mind, Andy Fantuz is getting up there in age and is a pending free agent next off-season.

1:9 Calgary Stampeders: OT Brett Boyko, UNLV 

The Stamps are fortunate enough to have enough Canadian talent across the board to invest their first round draft pick in an NFL-bound offensive lineman. There's a very good chance Boyko doesn't last long with the Philadelphia Eagles after signing as an undrafted free agent. If that's the case, the Stamps will add a ratio breaking offensive tackle immediately to their starting lineup. 

Round Two: 

2:1 Ottawa Redblacks: DT Daryl Waud, Western

Everybody associated with R-Nation would be absolutely thrilled if this Western star fell out of the first round due to team's drafting based on their positional needs. Waud has the potential to develop into a special player for Ottawa while also contributing as a rookie for the Redblacks should Keith Shologan go down with an injury. Ottawa will take Waud without hesitating. 

2:2 Winnipeg Blue Bombers: DL Maxx Forde, Idaho

At 6'3" and 271 pounds, Forde has the body of a CFL defensive tackle, however, his impressive 4.78 second 40-yard dash proves he could also play defensive end. With his incredible athleticism for a 271 pounder, Forde has the potential to become a force inside as a three-tech. Winnipeg is also looking to add younger depth behind newly-signed pass-rusher Jamaal Westerman, which the Idaho product could offer as well.

2:3 Toronto Argonauts: MLB Byron Archambeault, Montreal

Just like the next player selected in this mock, Archambeault had an excellent combine. After recording 46 reps on the bench press, the big man saw his draft stock improve after clocking fantastic times during the shuttle and three cone tests. Archambeault would provide depth behind first-year starting middle linebacker Cory Greenwood, and may also line up beside his new partner-in-crime sometime in the near future. 

2:4 Montreal Alouettes: DB Tevaugn Campbell, Regina

When a team has as many talented Canadians on their roster as Montreal does, they are able to take the best player available with each pick. Without a doubt, the star of the combine, Tevaughn Campbell, is that player. The always speedy, former Regina Ram could develop into a ratio breaking starting cornerback for the veteran Alouettes in the future. In the meantime, Campbell would be a great option for Montreal to use as a gunner on their punt team. 

2:5 BC Lions: RB Shaquille Murray-Lawrence, UNLV

Murray made a splash at the combine after clocking the fastest electronically-timed 40-yard dash in the CFL history with a 4.41, only to later have his brand new record smashed by Tevaughn Campbell's 4.35 time. Lawrence was productive down south with UNLV and ran for 552 rushing yards in 2014 with 9 touchdowns. The Lions will reap the rewards of finally getting another capable national tailback behind Andrew Harris. 

2:6 Winnipeg Blue Bombers: WR Addison Richards, Regina

Like Hamilton, the Bombers are also desperately looking to add a promising Canadian receiver in the draft. Richards may not have the sky-high potential that Durant and Demski have, but will likely develop into a solid starter in the future. A first rounder on tape in most draft classes, Richards is a player the Bombers will not hesitate to select if they decide against trading up for Winnipeg native and former Manitoba Bison Nic Demski.

2:7 Edmonton Eskimos: OL Karl Lavoie, Laval

Lavoie was originally viewed closer to the top tier of offensive lineman available until an injury forced him to miss the national combine. After testing well at a recent workout in front of CFL teams, Lavoie's stock is back on the rise. Similarly to Ruby, this CIS tackle will probably move inside to guard, which is no big deal for the Esks considering their depth of national receivers and defensive lineman doesn't make a fourth starting lineman all that much of a benefit. After losing Matthew O'Donnell to the NFL while already having an aged and mediocre O-line, utilizing their first two picks on two hogs is the right thing for Edmonton to do.

2:8 Hamilton Tiger Cats: James Bodanis, Michigan State

James Bodanis may have the highest ceiling of any prospect available. Despite only playing two years of football in his life and one as an offensive lineman, Bodanis did enough to attract attention from CFL scouts up north. The Ti-Cats will look to upgrade their aged and mediocre offensive line that protects Zach Collaros with this selection.

2:9 Calgary Stampeders: RB Tyler Varga, Yale

Varga shockingly went undrafted last week in the NFL draft and was signed by the Indianapolis Colts shortly after. While I'm confident Varga can make a living in the NFL as a special teamer, it should be noted that it's a lot easier to cut a player that went undrafted rather than one that the team invested a draft pick in.

Round Three: 

3:1 Calgary Stampeders: LB Nick Shortill, McMaster 

Jon Hufnagel's Stamps have enough Canadian depth across the board at this point to take the best player available. The heart of McMaster's defence, Shortill possess' the speed and open-field tackling ability to become a special teams demon for years to come. 

3:2 Hamilton Tiger Cats: WR Jake Harty, Calgary

Even after adding Demski, Hamilton could still use another receiver. Harty compares well to Zach Collaros' favourite target, Luke Tasker, which essentially means he's a perfict fit for Tommy Condell's short pass offence.

3:3 Toronto Argonauts: DT Ese Mrabure Ajufo, Wilfred Laurier

The Argos would be smart to draft and develop more Canadian defensive line talent after changing up their starting NAT-INT ratio in a trade for DE Ricky Foley. Mrabure-Ajufo will compete for playing time right away.

3:4 Calgary Stampeders: SB Melvin Abankwah, St. Mary's

It was recently revealed that Abankwah tested positive for PEDs at the combine, but I don't think that will stop Calgary from picking up the former CIS runningback. With Brad Sinopoli gone to Ottawa, the Stamps, who typically dress more national receivers than most other teams, will look to pick up another National pass-catcher to develop. 

3:5 BC Lions: DT Brandon Tennant, 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 in the CFL as he did at Laval if he can get down to around 290 lbs. 

3:6 Hamilton Tiger Cats: LB Adam Konar, Calgary

For a team that doesn't start any Canadians at linebacker, the Ti-Cats are loaded with depth behind their International starters. Beau Landry, Frédéric Plésius and Marc Beswick are all solid contributors, but like any other team, Hamilton could always use another special teamer like Konar.

3:7 Edmonton Eskimos: DB Kwame Adjei 

The Eskimos lost Chris Rwawakumba to the Lions in free agency and have plenty of uncertainty regarding their current safeties. Aside from depth at safety, Adjei would also slot in well behind Alonzo Lawrence at Sam Linebacker while contributing on special teams. 

3:8 Saskatchewan Roughriders: LB/DE Ron Omara, St. Francis Xavier

It sometimes seems as though NFL teams are paying more attention to Ron Omara than CFL teams are. While I obviously say that jokingly, it's no joke that Omara attending an NFL regional combine and mini-camp shows Saskatchewan would be adding a talented football player behind incumbent starter Keenan MacDougall. 

3:9 Calgary Stampeders: G Campbell Allison, Eastern Michigan

A disastrous combine performance has Allison's draft stock plummeting south; right into the hands of the Calgary Stampeders. The Stamps will find a way to bring out the best of this NCAA product from Eastern Michigan. 

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