Everything that every 2014 CFL Draft hopeful has done for the better part of the past year has led up to this very moment, and you can be sure that there nerves are at an all-time high.
The action kicks off at 7pm ET, when Commissioner Mark Cohon will announce the first overall pick this year, belonging to the expansion Ottawa REDBLACKS.
The newest team in the CFL will get their chance to add yet another important piece to their puzzle, in the hopes that it will help them to win fast and often down the road.
“We’re basically ready to draft today,” said Desjardins in an interview with CFL.ca’s Don Campbell. “If it was right now, we know who we would like to make No. 1 and we would be very happy to choose that person.”
In an ideal world, the REDBLACKS would have likely selected offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. However, the McGill product was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 6th round of the NFL Draft over the weekend, causing many to believe that he’ll be a mid-to-late-round pick.
Duvernay-Tardif was not the only top prospect that has seen his draft stock take a hit, as Concordia’s Quinn Smith would tested positive for a banned substance in drug test taken at the CFL Combine.
However, CFL.ca’s Justin Dunk doesn’t believe Smith will fall too far down the Draft board.
“Smith’s positive banned substance test caused some red flags to pop up about him around the league, but teams don’t feel it will be a recurring issue. He still has a lot of good film,” said Dunk.
“Smith played both offensive and defensive line at Concordia and some teams feel he might be better as a blocker,” he added.
While Simon Fraser’s Matthias Goossen has garnered a lot of interest as a potential top pick, there has been a lot of chatter that Laval centre Pierre Lavertu will hear his name called first by The Commissioner.
“Barring a surprise it’s hard to see anyone else going first overall besides Lavertu,” said Dunk.
Expect to see a lot of offensive lineman selected at the top of the Draft, as teams continue to search for long-term solutions to keeping their quarterbacks on their feet.
Though most of the top-end prospects appear to be linemen, there are still a number of strong skilled players available, including Manitoba running back Anthony Coombs, who CFL on TSN Draft Guru Duane Forde has high hopes for.
“Anthony Coombs is the best skill player in the draft. The comparable to him would be Andrew Harris,” he said.
It is an interesting and exciting time for everyone in the CFL, including BC Lions head coach Mike Benevides, who was hard pressed to contain his excitement.
“It’s one of those days that’s extremely exciting, not for only us as an organization but our league and all of these young men that are waiting to have an opportunity to be a professional football player.”
Below are some interesting stats and trends to keep in mind while watching tonight’s Draft:
– Over the past 14 years, 63% of draft selections have come from CIS schools.
– Barring trade, this will be the first year that every team will select in the first round since 1996.
– In 2009, 79% of draft picks were from Canadian universities, the largest margin of the last 14 years.
– In 2013, 73% of draft picks were from Canadian universities, second largest margin in the last 14 years.
– In 2012, 47% of draft picks came from NCAA schools, the highest percentage in 14 years (this includes four draft picks from Simon Fraser University which now competes in the NCAA).
– Laval has had the most players drafted in the past 14 years (33), accounting for 4.7%, followed closely by Saint Mary’s (32 players – 4.6%), Calgary (31 players – 4.4%) and Western (30 players – 4.3%).
– Eastern Michigan has the largest percentage of draft selections from a school south of the border in the past 14 years (8 players – 1.1%).
– U. of Calgary has the most first round selections in the first round of the CFL draft since 2000 with 9.
– U. of Calgary has had at least one prospect selected in the first round in three straight drafts.
– U. of Calgary had three first round selections in the 2013 CFL draft, most ever.
– Offensive linemen have accounted for 24% of the picks since 2000, with receivers following with 19%.
– 15 Offensive linemen drafted in the 2013 draft was the most since 2003 (15).
– 13 Defensive linemen drafted in the 2013 draft was the highest in the past 14 drafts.