You really wouldn't think having the first overall pick in the CFL Canadian College Draft would be a headache, but the Saskatchewan Roughriders are reaching for the Tylenol.
For the second time in three years, the Roughriders own the top pick in the draft. However, unlike in 2010 when the Riders traded up to select Queen’s linebacker Shomari Williams, the Riders are still undecided as to who they will take tomorrow.
Here's the conundrum: as of the latest CFL Scouting Bureau rankings, Boise State defensive end Tyrone Crawford is the top-ranked prospect. However, he's expected to be NFL-bound for at least the near future, as he was selected in the third round by the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL’s draft last weekend.
Although Saskatchewan is indeed in need of a non-import pass rusher, they don’t feel like they can wait for Crawford to return from down south, if he ever does.
Sitting just below Crawford in the Scouting Bureau top 15 is University of Saskatchewan offensive lineman Ben Heenan – the sexy choice.
The Grand Coulee, SK native is hands down the top offensive lineman available in the draft. He has also made no secret regarding his desire to play for his hometown team.
However, the Riders are currently knee-deep in talent at the position, particularly on the inside. During the off-season, GM Brendan Taman went out and signed Dominic Picard and Brendon LaBatte. The team will also have Chris Best returning on the right side, having just signed an extension earlier this week.
Though Best has said that he’s willing to play anywhere on the offensive line, and with the team hesitant to throw a rookie out at tackle, they most certainly wouldn’t want their first overall pick sitting on the bench.
See the predicament?
That's why Wilfrid Laurier receiver Shawmad Chambers makes the most sense to me, but that's purely my speculation.
The Green and White are in need of a big Canadian target since the off-season defection of Andy Fantuz. At six-foot-three, 219-pounds, Chambers fits the bill. With the return of veteran Rob Bagg from injury, the club has the luxury of time on its side to work him into the lineup.
Of course the other option is to trade the pick but I'm told that isn't likely to happen.
For one, Taman doesn't want the reputation of trading first round picks. Secondly, no team has come forth with a desirable offer. The price tag remains two draft picks and a Canadian roster player. With just one day to go before draft day, no one has come close to offering a package like that.
Taman is also coming off perhaps the greatest draft in club history in 2011, although he's received little credit for it. Their first pick, safety Craig Butler in the second round, was the team's rookie of the year and their fourth pick, kicker Chris Milo, took over all kicking duties for the club by Labour Day. Fourth-round pick Alex Krausnik-Groh made the team as a long-snapper as well, while second-round pick Matt O'Donnell got a job in the NFL.
You win some, you lose some.
It certainly was the best draft for the Riders since 2006 when Roy Shivers and company unearthed Canadian gems Andy Fantuz and Luca Congi. Both were integral parts of a Grey Cup championship the very next year.
Will the Riders have as much success this time around? At least they'll have the luxury of getting the very best player available. At least finishing last gets you something.
Rod Pedersen is the Voice of the Saskatchean Roughriders on 620 CKRM. You can check out his award-winning blog at www.rodpedersen.com. Follow Rod on Twitter @sportscage.
|2||Blue Bombers||DE||Mulumba, Andy|
|3||Alouettes via EDM||LB||Edem, Mike|