CFL Draft Grades

It is impossible to grade draft picks less than a week after the CFL Draft.  No one really knows if Shomari Williams will be the player most expect him to be. Jesse Lumsden was a sixth overall draft pick and knowing the injury difficulties the running back has had, would the Hamilton Tiger-Cats still have selected him where they did? What we can evaluate is which team did the best job in getting top value on perceived talent. The 2010 CFL Draft class was viewed as one with immense depth where many of the most talented prospects were so good, they have garnered interest from south of the border. Let’s see how the teams did.

BC Lions

The BC Lions had nine picks, including four in the first three rounds. With their first two picks, the Lions selected players with immense talent, but with the risk that both could end up in the NFL. Danny Watkins was considered by some to be the best player available in the draft while Shawn Gore was perhaps the most talented receiver. From that point, Wally Buono started to fill needs on his team and he did a great job with the Lions selection. Two of the selections I really liked were Joash Geese and Akeem Foster, who represent extremely good value in the fourth round.

Addition of perceived talent grade: A

Calgary Stampeders

Calgary’s first four picks were outstanding. The departure of Sandro Deangelis required the Stampeders to select highly sought after kicker Rob Maver with their first pick. They followed it up by selecting the top cornerback in the draft in Taureen Allen. The Stampeders took the approach opposite of the BC Lions, addressing current needs first before looking to the future with perceived NFL risks. Calgary addressed the long-term future of their offensive line in round three by selecting John Bender and J’Michael Deane. Bender in particular is a phenomenal talent, but he also represents the greatest risk of a player liable to make it to the NFL.

Addition of perceived talent grade: A+

Saskatchewan Roughriders

Like the Eskimos, the Riders only had four picks by the end of the draft but they definitely made the most of it. They took the top overall rated player in the draft in defensive end Shomari Williams with the first pick of the draft. With the eighth pick, the Riders looked to keep their stable of non-import receivers one of the CFL’s deepest by adding Jordan Sisco.  Their next pick didn’t come until the fifth round, where they added offensive lineman Patrick Neufield, a developmental prospect that will need at least a year or two of seasoning before any significant contributions could be expected. The Riders selected highly rated defensive end Bruno Lapointe with their final pick of the draft. Lapointe fell significantly from where I thought he would be taken, so getting him in the fifth represents excellent value for Saskatchewan.

Addition of perceived talent grade: B+

Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Winnipeg walked away from the draft with four selections made. Cory Watson was thought to be the third best receiver in the draft after Gore and Sisco, so taking him in the second round represents good value. The Blue Bombers added depth players with the additions of linebacker Christopher Smith and running back Anthony Woodson in the fourth round, followed by defensive lineman Christopher Greaves in the sixth. Although I can’t dispute any of Winnipeg’s picks, I come away from their draft a little underwhelmed given the amount of talent there was to be had.

Addition of perceived talent grade: 

Hamilton Tiger-Cats

After a series of trades, Hamilton did not make their first selection in the draft until the third round, but they still managed to get a first round prospect, and it wasn’t even with their first pick. At the 19th spot, they added a blocking running back in Sam Fournier to their lineup. He lacks speed, but Hamilton must have a role in mind for the 238-pound back to have selected him where they did. Just four spots later, the Tiger-Cats selected what could be the steal of the draft in defensive tackle Eddie Steele (no pun intended on that one). Not only is Steele an outstanding talent, but he has the perfect name for a future resident of Hamilton.

Addition of perceived talent grade: B+

Toronto Argonauts

Toronto needed to come away from the draft with some players that could potentially step into their roster this year and make them more competitive. Their first two selections, made second and third overall, provided help along the offensive line in the form of Joe Eppele, and at linebacker with Cory Greenwood. Their seven other selections were made with the thought of adding depth. Astute moves were made to land offensive lineman Joel Reindeers and speed demon receiver Steven Turner in the fourth round. Reindeers is a very intriguing prospect because he has only played a couple of years of organized football but has enough natural talent to have garnered the interest of the Cleveland Browns in the NFL.

Addition of perceived talent grade: A

Montreal Allouettes

The Montreal Allouettes are the best team in the CFL for a reason. They are patient in their approach and don’t panic. They took their seven picks and quietly went about filling needs. Thier first pick was Kristian Matte, who like many of the most talented linemen in this year’s draft, has attracted the attention of NFL scouts south of the border. They also added the top ranked defensive end in the draft by selecting Chima Ihekwoaba, who has also been pursued by NFL teams. The Allouettes clearly look to the future with their drafts, with no immediate expectations placed on their picks. They also added linebacker Curtis Dublanko in the second, a prospect that represents the top of the second tier of linebackers available for selection.

Addition of perceived talent grade: A

Final Thoughts

As you can see, with one A+, three A, two B+, and a B grades handed out, the 2010 CFL Draft was loaded with talent. Every team had the opportunity to select at least one high quality prospect and stock their cupboard with players that will either add depth to their non-import roster or potentially turn into a home run in the future. I can’t wait to look back on this draft in a couple of years and see how things shake out.

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