With that, the debate over where players will go is at an all-time high, and the conversation is expected to continue until the first pick is announced on by Commissioner Cohon, with Ottawa on the clock with the first overall pick.
Speculation has grown as to who the REDBLACKS will select. Many pundits believe that they will be targeting an offensive lineman, which happens to be a strength at the top of the draft class.
In the final Scouting Bureau rankings, there are three offensive lineman listed in the top five ranked prospects, Quinn Smith can be added as the fourth to the list as he is listed as a defensive lineman but can play offensive line as well, so the REDBLACKS have options if they choose to address their offensive line.
In terms of players contributing right away in the CFL, rookies must be accepting of the fact that they’re likely going to play special teams at the start of their careers. When asked about who he sees as someone who can contribute right away, Forde mentioned twelfth ranked linebacker from Simon Fraser, Casey Chin.
“I look at a guy like linebacker Casey Chin,” said Forde. “Chin is a guy who’s going to play right away and is going to make a difference right away on special teams.”
With the news of Smith’s positive drug test breaking prior to the Draft call, many in the outside world thought that Smith’s draft stock would take a hit and possibly see him fall out of the first round, where he was originally projected. But Forde doesn’t see it that way.
“I think it’s going to affect Quinn a little bit, but I don’t think it’s going to take him out of the first round; in part based on that supply and demand,” Forde said.
“Smith remains one of the best prospects in a draft that’s a little bit thin in terms of what you would label as top end guys.”
Smith is not the only top defensive player being talked about though, as teams are always looking for that next great Canadian on on the defensive side of the ball.
When Forde was asked who he thinks could be that guy, specifically in the secondary, he pointed to Université de Montréal defensive back Antoine Pruneau for his play as a safety and Queen’s defensive back Andrew Lue for his versatility.
“For me the best defensive back in the draft is Antoine Pruneau from Montreal and he’s a guy that’s suited to play free safety not to play corner,” Forde mentioned.
“As far as the corners you’re going to be looking at a guy like Andrew Lue who played corner at Queen’s and is a big body, I think Lue could probably play either spot.”
For any first-year player looking to crack the Week 1 roster, versatility is always a huge bonus , especially on the offensive line. Forde pointed to Simon Fraser offensive lineman Matthias Goossen as a good example.
“For me right now I think that Goossen offers slightly more flexibility and I think should it come down to needing a guy that can play more than one position. He’s a guy who has played all five positions on the offensive line in college,” he said.
As for the skilled positions, University of Manitoba running back Anthony Coombs received high praise from Forde.
“Anthony Coombs is the best skill player in the draft,” said Forde.
“The best comparable to Anthony would be Andrew Harris.”
With only a few days until the CFL Draft, many of our questions have yet to be answered but come Tuesday night all should be cleared up when the names are announced and teams introduce their newest teammates.