Well, another draft is in the books but this version of the annual player selection looked and felt unlike any we have ever known.
With no CFL Combine, less pro days and minimal face to face interaction, team boards had less consensus with their opponents leading to more picks coming from ‘off the board’ as we media like to say. It’s hard to understand what that old cliche meant this year when there really was no board to reference with great consistency.
In a draft without standardized testing data to work off of ,the game itself became king to many, if not most, in evaluation.
Listen to any scout, General Manager or coach over the last 48 hours and they’ll tell you “the draft experience was altered, but not THAT different.” In reality, the circumstances surrounding this years selections DID have an impact. It created two main trends that grew on me and became increasingly refreshing as the draft went on.
First, the unpredictability of the 2020 draft.
Right from the very first pick we took a hard U-turn away from normalcy and straight towards intrigue. When the BC Lions made the aggressive move to jump up and select Jordan Williams.
It set the tone for the remainder of the draft where it quickly became clear everyone had their own opinions on how this draft should work and less group think created a wide open selection process.
From Regina Rams OL Theren Churchill to the Argos at 9th overall to Ottawa Gee-Gees DL Alain Pae at 13th, UBC REC Trivel Pinto drafted earlier than his now teammate Lemar Durant or four kickers being taken, it was all over the place from the very start which created a fantastic viewing experience as even the semi-educated weaved and bobbed through the twists of the evening.
The most important trend of the draft for me was that football players appear to have been evaluated for their on-field football talents more than ever. Thanks in large part to our current surroundings and obvious restrictions, film was the best way to understand a player outside of doing background research on a player with their coaches and teammates.
As a result, players like Waterloo’s Tyler Ternowski, Acadia’s Bailey Feltmate, Laval’s Adam Auclair, Carleton’s Jack Cassar, St.FX’s Johnathan Zamora, Guelph’s Coulter Woodmansey and so many more found homes relatively early in a year where if a National Combine had taken place in the natural flow of the off-season, perhaps they could have been overshadowed by the classic overvaluation of data that surrounds football, but doesn’t define it.
Any way you slice it the 2020 CFL Draft looked, felt and reacted differently. As we all take a quiet moment to reflect on what really matters to us during this pause in normalcy we have the rare opportunity to appreciate the little things more than we do on an ‘average’ day.
As I reflected on the draft after its completion early Friday morning, I found myself appreciating how this draft created excitement due to its sporadic nature, rewarded those who produce on field as every draft should and brought CFL fans together – if only for a few hours – at a time when we all need to feel the embrace of community.