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May 3, 2018

Mock 4.0: Reflecting Wednesday’s blockbusters

UBC

TORONTO — It feels like yesterday we were putting together Mock Draft 3.0 in preparation for the 2018 CFL Draft. That’s because it pretty much was yesterday.

The so-called ‘final’ mock draft was short-lived after three trades sent the CFL world into a frenzy on Wednesday night. The BC Lions and Hamilton Tiger-Cats traded up into the first round, with the Ticats getting the encore by acquiring the draft’s first overall pick.

While Montreal only moved down one spot to second overall, the Bombers and Eskimos go into the day of the draft without a first round pick.

Back to the drawing board with a bonus version 4.0, covering the first two rounds of the draft:

ROUND 1

1. HAMILTON (via MTL)
TREY RUTHERFORD
OL | UCONN

We’ve been splitting hairs on the top end of the offensive line draft for a couple months now. Rutherford has consistently found himself among the best players available in this draft, but what truly separates him now is his apparently-singular focus on the CFL. While Ryan Hunter of Bowling Green and Dakoda Shepley of UBC have NFL undrafted free agent workouts planned, Rutherford does not, which should endear him to the team with the top pick.

Now here is where things get difficult to evaluate. This pick could easily be Central Michigan receiver Mark Chapman. I have said all winter I believe Chapman to be the perfect fit for June Jones’ NCAA-style offensive approach as Hamilton continues to expand its playbook, but would the Ticats trade draft picks and an established player like Ryan Bomben for the rights to ensure the Alouettes wouldn’t take Chapman? That seems like a hefty price to pay in order to draft an offensive skill position player and leave yourself a void to fill at offensive line, arguably the most important national depth position.

I don’t get that feeling but I also see a situation in which the Ticats feel strongly enough to take Chapman. Landon Rice has developed into a great swing guard for Hamilton in the last three years and played significant snaps at guard allowing June Jones to sing Ryan Bomben to tight end last year in the black and gold six-man offensive line set. I could see the Ticats trusting Rice enough and his lower salary moving forward to trade Bomben in confidence and draft Chapman to secure their national receiver future, but for now it feels like Rutherford is the pick ready to challenge Rice for a starting role come Week 1 for the Ticats in Calgary.

2. MONTREAL (via HAM)
MARK CHAPMAN
REC | CENTRAL MICHIGAN

Chapman was by far the smoothest receiver at the CFL Scouting Combine, confirming what I had already seen from him in NCAA games for Central Michigan. His burst coming out of routes separates him from most of the 2018 receiver draft class and his hands are as natural as they come.

In Central Michigan’s NCAA-style spread offence, Chapman caught many quick screen passes, ran jet sweeps and was used as a constant threat or decoy with his speed threatening every part of the opposing defence. If he doesn’t go with the top pick to Hamilton I think Montreal has to take him here.

Montreal has enough holes on the national roster that any talented pick is a good pick, but Chapman is an exceptional pick able of creating separation better than any receiver in this draft, which would be a massive help to whomever the Alouettes elect to be their starting quarterback.

One interesting – and unlikely – scenario has the Ticats going Rutherford, the Alouettes taking an offensive lineman they have great confidence will be in camp, followed by the Lions who also need offensive line help. That could see Chapman fall all the way to the REDBLACKS at the fourth overall selection where I feel like his value would be well worth the pick despite the Ottawa’s national receiver talent base of Sinopoli and recently-signed Julian Feoli-Gudino.

3. BC
DAKODA SHEPLEY
OL | UBC

Dakoda Shepley is not a BC native but no team will understand his pros and cons more than the BC Lions. Add in their natural need to add an athletic edge to a porous 2017 offensive line and I believe you reach a conclusion that the Lions should consider Shepley as an upgrade.

By adding him to their prospective roster – pending NFL opportunities – the Lions would upgrade their ability to get the ball out in space, quickly out of Jonathon Jennings‘ hand while getting linemen down field as is the ever-increasing CFL trend.

 

4. OTTAWA
JULIEN LAURENT
DL | GEORGIA STATE

Ottawa is the most difficult fit for me in the first round. They could go traditional offensive lineman, futures offensive lineman or receiver depending on how the first three picks unfold. I also believe they could trade backwards if nerves get the best of the Lions searching for more Jennings protection or Winnipeg wants back into the top-nine fray.

With that being said, if the REDBLACKS pick here they could get good value for Georgia State’s Julien Laurent, as Laurent is extremely talented, has Ontario roots and is more likely to arrive in the nation’s capital ASAP than former Ottawa defensive line pick Mehdi Abdesmad, whom the REDBLACKS are still waiting on.

5. SASKATCHEWAN
GODFREY ONYEKA
DB | LAURIER

Onyeka said entering the winter he believed he should be the top overall pick due to his athleticism and versatile playing style. Chris Jones has to be a fan.

Jones could use Onyeka in a plethora of situations on the Riders defence and special teams, ranging from punt gunner and kickoff coverage to linebacker and free safety. Godfrey’s instincts and reaction time are among the best of any defender at all three levels of the defence in this draft class. He should not get out of the first round.

6. HAMILTON (via EDM)
DANIEL PETERMANN
REC | McMASTER

As I said in mock draft 3.0, putting Petermann at fourth overall to Ottawa felt like a bit of a reach even though I believe he has first round talent, potential and work ethic. This pick feels like a more natural number for Dan, who would get a chance to stay local from Stoney Creek’s Cardinal Newman Secondary to McMaster University and finally the Ticats. A path taken by former Ticats 17th overall draft pick in 1994 Mike Morreale.

Petermann would solve the Ticats’ receiver question alongside Guelph receiver Jacob Scarfone behind Shamawd Chambers, Mike Jones and Felix Faubert-Lussier.

Again, I preface this by saying the Ticats have become the absolute wild card in this draft and if they go Chapman at one overall, there is no chance they go recover here and likely take a futures offensive lineman while promoting from within to replace the sudden Bomben void.

7. BC (via WPG)
MARK KORTE
OL | ALBERTA

He’s got an NFL invitation but Mark Korte is just too good to fall out of the first round. He has the look of a long-term CFL offensive lineman who could develop into an absolute rock on any team’s offensive line. BC needs as much help as possible on the line in this draft and I would be shocked if they didn’t go protection with both of their first round picks.

I believe Ed Hervey traded up to get a chance to take a future offensive lineman and someone who can play right now. Why not Korte as the immediate help?

8. CALGARY
ANDREW PICKETT
OL | GUELPH

Last year the Stampeders took defensive lineman Randy Calling with their first round selection. A mystery to many fans coming from the arena football league who played sparingly in 2017.

This year I think Calgary goes more realistic and national with the first round. Andrew Pickett has been overshadowed by the bigger names in this draft but he is ready to play soon, has had great technical training and deserves to be in consideration for Calgary.

9. TORONTO
RYAN HUNTER
OL | BOWLING GREEN

Hunter shows all the signs of a long-term CFL lineman, from build and size to natural quickness he is the full package. The only reason for his drop in Mock Draft 3.0 is his NFL opportunity, meaning a team like Toronto at the back end of the first round could take him with the hope of seeing a payoff down the road.

 

ROUND 2

1 (10). EDMONTON (via HAM)
JACKSON BENNETT
DB | OTTAWA

Jackson Bennett has impressed me through and through as the winter has turned to early spring. He has return game ability similar to Carleton Ravens 2017 draft pick Tunde Adeleke and could slot into free safety as a rotational player with the Eskimos by mid-season.

2 (11). HAMILTON
DAVID MACKIE
RB | WESTERN

The Darian Durant pick, which was flipped for Zach Collaros this winter, is about to turn into Jeremiah Masoli’s new best friend. David Mackie is THE Swiss army knife of the 2018 CFL Draft. Mackie blocked for the country’s leading rushing attack, serving up skilled blocks with come with a CFL-style high degree of difficulty and execution in the Mustangs power run offence.

Mackie could develop under Carl-Olivier Prime in Hamilton and be unleashed in a variety of creative ways by June Jones over the next couple years. As the old saying goes in the CFL, “the more you can do..” Mackie has experience as a long snapper and Aaron Crawford is on the mend for Hamilton meaning Mackie – the predominant H-back in this year’s draft – comes with big time upside.

3 (12). WINNIPEG (via BC)
RYAN SCEVIOUR
OL | CALGARY

The Bombers don’t have a high need for linemen in this draft which is a credit to the work of previous drafts by Kyle Walters and Mike O’Shea, but if they want to add a name here, I believe Ryan Sceviour would be among the best available at the position and would up the level of competition in camp with previous draft picks.

4 (13). OTTAWA
DAVID KNEVEL
OL | NEBRASKA

Knevel is a mountain of a man with a skill-set any CFL coach would love to work with. The big question is whether or not he will end up north or south of the border. With a couple of rookie mini-camp invites and his God-given size, Knevel could stick with an NFL roster into the summer months but he is well worth the risk here for an already-talented REDBLACKS national line group.

5 (14). SASKATCHEWAN
RASHAUN SIMONISE
REC | OKANAGAN

Simonise didn’t impress athletically at the combine the way many assumed he would, but there is no denying his natural length and hands. His profile as a former NFL experienced speedster fits the Riders’ draft profile as of late and given the Riders’ structure, Simonise could compete with nationals Devon Bailey and Josh Stanford immediately for playing time.

6 (15). HAMILTON
ISAIAH GUZYLAK-MESSAM
DB | LAURIER

While all the hype coming into the national combine was – rightfully so – about Laurier’s Godfrey Onyeka, his Golden Hawks teammate Isaiah Guzylak-Messam was never far behind in the Winnipeg evaluation.

A Hamilton native and graduate of MacNab Secondary, Guzylak-Messam is a physically-thrashing defensive back with a ball hawk mentality who finishes every play. His immediate impact could come on special teams learning from another U SPORTS player of similar background and playing style in Jonathan Langa.

7 (16). BC (via WPG)
MICAH TEITZ
DB | CALGARY

Teitz plays low and fast, serving as an effective linebacker both in pass coverage and against the run in Calgary. After losing Mitch Barnett in free agency to the BC Lions, I thought Teitz would be a great fit for Hamilton who would be happy to add Teitz as a depth weak side linebacker.

After all the trades Wednesday I think the Ticats might address other needs, making Teitz available to develop on specials and possibly play alongside of Barnett in Vancouver.

8 (17). CALGARY
PETER GODBER
OL | RICE

Godber didn’t impress many football operations team staff by arriving in Winnipeg and deciding not to test until his pro day, but once Godber did test, the numbers were impressive. When combined with his consistent play and ability to stay on the field, Godber should be off the board by the mid-teens at the latest.

9 (18). TORONTO
ROYCE METCHIE
DB | GUELPH

This might be too high for Metchie but if a run happens on defensive backs like Onyeka, Bennett and Guzylak-Messam early enough, don’t be surprised if Metchie becomes highly-coveted with his unique size, speed and ability to play the ball like a receiver in the air.