The 2019 CFL Redraft
When CFL.ca Managing Editor Chris O’Leary asked me what drafts I wanted to tackle this year I thought about it then said, let’s do something different.
How about a re-draft based off just one year of play?
It’s reckless, irresponsible, irrational, and fun to think about. In just one year what type of impression can you make - for better or worse - that suggests someone took you too high or low? To the football executives credit many of the top picks appear early on to be a perfect fit, but there is certainly more wiggle room in the second round.
1st to Toronto - Oklahoma State OL Shane Richards (Previously 1st overall to TOR)
By all accounts the Argonauts seem more than happy with the investment they made in Richards last year. He has work to refine like most top end prospects but the size and athleticism is undeniable and he had moments of dominance in his first go-round with the double blue including an opposing teams coach sending me a video of him steamrolling an Alouettes offensive lineman in the preseason with the caption “not bad for a new guy”.
2nd to Hamilton - Waterloo OL Jesse Gibbon (Previously 2nd overall to HAM)
You might not have seen much from him if you don’t live in Hamilton or cover the team but the Ticats got this pick right. Not only is he a home town home run, but Gibbon spent all of 2019 pithing six inches of veteran Chris Van Zeyl who he began asking for tips and tricks by the former Argos second day in training camp. He was ready coming in and he’ll surpass expectations with the right seasoning, only to be strengthened by pairing with 2018 East Outstanding Lineman Brandon Revenberg.
3rd to Edmonton - Laval DL Mathieu Betts (Previously 3rd overall to EDM)
If you are going to take a risk on an NFL bund Canadian this high then 2019 worked out about as well as it possibly could have for the Esks who got Betts back in a relatively decent time frame and saw the skill set they drafted him for come to life quickly as he bent around CFL edge blockers with the smooth power that earned him countless accolades with the Rouge Et Or.
4th to Winnipeg - Windsor OL Drew Desjarlais (Previously 4th overall to WPG)
Winnipeg’s offensive line was forced to evolve all season long and their fourth overall pick was a central part of that flexibility as Desjarlais filled in all over with Cody Speller playing star substitute on their way to a Grey Cup championship.
5th to Winnipeg - Tennessee DL Jonathan Kongbo (Previously 5th overall to WPG)
I mean.. He came off an ACL tear, recovered, and became a dominant rusher again earning his shot in the NFL signing a contract with the 49ers on just one season of pro film.. Kongbo was a different monster and deserved to move up to Edmonton at numbers three if anything in this draft but so many of the fits were perfect.
6th to Saskatchewan - UConn REC Hergy Mayala (Previously 8th to CGY)
Mayala was the best rookie receiver in 2019 and it wasn’t even close. In the 2019 draft 14 receivers were taken. With Hergy Mayala & Colton Hunchak the Stamps led the CFL in rookie targets (58.1%), rookie catches (64.2%) and rookie receiving yards (70.1%) with Mayala accounting for the vast majority of those numbers.
7th to Ottawa - Kansas OL Alex Fontana (Previously 7th to OTT)
He dressed for all 18 games which can’t be said for many other offensive lineman from the 2019 draft class and appears to be every bit the consistent rock GM Marcel Desjardins was looking to solidify the line for years to come when he drafted the Toronto native.
8th to Calgary - Laurier DL Robbie Smith (Previously 9th to TOR)
Smith impressed me at the combine with his raw athleticism and elite workout score before taking to the field and showing he could do more than just chase OUA passers. With Mayala gone to the Riders two picks earlier I wonder if the Stamps might have taken a shot at Smith to pair with Derek Wiggan.
9th to Toronto - St.FX REC Kaion Julien-Grant (Previously 13th to MTL)
In a year full of elite U Sports receiver talent Kaion was the best. While he might not have posted much in the way of numbers, rest assured they are coming and he could become an elite Canadian pass catcher within two years.
10th to Hamilton - York FB Nicola Kalinic (Previously 10th to HAM)
He changed not only the Ticats run blocking scheme by giving Canadian formation flexibility but also added a dynamic of fun and nasty mean run blocking. The Ticats nailed this pick and brought his entire crew to Hamilton for the foreseeable future.
11th to Hamilton - Montreal DB Kerfalla Exume (Previously 70th to HAM)
When Exume advanced to the national combine from regionals I was told by a scout it was because ‘he was one of the few who wouldn’t look out of place in the combine”. Not only did he not look out of place, Kerfalla racked up a whopping 25 special teams tackles for the Bombers and if taken by Hamilton could have become a younger, fresher Courtney Stephen to develop at free safety while being a menace on third down.
12th to Edmonton - Manitoba OL Zack Williams (Previously 28th to CGY)
Williams had the size and above average film heading into last year but his development and progression since being in the CFL last year was impressive and I could see Edmonton looking longingly at their neighbours to the south for taking him here where they invested in UNLV lineman Kyle Saxelid.
13th to Montreal - Laval DT Vincent Desjardins (Previously 17th to CGY)
This is where I had Desjardins going through most mock drafts and I’m still not sure why - outside of positional national allocation - he didn’t land in Montreal. You have to imagine if now GM Danny Maciocia were in place his draft story would have looked more like this.
14th to Winnipeg - Manitoba RB Jamel Lyles (Previously 69th to BC)
It’s unfair to bump RB Brady Oliviera - who was taken here - based on a season ending injury he suffered after looking really good for the Bombers, but this is more a commentary on how much I believe Lyles deserved to go higher in the draft and how much potential I believe he showed in BC when given the chance. He feels extremely Sean Thomas-Erlington-ish as an under appreciated running back who breaks out when given the chance.
15th to Saskatchewan - Arkansas State REC Justin Mcinnis (Previously 6th to SSK)
Of the two receivers Jeremy O’Day took McInnis was the more effective through year one, Brayden Lenius has so much upside but McInnis is the better of the two early on and with Mayala going to the Riders in the first round McInnis might have been a better value here - if still available.
16th to Montreal - Laurier FB Mario Villamizar (Previously 51st to BC)
In BC Villamizar found a role and quickly asserted himself as a consistent national piece to build the Lions foundational structure around. Montreal is in good shape with Spencer Moore at fullback but Mario should have been more valued and gone earlier with Montreal being a decent fit.
17th to Calgary - York REC Colton Hunchak (Previously 73rd to CGY)
In a year with over a dozen receivers selected there was only one with more production that Hunchak, and it happened to be his teammate Hergy Mayala. Some of that could have been Calgary’s structure and system, but there is no denying Hunchak validated a higher slot in the re-draft.
18th to Toronto - Western LB Fraser Sopik (Previously 31st to CGY)
As a Toronto native Sopik would have been a good fit for this territorial draft pick but he was classically panned as too small, too slow, without a natural position. All he did was make plays all over the field on specials just like his time spent in London as the Mustangs leader on defence.
19th to Montreal - Concordia OL Maurice Simba (Previously 29th to TOR)
He technically played in one more game than Laval’s Samuel Thomassin drafted here as a territorial pick and how could you not want to bump up the draft stock of a guy in a suit and tie ready to sell you that new car you’ve always dreamed of owning?!
Marshall Ferguson is a former U SPORTS Quarterback, now serving as TSN 1150 Hamilton morning show host, voice of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and CFL.ca analyst.