Sports Football

CFL executives offer mixed bag of draft predictions

By Kirk Penton, Winnipeg Sun

Daryl Waud a Western defensive tackle, who is ranked high for the CFL draft works on flexibility and mobility during a pre-CFL combine camp being held at Western's Thompson Arena in London, Ont. (Postmedia Network file photo)

Daryl Waud a Western defensive tackle, who is ranked high for the CFL draft works on flexibility and mobility during a pre-CFL combine camp being held at Western's Thompson Arena in London, Ont. (Postmedia Network file photo)

VERO BEACH, Fla. – The CFL draft is less than a month away, and teams are busy moving players up and down their boards in preparation of the big day.

Instead of taking a guess at who we think will go where on May 12, we decided to pick the brains of a few CFL executives about what they think the first round of this year's deep draft will look like. Not surprisingly, the results are a mixed bag.

1. OTTAWA

The unanimous opinion from our scouts is the RedBlacks will take an offensive lineman. Two of them pegged Connecticut offensive lineman Alex Mateas, who just so happens to hail from the nation's capital, as the choice. He is an established NCAA starter who isn't expected to get much of an NFL chance. The odd scout out figures the RedBlacks will grab star Laval tackle Danny Groulx.

2. WINNIPEG

Once again, the unanimous selection was an offensive lineman. Two of them believe it'll be Sukh Chungh from the Calgary Dinos. Chungh was the star of the CFL combine and would give the Bombers much-needed depth on the line. The other choice was elite UNLV tackle Brett Boyko, which tells you what that scout thinks of his NFL chances. Boyko is the top-rated player in the draft.

3. TORONTO

This is where we started to see some different selections. One pick was Manitoba receiver Nic Demski. The Argos lost Spencer Watt in free agency and Demski is the kind of versatile player GM Jim Barker loves. Another felt Western defensive tackle Daryl Waud, who could probably start fairly soon, would be the pick here. A third believed Mateas will fall to the Boatmen.

4. MONTREAL

Demski was one choice here, which wouldn't be a bad idea considering the team's dearth of Canadian receiving talent, while another said Groulx. He's a tackle, and the Alouettes start an all-Canadian offensive line, so Groulx would make plenty of sense here. Then again, GM Jim Popp has said he is happy with his offensive line depth. Another scout felt the Alouettes will choose Simon Fraser pass catcher Lemar Durant at this point. Put your money on a receiver.

5. B.C.

All of our scouts agreed on an offensive lineman here, with two of them putting their money on University of Richmond tackle Jacob Ruby. The other had the Lions grabbing Calgary's Sean McEwen. Whoever it is, the Lions need help on the offensive line, so that's the best bet.

6. SASKATCHEWAN

One bird dog believes Boyko will fall to this spot, so he must think he's going to at least get an NFL look. More will be known about his situation after the NFL draft April 30 to May 2. One bird dog has Simon Fraser receiver Lemar Durant going here to shore up Saskatchewan's pass catching depth, while a third feels the fastest man at the combine, Regina defensive back Tevaughn Campbell, won't have to move to begin his CFL career.

7. EDMONTON

One choice here is Durant, another is McEwen, and a third is Chungh. Durant could be a solid addition to a receiving corps that is already Canadian heavy and will therefore always be in need of depth, while McEwen could likely step right in and replace guard Matt O'Donnell, who left for the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals in February. It would be surprising to see Chungh fall this far, but he could also start right away.

8. HAMILTON

The Ticats offensive line could always use a boost, so one scout has GM Kent Austin grabbing Groulx with his first-round pick. Another has Austin taking top combine performer Chris Ackie, a defensive back out of Wilfrid Laurier who can also play linebacker. A third has a gut feeling that it will be Demski. The Ticats are deep in Canadian talent, and they're going to get a good one here.

9. CALGARY

What will the defending champs do? One choice here is Regina receiver Addison Richards since the team lost Brad Sinopoli to Ottawa in the off-season, while another is Waud, given the fact Calgary likes to use interior Canadian defensive linemen. A third possibly, according to our scouts, is McEwen, who would get to stay in Cowtown and learn the pro game from an elite offensive line.

DURANT'S BACK

The Saskatchewan Roughriders were the first team to hold a mini-camp this year, spending three days last weekend at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

Despite some issues with the field, the Riders had to be very pleased with how quarterback Darian Durant looked in his first team action since last season. Durant revealed to reporters in Bradenton that in addition to the tendon tear in his right elbow, he also suffered a slight dislocation last September in the Banjo Bowl against Winnipeg.

The league's highest paid player made all the throws and said his arm “is as strong as it's ever been.”

"He did great,” wide receiver Taj Smith told The Leader-Post. “He put a lot of zip on the ball when I was just watching. Even catching the ball, I could tell he was doing a great job.”

The Eskimos released cornerback-returner Joe Burnett, and he wasted little time in signing down the highway with the Stampeders. He and defensive co-ordinator Rich Stubler have history ... The Bombers last week signed the son of running back great Willard Reaves. The difference is Jordan Reaves is a receiver who hasn't played football in 10 years. Instead, he played CIS basketball for the Brandon Bobcats ... The Lions extended the contract of Canadian receiver Marco Iannuzzi last week. He had only 11 catches for 124 yards and no touchdowns last season ... The Stampeders also brought back defensive tackle Micah Johnson, who is coming off a serious knee injury.


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