Ottawa REDBLACKS General Manager Marcel Desjardins told me during Grey Cup week that he had mixed feelings about the rules for Monday's Expansion Draft.
In one sense he thought it was reasonably fair, but in another he felt the existing eight CFL clubs could have been a little more generous regarding the number of players they were allowed to protect.
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One thing is for sure, the REDBLACKS will get a quarterback who should provide them with instant credibility at that position. And that's a dramatic improvement over the 2002 Draft when the Ottawa Renegades joined the CFL.
In that draft, the existing clubs were able to protect three quarterbacks, along with nine other imports and seven Canadians. This time, the eight clubs can only protect six Canadians and 11 imports, but only one of the imports can be a quarterback.
Assuming that Calgary protects Bo Levi Mitchell, Desjardins will be able to pick either Kevin Glenn or Drew Tate from the Stampeders, along with another quarterback, perhaps Thomas Demarco of BC, Trevor Harris of Toronto or Justin Goltz of Winnipeg.
That's the kind of one-two quarterback punch the Renegades would have killed for back in 2002.
Here in Winnipeg, the Blue Bombers don't expect to be hurt too badly by the draft. Based on their performance in 2013, the Bombers would tell you they don't have the depth of talent, especially Canadian talent, that most of the other teams have. They also have 23 players headed for free agency, the bulk of them Canadians.
Desjardins has also insisted all along that he will not waste any of his 24 picks (8 imports, 16 Canadians) on a player who is eligible for free agency on February 15.
It will be intriguing to see if he sticks to that plan. The existing teams have deliberately made no effort to re-sign many of their potential free agents, thus reducing Desjardins selection options. Is it possible Desjardins will have a change of heart and pick one or two free agents in hopes that he can sign them before the free agency begins?
There is a tremendous amount of intrigue surrounding Monday's proceedings. Given that the existing 8 clubs are not revealing their protected lists, it's very difficult to project what kind of roster the REDBLACKS will be able to assemble during Monday's draft.
Clearly, though, they should get some good players. Each team in the CFL has 17 import and 7 Canadian starters.
They can't protect them all. And in particular, look for Ottawa to start stock-piling Canadian offensive linemen. They are a staple on any successful CFL club.
For sure, Desjardins and the REDBLACKS will get a decent quarterback, maybe two. And that puts this Ottawa team miles ahead of the last one, 12 years ago, that re-entered the CFL.
Bob Irving has covered the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for CJOB Radio in Winnipeg since 1973. Bob is the Sports Director at CJOB and is in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, reporters division. Follow Bob on Twitter @BobIrvingCJOB
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|9||Matthias Goosen||Simon Fraser||OL|