The ALSternative – 2015 CFL Draft Preview Edition

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In 24 hours, the lives of several young men will change forever as their names will be called and they will be invited to join the ranks of the Canadian Football League. In an interesting twist, several of this year’s top Canadian prospects have either been drafted/signed by an NFL team or were invited to attend the New York Giants’ rookie mini-camp this past weekend. Until today, there was some uncertainty on which direction CFL general managers were going to go for the draft. Would they be willing to select a player whom the team may not see for a couple of years down the road, if ever?

As it turned out, none of the players who attended the Giants’ camp impressed New York’s football brass enough to be offered a contract. Thus, these next 24 hours are crucial for CFL teams and their scouts as they go over any last minute film on these young hopefuls in order to decide just who they will take with their respective picks.

The Montreal Alouettes will select fourth overall in the first round, then select again at the #13, #31, #36, #40, #48 and #57th overall positions. Alouettes General Manager Jim Popp got very aggressive in free agency and signed a lot of talent over the winter, but a team can never have too many top-notch Canadian-born players. So which way will Popp go tomorrow evening?

Whose name will Jim Popp call upon first at the 2015 CFL Draft?
Whose name will Jim Popp call upon first at the 2015 CFL Draft?

Popp has said in the past that he will always go for the best player available as opposed to drafting solely on team needs. With that in mind, don’t be surprised if at some point you hear one or more of the following names being selected tomorrow evening to join the Montreal Alouettes:

Daryl Waud: The one area I see immediately with the Alouettes that needs attention is along the defensive line. Waud would fill this need nicely, bringing along his speed and ability to swim past the O-Line towards the opposing quarterback. Pair him with Mike Klassen or Khalif Mitchell and opposing QBs are going to have to think fast to survive. Also, he’s a Canadiens fan! Putting him in Montreal’s blue/red/silver makes perfect sense!

Lemar Durant : The Alouettes have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to their receiving corps. That being said, the health of Nik Lewis is not a 100% sure thing, Fred Stamps is not getting any younger and I will be stunned if Chad Johnson actually bothers to show up at training camp. Montreal has to think young and long-term with receivers and Durant’s playmaking prowess will only get better with time.

Karl Lavoie : Offensive linemen are traditionally more treasured than gold in the CFL draft and this year’s class is no exception. The cat is out of the bag though when it comes to selecting players from Universite de Laval as it used to almost feel like the collegial powerhouse was the Alouettes’ farm team. No longer, as the other CFL teams have taken note that the Rouge et Or have been able to produce top-tier talent for over a decade now. If Lavoie is still available in the second round, Montreal would be wise to snag him to bolster their roster of all-National O-Linemen.

Maxx Forde : He’s extremely raw, but I can see defensive coaches Keith Willis and Anwar Stewart turning this former University of Idaho Vandal into a pet project. Like Waud, he can be a force along the D-Line with a bit of seasoning. His father is former NFL/CFLer Brian Forde, so this league is in his bloodlines. If no one else has wised up to him by the 5th round, I’d be thrilled to see the Als snatch him up.

Brandon Bridge: The dream of a Canadian-born quarterback playing full-time still lingers for CFL fans. Bridge could have been that hope, except for the fact that he has signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent. Jim Popp could draft Bridge in the 6th or 7th rounds if still available and wait out those NFL aspirations. Popp is always looking for his next great QB and should the NFL dream not happen for Bridge, he can come north and be schooled by a coaching staff that features one of the greatest signal-callers in Anthony Calvillo.

It’s highly unlikely that the Alouettes will be able to get all of this aforementioned talent unless they can work some trade magic out. But for a roster with no glaring needs, Montreal can get creative and still find ways to add depth to this talent-laden football team.

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Tomorrow’s draft will be featured both on television and online. You can catch the first two rounds on TSN2, then the remaining rounds on TSN.ca and with the TSN GO app on your smartphone. I sincerely hope that last year’s debacle served as a lesson for the CFL’s lead broadcaster to have all their technical ducks in a row, as draft coverage was a complete gongshow to watch unfold live last year.

I’m still of the opinion that the network could show all seven rounds of the CFL Draft on, say, TSN 4 and that would be perfectly fine. A quick glance at the TV schedule has NBA playoff games being shown on 4 of the 5 TSN channels. I certainly do not doubt the place of playoff basketball among sports fans in Canada, but I think you could have spared one of these channels to broadcast the entire draft and roundball fans still would have gotten their fix. Just my personal opinion.

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Keep your eyes here on 3 Down Nation as our talented group will be sure to break down each team’s draft picks and put them into context with the current roster. I’ll be back later in the week to weigh in on what Jim Popp and the Montreal Alouettes do tomorrow as they decide who will become the newest members of the Birds of Prey.

What about you, the fans? Who do you see the Alouettes taking in tomorrow’s draft? Hit me up on Twitter and let me know who you think Montreal will pick up. The new CFL season is close at hand, football fans! I can’t wait!

GO ALS GO!!!

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8 thoughts on “The ALSternative – 2015 CFL Draft Preview Edition

  1. I am glad to see someone else besides me thinking the Als may very well obtain a Canadian QB. Even if it ends up being an extra QB being paid a real contract salary of an entry developmental QB that is placed on the 6 game.
    AC has gone public that he would wants to have a Canadian QB somewhere on the roster where he could personally take the project. Not just developing his skill but everything that comes along with being a pro QB.
    He has also stated that he liked the two they brought in a few years ago and would have liked to have seen them have been signed and developed. Since one is already with the Als and has made the move to WR In Kyle Graves. I suspect he is speaking of the other Kyle in Quinlan. Who the Als have kept the rights to be still keeping him on the suspended list.

    Question. What is going on with Quinlan. Only info is that he is at Mac as a coach. Being the legend he is there i would have to think he stays in shape and throws some balls during Camp.

    1. Still no news on Quinlan other than he’s still on the suspended list. But he didn’t think he’d get the chance to compete and took the coaching gig at McMaster. He may get the itch to play again, but I think Montreal has moved on for the most part.

      1. Oh I can see where he was coming from at the time. A complete overall with Hawkins as HC I think he was right.
        Just curious with Popp keeping him on the suspeded list then AC comes out and basically says he deserved a chance.
        At that time in 2012 he could have easily went to camp with Hamilton or Toronto, as all Canadian QBS in camp were non counters in 2012 i beleive, both with strong ties to Mac. He trust Ptaszek. I cant help but think that Popp, AC, and Coach P realized what was happening with Hawkins as Coach and may have kept the lines open as PoPP resetled with the Als and got his offensive staff in place.
        Higgins is a puppet now at HC. Shonert/Garcia and now Shonert/AC/dinwiddie will be running that offense. Thorpe got control of the defense. And Popp went out and got his own Teams coach finally releiving Higgins of that duty. Last season Popp began adding some very quality returners and now with Kavis there you can already see the Stamp he is putting on Teams by signing a young big leg kicker in Bede and now a vet big leg Punter and Kickoff guy in Schmidt.

  2. I will be surprised if the Als don’t go for Groulx or Ruby with their first pick. Bourke and Perret aren’t getting any younger, and the Canadians at OT is such an important part of the Als approach to ratio, it is never too soon to start auditioning successors.

    1. I wouldn’t be sad to see either of those fellas on the Alouettes, but OL are very prized and Montreal also has OLs waiting in the wings like Simon Legare and Ryan White. If Groulx doesn’t go to Ottawa or Winnipeg, I’ll be surrpised.

  3. Greetings:

    I will be surprised if Brandon Bridge gets a look, and this assessment is not completely based on talent. It’s a rules thing, if I understand my CFL regulations correctly. If the Nationalities of QBs counted towards the import ratio, then Mr. Bridge would likely be drafted this evening. Since they are not, there’s little reward/incentive for taking on a young Canadian QB for development purposes. This is a CBA issue, so it could change if the players or management want it to. Perhaps the author has a better grasp on the rules than I do, so please correct me if I am mistaken.

    Here’s an assessment provided by former QB prospect and now Stampeders coach Marc Mueller:
    https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/cfl-55-yard-line/canadian-qb-marc-mueller-speaks-against-cfl-quarterback-070806107.html

    1. Hence why I suggested that if Bridge is drafted, it’ll be in the very late rounds. Even if the team doesn’t see him for 2-3 years (if ever!), it’s low-risk at best. It’s ironic that the NCAA is doing a better job of producing a Canadian-born QB than any of the CIS schools. If more Brandon Bridges are on the horizon, better believe that the ratio rules will change.

  4. It may not be so surprising to see an NFL team look to move him to Receiver if he does not pan out as a QB. More noticalbe in the CFL with Canadian QBs but NFL teams have moved QBs to other positions a plenty. The NFL well known for its own bias on QBs but it was not restrcted to just just bias with QBs of all colors being moved.

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