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Looking ahead to the upcoming CFL Draft


With less than a week to go until the Canadian Football League (CFL) draft, analysts are giving their predictions and insight for this year’s draft class.

The draft will take place on Tuesday, April 30, the Saskatchewan Roughriders currently hold the third overall pick.

“I had one of the linebackers going there because I thought Corey Mace has come in and he’s a defensive guy,” CFL columnist and TSN analyst Marshall Ferguson said. “The more I thought about it, with the quality of offensive line guys, many of them, five of them going to get NFL camp shots, but you went out and got A.J. Ouellette so you can beat people up, and if you want to be beat people up you should go get an offensive lineman so you can clear holes to get him to the second level,” Ferguson added.

Ferguson was adamant an offensive lineman for a first pick would also let the league know the standard the team has heading into the season.

Former CFL player and current TSN analyst, Duane Ford, also agreed with the Riders’ offensive line needing to be beefed up and the draft being the opportunity to do so.

“I can’t give you a better answer than that,” Ford shared following Ferguson’s remarks. “The one thing on it is obviously in Saskatchewan over the last couple of years there’s been a reasonable amount of criticism directed at the offensive line. I don’t know whether they feel a pressure to respond specifically to that but I guess we’ll find out on Tuesday.”

Ford also pointed out the teams Mace came from. Toronto, which saw a lot of success while he was coaching there and Calgary- when he was playing.

“Corey is defensive coordinator and defensive guy, but when you look at the guy coming from Toronto, well a lot of Toronto’s success had to do with the offensive line position. Where was he before that? Calgary. And a lot of Calgary’s success had a lot to do with depth on that offensive line. Sort of having a good group of Canadians on that offensive line and building around that. That’s one of the other considerations that goes into the thinking (in the draft),” Ford explained.

Edmonton not only has the first pick overall in the draft but also has six selections through the first 31 picks. There is no doubt Edmonton has had it’s struggles for a few seasons now and needs to make a rebound this year, but can this number of picks help, let alone first overall?

“One of the things that really hit me about this draft is when you look at the success of certain teams in recent years, it’s kind of neat to see the role the draft has played. When you look at Montreal last year, obviously some Americans that made some big plays for them, but when you look at the impact of Canadians that they have drafted highly, sort of since 2020. That was apparent: Marc-Antoine Dequoy, Pier-Olivier Lestage, Tyson Phil, Legal Uguak, all played a significant role in their Grey Cup run,” Ford said.

“Toronto has become a pretty good football team in this league and a lot of that is built around Canadian talent. It speaks volumes and so very important for Edmonton in that regard, if you want to get back into the hunt, this is one of the places that is critical for you.”

Like most years, eligible players have been participating in league combines ahead of the league’s draft and this year is proving to be a strong draft class following their efforts at these events.

“I love this draft class,” Ford said. Probably on the offensive side of the ball most of all. The depth at the o-line position and even more exciting to me is the depth at the receiver position. This is a country that now produces so many high end guys at so many different position. That it makes covering the draft an absolute blast,” he added.

“Punch in the numbers after this year’s combine and you start looking at the offensive line groups and there’s three or four players here who are in the 95th percentile when it comes to reach, and height, and overall size. There’s a lot of really solid players I think when we look back at this one in a couple of year’s, we’ll look at the top 30 and there will be five to 10 players who made a real impact in the Canadian Football League,” Ferguson said.

The CFL draft will get underway beginning at 6 p.m. local time. The first two rounds will be broadcast on TSN. Top Stories

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