For the first time since 2009, also the last time Hamilton had the number one overall selection, the Ticats made a pick in the first round of the CFL Draft.
In 2011 and 2012 the Black and Gold traded down and out of the first round. Back in 2010 Hamilton forfeited its first round pick, fifth overall, by virtue of choosing Weber State offensive lineman Zac Carlson in the 2009 supplemental draft.
As we all know, with the first overall choice in 2013, the Ticats went ahead and did what was expected, selecting University of Calgary defensive lineman, Linden Gaydosh.
“I think ultimately the final decision came after he visited us in Hamilton. We had him ranked very, very high on the board, if not the highest guy on our board prior to that,” Tiger-Cats general manager and head coach Kent Austin said.
“We wanted to make sure all of our coaches were comfortable with him. I wanted to get my coaches in front of him and make sure that who we thought should be the first pick, we wanted to stay with.”
Gaydosh made a trip to the Steel City in the days leading up to the draft.
“We wanted to get to the bottom of some things that we didn’t have enough time for during the short combine interview,” Austin said. “We talked to him about football more, found out what his NFL aspirations were and how important it was to be close to home, if important at all.”
Suffice to say; when Austin and his staff heard the answers they were satisfied with, Gaydosh was locked into the number one draft spot.
However, Gaydosh, the big defensive lineman who grabbed a lot of positive attention on draft, was just one of eight selections made by Hamilton during the talent grab.
Ticats head Canadian scout, Drew Allemang kept a close eye on Canuck talent around North America in preparation for the draft. He has an in-depth knowledge about the athletes Hamilton chose, so I got him to share his thoughts on the eight players the Tiger-Cats selected.
Round 1, Pick 1, Linden Gaydosh, DL, Calgary
“Very athletic, quick, high motor kid, that’s physical, strong and tough. A kid that we know can come in and play on the inside and give us some ability right away – he’s a pretty special player. You have to earn you position, but he can come in and contribute very quickly.”
Round 2, Pick 6, Brent Urban DL, Virgina
“He’s a player on the upswing that is very athletic. We think he’s a strong kid. He’s got tremendous size. He’s someone that we see in the mix on the defensive line. We’re excited about him, but he has another year of college left still. You’d like to see some more progression from him in his final year at Virginia. Last season was his first year playing inside and he made some strides, but it’s a lot different in there than playing defensive end. He’s still learning how to play inside and develop a pass rush from in there. He’s got all the physical tools to be a good one in our league.”
Round 3, Pick 1, Carl-Olivier Prime, LB, Wagner College
“He’s going to be able to do some different things for us. He did go to Wagner as a fullback originally, but he’s done some pretty good things on the defensive side of the ball. Whether he stays at inside linebacker or another position – we’re interested to take a look at him at defensive end. He has some natural pass rush ability that we’ve seen. We know he’s signed with the Colts, so we’re going to have to wait on him. We don’t know what will happen down there, but we think he brings a lot of versatility to the table for us. He’s going to be able to play on special teams and be a dynamic player for us. We were pretty excited to get him where we got him in the draft.”
Round 4, Pick 8, Simon Le Marquand, WR, Ottawa
“Another one we were happy to find him where we drafted him. A good-sized kid that has a lot of length, he’s got excellent hands and is a physical, tough kid. He runs good routes and is going to come in pretty polished. He’s got a competitive spirit about him that will translate to being a player that can go out on special teams and contribute on offence for us.”
Round 5, Pick 1, Isaac Dell, FB, Wilfrid Laurier
“He has tremendous versatility. He played mostly, really a receiver position there last year, but also carried the football and did some things as a tight end. We see him as a fullback, tight end type of guy that can also go out in the slot and catch the ball very well – he’s got great hands. He has some long snapping ability as well. He was originally recruited as a linebacker as well, so you know he’s going to be able to contribute on special teams for you. He’s defensive-minded the way he plays.”
Round 5, Pick 7, Neil King, DB, Saint Mary’s
“He’s played some safety and has also played a little bit of linebacker. Pretty good-sized kid, he’s got a thicker build to him. He’s a physical, tough kid and a very good open field tackler. He’s going to come in and work at safety and maybe be a smaller Will (weakside) type of linebacker and have very good special teams ability.”
Round 6, Pick 1, Michael Daly, DB, McMaster
“We watched him develop throughout the year, he was a little bit banged up at the combine, but he’s got very good ball skills, good instincts from the safety spot and has some range back there. He’s a pretty sneaky athletic kid that runs better than you’d think. He plays the game fast and is a physical kid. Football intelligence-wise, he’s got a high IQ. He’s played a lot of free safety, but he’s also played different positions for McMaster, depending on the game plan. We think he can step in and contribute for us.”
Round 7, Pick 1, Brett Lauther, K, Saint Mary’s
“We have some pretty good kickers already, but we’re going to develop him and work with him. He’s got a good-sized leg. He was very accurate last year. He does all three kicking positions, he punts and he’s a good kickoff guy. He made some clutch kicks at Saint Mary’s. He’s a very athletic kid too, was a receiver in high school and he’s got some upside for sure. He’s a kid who was heavily involved in game plans at Saint Mary’s from a special teams standpoint.”
Allemang believes the Ticats are not in a position where the team has to rush any of the 2013 draftees to play.
“We’re going to be particularly deep from a Canadian standpoint. We will play them if they deserve it,” he said. “We have time on our side with these kids and because they’re all pretty good special teams players, anything can really happen.”
With draft day in the rearview mirror, it’s now up to the new non-import pieces to decide their own path with the Black and Gold.