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May 7, 2017

Mock Draft 3.0: Do the Bombers have to have Faith?

Iowa Hawkeyes

From the first overall pick to Mr. Irrelevant, CFL.ca’s Marshall Ferguson offers up his third and final mock draft before the CFL Draft:

Kyle Walters has a number of options with the first overall pick going into Sunday’s draft. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers could trade out, they could go with a big named future player who is currently dancing through the NFL, they could pick a top flight receiver, or have any other number of approaches with the first overall selection.

In my first two mock drafts I had Mason Woods and Geoff Grey respectively going with the top pick. Woods seemed to fall out of favour after the combine despite it being his first time playing with defenders off the ball in a very long time and Gray’s deal with the Green Bay Packers affects his stock.

 

MORE ON THE CFL DRAFT
» Ferguson, Forde tackle the draft’s burning questions
» Breaking down the draft’s top 20 prospects
» Mock Drafts: 1.0 | 2.0

This draft board is as fluid as can be and my counterpart Duane Forde summed it up perfectly this past week on the CFL Draft conference call when he said: “there could be more variation in nine CFL teams’ draft boards than in 32 NFL teams’ draft boards.”

With that said, let’s jump into it, from the first pick of the draft to Mr. Irrelevant, where the defending Grey Cup Champion Ottawa REDBLACKS are slated to pick 71st overall.

With the 2017 CFL Draft set to unfold on Sunday, May 7, here’s my third and final mock draft covering all eight rounds:

 

 ROUND 1

Iowa Hawkeyes

1. WINNIPEG
FAITH EKAKITIE

DL | IOWA

 

 

Faith Ekakitie is a CFL-ready NCAA product who fits multiple defensive schemes and is readily available after not testing the NFL like many others. I believe this profile fits what Winnipeg should want to do with the first pick while playing with house money collected from the Drew Willy trade.

Ekakitie is not without flaws, but no player this year is. Not once to me, regardless of NFL dabbling, did a player scream ‘top pick’.

ASUCLA Photography

2. SASKATCHEWAN
ELI ANKOU

DT | UCLA

There are rumours that if the Riders go with a futures type of pick it could be an offensive lineman and I’ve also heard Ankou might be interested in only the NFL or following his other aspirations. But a 331-pound defensive tackle with a near-record setting broad jump playing for a power conference division one program? Sure seems like a Chris Jones kind of guy to me if he ever appears after signing a priority undrafted free agent deal with the Houston Texans.

University of Idaho

3. BC
MASON WOODS

OL | IDAHO

Mason Woods made a lot of people – present company included – worry with the inability to bend his tall frame to gain leverage during one-on-ones at the national combine. In hindsight, he might not have had the best day but one day does not a bust make.

Woods wont blow you away with his athleticism but he can get the job done and has worked hard according to several reports from Idaho to build his body from what it was two years ago to where he stands now. There is still a lot to learn about Mason Woods but one thing I know right now is where he is from – Port Coquitlam, B.C. – and what type of guy Wally Buono likes on his offensive line.

With some maturation, Woods can develop into a really solid interior lineman beginning as a rotation player behind Hunter Steward. If he falls past the Lions at three I don’t think he makes it to the Lions’ second pick in the first round as barring a trade, Edmonton should be more than happy to select Woods.

Alistair Boulby/McMaster Sports

4. HAMILTON
DANNY VANDERVOORT
SB | MCMASTER

 

 Yea, I played with this guy at McMaster. Yes, he made me look far better than I ever should have by catching balls that never should have been caught. No, this is not a favour to say thank you for that.Danny Vandervoort has earned the right to be a first round selection and for the third mock draft in a row I see a natural landing spot 10 minutes from his student house at McMaster. When Brian Jones went fourth overall to the Argos last year my immediate thought was Vandervoort better be a top-five pick in this year’s draft based on comparable production while in university and athletic ability.

This is by no means a lock with the Lions possibly eyeing a receiver and multiple teams likely to dive in requesting a trade from the Riders at the second overall selection. But if the order stays status quo, I’m not sure the Ticats could get a better player than Danny Vandervoort and it just so happens to fit one of their biggest needs moving forward.

Henderson State Athletics

5. EDMONTON
DONDRE WRIGHT

DB | HENDERSON STATE

 

Throughout this entire draft process I have been adamant that Dondre Wright is a Rider. He played college ball in the south – Arkadelphia, Ark. to be exact – and is a physical specimen and has a mean streak to his game. All factors which I believe fit Chris Jones profiles as a talent evaluator. I just don’t think he falls to the Riders at the 11th pick and taking him at second overall feels like a stretch.

Another long, physical national defensive back signed with the Eskimos in free agency this past year in Andrew Lue. If the Eskimos draft Wright – or Robert Woodson for that matter – they could create a solid foundation of secondary ratio options at field corner or as backups to Neil King at free safety.

Jeff Miller/Bison Sports

6. WINNIPEG
GEOFF GRAY

OL | MANITOBA

 

 

He’s worth the risk.

I understand it doesn’t fit the rules of where a guy should be drafted when picked up quickly following the NFL draft and I get that the Packers clearly loved him based on their visit to Winnipeg for the unicycle-riding pro day and having him to Wisconsin on a visit. With all of that said, if you are the Bombers and you don’t take Geoff Gray only to watch him selected by, oh I don’t know.. the Riders in the second round, and Gray comes back to Canada within three years only to wear Green for 10 years, it would be tough to forget.

Get a player you can use quickly at the top selection and welcome the name Geoff Gray to your futures depth chart with a smile knowing that if he came north it would be a home run.

Carleton University

7. BC
NATE BEHAR

WR | CARLETON

My second-ranked receiver finds a home inside the first round because Nate Behar deserves to. Nate would have interviewed well at the CFL Combine in Regina and has all the work ethic and athleticism in the world to go along with quick snappy breaks and long ball adjustment skills. With the retirement of Shawn Gore, Behar is a fitting replacement who’s ready to produce.

Bethune-Cookman University

8. CALGARY
DARIUSZ BLADEK

OL | BETHUNE-COOKMAN

Teams have been hot and cold on Bladek since the CFL Combine. His body has greatly evolved since his days at Bethune-Cookman but his drive to play the game and be a CFL player have not. Bladek wants to be here and wants to compete NOW. He is tired of waiting around after a year working following the paperwork for his national status not being completed in time for the 2016 CFL supplemental draft.

I see this as a lineman-heavy draft for the CFL’s West Division Champions and Bladek would be a great place to start.

McMaster Athletics

9. OTTAWA
FABIAN FOOTE

DL| MCMASTER

Fabion Foote comes with one year of exceptional production and some great testing numbers. I’m not sure that’s enough to push him ahead of Kay Okafor or Kwaku Boateng. If it is enough, it’s due to his natural fit as a three technique defensive tackle — unlike Boateng — and his more refined pass rush moves unlike Okafor.

If Ottawa sees those attributes as well, why not join the fold of stout defensive tackles in the nation’s capital where Foote can develop behind experienced pass rushers such as Zach Evans and Connor Williams?

 

ROUND 2

 Joseph Safakis/McGill

1 (10). TORONTO
QADR SPOONER

OL | McGILL

Trestman and Popp could make a splash by leaping into the first round with some wild package of picks and young players but I don’t do trades in mock drafts because it’s like saying you know what food will taste like before anyone told you the ingredients.

If the Argos stand tall to start the second round, they could add immediate offensive line depth in Qadr Spooner who showed above average athleticism at the combine.

David Moll/University of Calgary

2 (11). SASKATCHEWAN
ROBERT WOODSON

DB | CALGARY

I wanted to give the Riders Dondre Wright here but he and Woodson are so close in overall grade that with Wright possibly going earlier, it could be a natural next step in the draft.

Yan Doublet/Laval

3 (12). MONTREAL
ANTONY AUCLAIR

TE | LAVAL

Be it because of Laval roots or offensive style, I am keeping Auclair in the East. He could be next to fellow Rouge et Or tight end Patrick Lavoie in Ottawa but a dynamic french Canadian pass catcher and special teams contributor like Auclair would be a great selection for Kavis Reed in his first draft as Alouettes general manager.

I understand the NFL angle here and Montreal not having a first round selection doesn’t make taking a possible futures pick easy to do  — but it feels right and most mock drafts are completely wrong anyway so why not do what just feels right?

Matt Smith/CFL.ca

4 (13). HAMILTON
BRADEN SCHRAM

OL | CALGARY

Mathieu Girard started several games in 2016 when Mike Filer injured his ankle late in the fourth quarter of a Week 4 victory at Montreal. The next week the Ticats went to Edmonton, had a comeback for the ages and Jeremiah Masoli set a completion streak record. Lost in all of that was that Girard held his own against Almondo Sewell for four quarters.

Girard retired this off-season to take a job back home in Montreal and now Hamilton has to find his replacement as a young swing man capable of playing solid, mistake-free football at multiple positions in a moment’s notice. Meet your new Tim O’Neill, Braden Schram.

 UCLA Bruins

5 (14). EDMONTON
CAMERON JUDGE
LB | UCLA

Every year there is a mystery man who becomes a national just before the draft. This year it was Cameron Judge, linebacker and special teamer from UCLA. His athletic testing numbers are through the roof and his natural fit is as a special teams tackling machine capable of filling in for free agent acquisition linebacker Cory Greenwood.

 Johany Jutras/CFL.ca

6 (15). WINNIPEG
JOHNNY AUGUSTINE

RB | GUELPH

If Andrew Harris goes down in a game where you have to protect your new starting quarterback Matt Nichols, why not employ the services of a running back who looks as chiseled as a roman statue and owns a black belt in karate? Johnny Augustine can do it all, including an increased ability to run routes which would fit Harris’ usage patterns in Paul Lapolice’s Winnipeg offence.

SFU Athletics

7 (16). BC
JORDAN HERDMAN

LB | SIMON FRASER

Herdman has been the most difficult evaluation of any prospect in the 2017 draft. An exceptional on-field talent who just doesn’t test well, I think he gets a chance to contribute quickly in BC.

 St. Francis Xavier

8 (17). CALGARY
KAY OKAFOR

DL | ST. FX

It seems unfair for me to gift wrap the Calgary Stampeders a player with the highest ceiling of any draft eligible player but it just feels like something one of the best personnel-collecting teams in the CFL would do. I can’t wait to watch Okafor develop and seeing him do it in Calgary under Devone Claybrooks and Corey Mace would be special.

 CFL.ca

9 (18). OTTAWA
TUNDE ADELEKE

DB/PR | CARLETON

Maybe I like home cooking too much but Adeleke showed dramatically improved man coverage skills compared to game film while also running the best 40-yard dash at the national combine. He can play and could develop as a really nice option behind Antoine Pruneau in Ottawa down the line.

 

ROUND 3

Kha Vo/Laurier Athletics

1 (19). TORONTO
KWAKU BOATENG

DE | LAURIER

It’s not fair for a player of this caliber to fall this far in the CFL draft. I’m just not sure there is a natural fit for one of my favourite players in the 2017 class. Kwaku isn’t an interior rusher and he doesn’t strike me as someone with the movement to drop back and play linebacker. With that said, he could be taken much earlier as a growing defensive end with special teams upside.

 University of Maine Athletics

2 (20). MONTREAL
CHRIS MULUMBA

LB | MAINE

His pro day numbers were good but raw. A tall middle linebacker who will make a special teams impact quickly? Sure sounds a lot like Fred Plesius, whom the Alouettes acquired in the off-season, creating a role for Mulumba along his side.

 Arthur Ward/CFL.ca

3 (21). HAMILTON
JORDAN HOOVER

DB | WATERLOO

From the ‘where did he come from’ category is Jordan Hoover. The Waterloo defensive back put up exceptional numbers at the national combine and showed he can cover too. With last year’s 41st overall pick Elroy Douglas being released last week, I believe Hoover could stay in his Waterloo black and gold.

 Johany Jutras/CFL.ca

4 (22). EDMONTON
SEAN THOMAS-ERLINGTON

RB | MONTREAL

Aaron Milton said farewell in free agency February. Enter Sean Thomas-Erlington, as well rounded a running back as there is in this class.

 Johany Jutras/CFL.ca

5 (23). WINNIPEG
MITCHELL PICTON

REC | REGINA

There is a chance the Bombers want one of the top two receivers this year but if they don’t get them, expect a wait for either Picton or Alex Morrison of UBC.
Johany Jutras/CFL.ca

6 (24). BC
MARK MACKIE

DL | MCMASTER

He tested well, he can play special teams quickly and he dominated one-on-ones at both the Ontario Regional and CFL Combines.

 University of Montreal

7 (25). CALGARY
JUNIOR LUKE

DL | MONTREAL

 Depth, depth, depth, depth, depth, depth.. EVERYBODY!

Arthur Ward/CFL.ca

8 (26). OTTAWA
ALEXANDRE CHEVRIER

LB | SHERBROOKE

This guy is built to be a special teams gunner. He and Pruneau side by side on punt and kick coverage could be a lot of fun.

ROUND 4

1 (27). Toronto
Jean-Simon Roy
OL | Laval

The CFL’s bench press hero finds a spot in Toronto. When re-booting a roster with a new GM and head coach, you can’t go wrong drafting a Laval offensive lineman… right?

2 (28). Calgary
Emmanuel Adusei
DL | Carleton

I said above that I thought this was a lineman-heavy draft for the Stampeders. Adusei played defensive tackle at Carleton but took offensive guard reps at the regional combine. He can play both effectively, something the Stamps should embrace if they keep having starting linemen get injured.

3 (29). Montreal
Mathieu Dupuis
DL | Montreal

Tough, physical, strong. All words I would use on Dupuis. The ratio might not fit his election but the style of play and regional geography does.

4 (30). Saskatchewan
Connor McGough
DL | Calgary

Connor McGough impressed me as much as any player in this draft on film. He’s fast, plays with leverage, can bully offensive linemen despite being undersized a bit and was given special teams responsibilities.

5 (31). Edmonton
Audrey Webster
DB | Alberta

The Eskimos need to add speed to the profile of their national offensive players. Webster can do that for them here.

6 (32). Saskatchewan
Alex Morrison
WR | UBC

Another one of my favourite stories. Morrison is a Sault Sabercats alumni who has fantastic speed and runs well above the average for his size. At UBC he ran everything from screens to deep shots over the top. Big fan of his skill set and could see him going even earlier to the Bombers or as a fallback pick to the Tiger-Cats.

7 (33). BC
Justin Senior
OL | Mississippi State

Senior will fall significantly after being drafted 210th overall to the Seattle Seahawks, whose offensive tackle portfolio is not great. He has a chance there but maybe BC takes a shot on him as a future left side partner of Mason Woods.

8 (34). Calgary
Corey Williams
LB | Toronto

Max Caron has struggled through multiple injuries during his young tenure in the CFL. Maybe the Stamps bring in a guy who can cover down in the flats similarly with Corey Williams.

9 (35). Ottawa
Anthony Gosselin
RB | Sherbrooke

It just kind of fits, right? A bruising fullback-type body with hands who can catch those little check downs from Trevor Harris or block on special teams for the REDBLACKS’ return game.

 

ROUND 5

1 (36). Toronto
Evan Johnson
OL | Saskatchewan

Johnson was one of the most impressive testers at the national combine due to his well-rounded skill set. Think Sean McEwen Jr.

2 (37). Saskatchewan
Jeremy Zver
OL | Regina

I had to put at least one Ram as a Rider or I wouldn’t be allowed back to Regina any time soon. Zver is a solid, safe pick with good feet.

3 (38). Hamilton
Ed Ilnicki
RB | Alberta

With Anthony Woodson gone to Calgary in free agency and Mercer Timmis looking to increase the work load, Ilnicki would fit in nicely.

4 (39). Montreal
Nakas Onyeka
DL | Laurier

Every time I played against Nakas Onyeka he felt like Chip Cox when I watched Alouettes games. He’s just everywhere and has a way of finding the football, even when you plan around preventing him from getting there.

5 (40). Edmonton
Nate Hamlin
DB | Carleton

Hamlin struggled at the national combine in man coverage. Maybe he gets added to the rotation at free safety alongside fellow draftee Dondre Wright.

6 (41). Edmonton
Keith Graham
DB | Carleton

A special teams ace? Why not eh, for the Eskimos?

7 (42). BC
Ante Milanovic-Litre
RB | Simon Fraser

At the combine I heard Geroy Simon say “Ante ran better than we thought he would, he’ s got a chance.” Buy local and find a role for him if he earns it and can stay healthy.

8 (43). Calgary
Denzel Radford
WR | Calgary

The Stamps will know Radford better than anyone. They might be the only team who knows how good he could become.

9 (44). Ottawa
Ed Godin
DL | Laval

Hello Arnaud Gascon-Nadon. Meet your new roommate. Another Laval defensive end with a slightly undersized build and high motor. No word on Godin’s hands yet.. sorry Ticats fans.

 

ROUND 6

1 (45). Montreal
Jonathan Mack
WR | McGill

SLEEPER ALERT. Mack could be selected even higher but regardless of when he goes, I believe he outperformed Mount Allison’s Dakota Brush and St. FX’s Christan Ridley at the Eastern Regional Combine.

2 (46). Saskatchewan
Justin Vaughn
DL | Fordham

Add him to the rotation.

3 (47). Hamilton
Felix Menard-Briere
K | Montreal

At some point Hamilton has to stop renting kickers. Go after the best one available whether it’s Micheal Domagala from Carleton (St. Catherine’s), Lewis Ward from Ottawa (Kingston) or Menard-Briere.

4 (48). Montreal
Antoine Demers
OL | Sherbrooke

The Alouettes need to start building that offensive line ratio from the bottom up again.

5 (49). Edmonton
Matt Singleton
LB | Black Hills

Okay, fine. You caught me. I just put Singleton to the Eskimos because I want to watch the TSN Labour Day feature on the Singleton brothers playing against each other. Leave me alone, I like when Brian Williams does that stuff.

6 (50). Winnipeg
Samuel Narkaj
DL | Concordia

More depth in a draft full of it at defensive tackle.

7 (51). BC
Brad Friesen
LB | Calgary

Another fallback to the Jordan Herdman pick listed above.

8 (52). Calgary
Jordan Filippelli
OL | Calgary

He came in heavy and didn’t move all that well. If anyone gives Filippelli a chance I think it’s the Stampeders.

9 (53). Ottawa
Emile Charron-Ligez
DL | Montreal

I really like the speed Emile brings to the edge while having a long reach to extend offensive tackles. I think Ottawa will too and could see him pushing for time before season’s end.

 

ROUND 7

1 (54). Toronto
Akeeno Williams
DB | Manitoba

The project of all projects. I’m a big fan of Akeeno Williams’ length and willingness to make the switch from receiver to defensive back at the end of his days at Manitoba. He’s a project but he has the right attitude and I hope he gets a chance to come east and enjoy doing what he loves.

2 (55). Saskatchewan
Malcolm Carter
WR | Carleton

I labelled him the unicorn at the combine and where better to go and realize your dreams than Saskatchewan as a true developmental receiver? If Chris Jones wants to add some national flavour to his team it might be done quicker at other positions but receiver is still an area of priority.

3 (56). Montreal
Leon Cenerini
LB | Carleton

A long shot, but a worthwhile one.

4 (57). Saskatchewan
Cory Robinson
DL | Calgary

In my estimation, the second best Calgary defensive lineman behind Connor McGough. Maybe they both end up together in Regina.

5 (58). Hamilton
Alexandre Gagnon
DL | Sherbrooke

The Ticats add an impressively-built end from Sherbooke with elite length as a fallback to Capicciotti.

6 (59). Winnipeg
Evan Foster
DL | Manitoba

The 2017 CFL draft’s mighty mouse finds a fit on the same field he starred for the Manitoba Bisons with. Foster took defensive line and linebacker reps at the combine and could influence special teams quickly.

7 (60). BC
Adam Adeboboye
WR | York

One of the top five route runners in the draft learns how to play as a little man the right way from Chris Williams.

8 (61). Calgary
Julan Lynch
WR | Saskatchewan

Underrated. Good size, average speed, strong hands and the type of personality that suggests he wants to learn. Sounds like a Dave Dickenson guy to me.

9 (62). Ottawa
Brendon Thera-Plamondon
WR | Calgary

Former Calgary Dinos slotback Brett Blaszko, now of the BC Lions, told me current Dinos slotback Brendon is ‘a fun meathead’. Sounds like a worthwhile late-round acquisition to the buds in Ottawa behind Queen’s alum Scott Macdonnell.

 

ROUND 8

1 (63). Toronto
Randy Colling
OL | Gannon

Veteran arena league player just discovering national status? Seems like a quick way to add skill to your national depth.

2 (64). Saskatchewan
Tylor Henry
WR | Alberta

More receiver depth for the Riders.

3 (65). Montreal
Richard Gillespie
DB | Toronto

Gillespie could go much earlier – and probably should – but Montreal would be a great fit.

4 (66). Hamilton
Peter Hannon
WR | Queen’s

A fallback to the Vandervoort test and a player to develop as an emergency fill-in two years down the road.

5 (67). Edmonton
Zac Sauer
DL | Queen’s

No true fit in Edmonton but I think Sauer deserves to be drafted based on game film and Edmonton could be a suitor.

6 (68). Winnipeg
Austen Hartley
WR | Calgary

Quietly one of the better receivers on tape in terms of base skill set and understanding of defences.

7 (69). BC
Adam Laurensse
DB | Calgary

He’s small in stature but man can he play. Somebody needs to give him a chance and see what happens.

8 (70). Calgary
Isaac Lauzon
RB | Sherbrooke

You can never have too many Rob Cote look-a-likes.

9 (71). Ottawa
Kyle Van Wynsberghe
WR | Carleton

The CFL’s Mr. Irrelevant might not have as flashy or interesting a back story as Jim Kelly’s nephew Chad Kelly, who was picked last in Philadelphia last week at the NFL Draft. With that said, his story is equally worth cheering for.

Kyle Van Wynsberghe was a high school quarterback in Delhi, Ont. who became a receiver with the inaugural Carleton Ravens team of 2013. Not only did he figure out how to play receiver, he became one of the best route runners in this year’s draft.

Despite his small frame and average testing numbers, I’m cheering for Kyle to get a chance and I bet you will too if you see him play.