It’s CFL Draft Day!!
After months of preparation, the best and the brightest football talent that this great nation has to offer will take center stage tonight starting at 8pm ET on TSN.
Once again, this year’s draft class is rife with invites to NFL rookie mini-camps, which will potentially affect how all nine CFL general managers make their picks. Once again, this speaks to the level of football talent being produced in this great nation of ours. This year’s NFL Draft saw a Canadian-born player taken in the first round. Suffice to say that even if N’Keal Harry filed the paperwork needed to qualify for the CFL draft, the odds of him ever stepping foot on a Canadian football field would easily be slim to none.
But there is a ton of Canadian talent out there and the Montreal Alouettes will be looking to restock their war chest with some hungry young men. They won’t have a first-round draft pick as they forfeited that to select offensive lineman Tyler Johnstone in last year’s supplemental draft. So in essence, you can say that the Alouettes already have this year’s first round pick signed, sealed and delivered.
Alouettes Nation, if you’re still jonesing for picks, fear not: Thanks to trades at last year’s deadline and a new CFL rule, the Alouettes will actually have THREE picks in the second round. This year features a new rule where the two teams with the highest waiver priority (a nice way of saying the two worst teams in the league) would each get to make one territorial draft pick at the end of the second round.
Territorial means that each of these two teams are allowed to select an additional player based in their geographical region. Therefore, the Toronto Argonauts will be allowed to select an Ontario-based player while the Alouettes will choose a player based in Quebec. This will also help promote interest from residents of each province looking to support a local talent.
In total, the Alouettes will select players at the #13th, #16th, #19th (territorial), #21st, #30th, #39th, #48th, #57th and #66th position. This is barring any last-minute trades to move up/down the draft order. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers currently have the 4th and 5th overall picks and many are wondering if Alouettes general manager Kavis Reed would make a deal to get back into the first round.
It’s happened before. Just last year, the Alouettes and Hamilton Tiger-Cats swung a major deal that saw the first and second overall picks traded as well as a bunch of other players/draft picks. So if Winnipeg GM Kyle Walters is ready to make a deal, perhaps the Alouettes will make headlines once again before the first overall pick is even announced.
This is a draft that Reed and Director of National Scouting Miles Gorrell cannot afford to screw up. With talk of potential new ownership for the Alouettes in the air, there is a sense of urgency around this organization to better themselves on and off the field. Otherwise, another housecleaning of staff may be in order.
Gorrell has helped build winning franchises in years past and his goal is to do exactly that with this 2019 Montreal Alouettes football team.
Now time for the fun part of this column: Speculating on who Montreal actually selects!
Just like in years previous, I can only offer up who I personally feel would be a great addition to the Montreal Alouettes. There’s no guarantee the Alouettes will select these young men but if they do, you folks should be very excited.
In no particular order, here are the names that Alouettes fans should hope to see added to the roster tonight:
Jaylan Guthrie, Guelph (OL)
This guy is a pure hoss, at 6’5 and just a shade over three hundred pounds. What I like is his sandpaper and the way he plays this game with an edge. Guthrie won’t hesitate to throw his body in front of an opposing lineman and has the ability to open up lanes for his running back (Or a mobile quarterback!). Montreal can’t draft too many talented offensive linemen and Jaylan would be a very nice addition.
Vincent Desjardins, Laval (DL)
With the highest-ranked Quebecois player (and fellow Rouge et Or) Mathieu Betts getting signed by the Chicago Bears once the NFL Draft was completed, the next man up is Desjardins, who showed out at the CFL combine with his intensity and great football acumen. Laval is a Canadian football factory and as Montreal will one day need to think about a future without John Bowman, this powerhouse is a look into what may become.
Chris Osei-Kusi, Queen’s (REC)
This guy got on everyone’s radar at the CFL combine with a blistering 4.47 time during the 40 Yard Dash. He then followed it up by putting on a clinic during the 1-on-1 drills, dazzling everyone with his route-running and great hands. Montreal already has some talented young National receivers, but you cannot pass up on a player like Osei-Kusi. I have a feeling that someone will snag him before Montreal finally gets the chance to pick in the second round. But if not, the Als would be wise to select this instant playmaker.
Hakeem Johnson, Western (DB)
There is a LOT to like here. Johnson tested very well at the CFL combine this past March and his physicality is truly remarkable. I see a lot of Dondre Wright in Hakeem and getting the chance to play with/back up Wright in the Alouettes secondary will be a major boost for this young man. This Brampton native already looks like a veteran and he would be a nice sight to see in camp later this May.
Vincent Roy, Sherbrooke (OL)
Montreal has the luxury of that territorial pick and I wouldn’t be mad seeing them use it to take this young man. He’s a bit lighter than the other offensive linemen I’ve listed, but that means additional quickness and readiness to read the rush. Roy is always looking downfield, as though he sees the play develop before it happens. Sherbrooke may not get the love that Laval or Universite de Montreal does, but they produce some very solid players. Vincent can be the latest diamond in the rough for any CFL team.
Lukas Redguard, Concordia (DL)
I’ve watched his film a number of times and this guy is just remarkable. His ability to break through and get to the quarterback is terrific. Redguard brings an unbridled intensity that will suit him well as his professional career grows. With his six foot frame carrying 260 pounds extremely well, his burst and physical prowess will turn a lot of heads. Again, the Alouettes have that territorial pick and could possibly take that free money to invest it in big Lukas here.
Gordon Whyte, St. Francis-Xavier (LB)
Montreal has a wealth of talent at the linebacking position and they added a true stud in Jean-Gabriel Poulin during last year’s draft. But by selecting Whyte, the Alouettes would not only add another former Axeman to the roster (see Muamba, Henoc) but a player with a ton of grit and football readiness. Like most draftees, he’d have to pay his dues on special teams. But I think this Toronto-born tackling machine would excel if his number gets called here in La Belle Province.
Again, I cannot guarantee that the Alouettes will draft all or any of these players. But if they do, then you as a fan of this team should be very excited.
Thursday’s draft should get the juices flowing as you’ll get to see a look into your team’s future. As always, you can follow along on Twitter to find out who will be joining the Montreal Alouettes as they prepare for the upcoming CFL season.
Now all we need is a new collective bargaining agreement from the league and its players and we’ll be all set to get this 2019 season underway.
Enjoy your CFL Draft night and may the odds forever be in your favour. As always, thanks for reading.