Today is the day, draftniks. The 2010 CFL Draft is upon us. In just over an hour we will see the first pick selected. That pick now belongs to the Saskatchewan Roughriders and that pick will be Shomari Williams.
Yesterday saw a flurry of action on the trade front heading into the draft. The Riders and Argos agreed to a deal that would send the 1st and 8th overall picks to Saskatchewan in exchange for the 2nd and 4th overall picks, and Place Kicker/Punter Jamie Boreham. The Riders will pick Linebacker Shomari Williams from Queen's (who has already agreed to a contract with the Green Riders) with the top overall pick, and the Argos will take Offensive Lineman Joe Eppele from Washington State with the second pick.
But that wasn't the only trade. The Argos and Lions also agreed to a deal that sees the 3rd, 18th, 26th and 30th picks go to Toronto in exchange for the 4th, 20th, 24th and 25th picks. The Argos will use the 3rd pick on Concordia Linebacker Cory Greenwood, and the Lions will use the 4th pick on Bishop's Wider Receiver Shawn Gore.
You got all that? Good. OK, now for some analysis. Let's look at the Rider-Argo deal first because this swap does a couple of things. First, the Riders get maybe the best player in the draft in Williams. Williams can come in and contribute immediately on Special Teams, before moving to either Linebacker or Defensive End. For the Riders, this deal was a no-brainer.
The Argos, in acquiring Jamie Boreham, have made things a little more interesting. Many assumed that the Argos would be after Guelph Place Kicker/Punter Rob Maver, a player the Tiger-Cats are said to been keen on. Does adding Boreham, who can both kick and punt, take Maver off the Argos' draft board? Probably not, because Boreham is likely going to be only a Punter, but now the Argos seem to be too far down the draft board to select Maver anyway. Adding Eppele gives the Argos a good anchor for their O-line for years to come.
The Lions-Argos deal has some interesting elements to it as well. The Argos get Cory Greenwood, who is similar to Shomari Williams, but with maybe a little less polish. He will also likely be a Special Teams contributor in 2010 while he learns the game from veteran Argo LBs like Kevin Eiben. Jim Barker should be given credit for getting two impact players with his first picks.
It's at the Lions end where things get really interesting. Shawn Gore was at the Green Bay Packers mini-camp this weekend and is now likely to sign a deal with the team. This puts his immediate CFL status up in the air. He definitely won't be available for camp or the start of the season. So will the Lions still pick him that high, knowing it's likely he won't be in BC until Labour Day?
Where does all this leave the Tiger-Cats? Last night there was a rumour floating around that they were going to trade the 12th pick, a negotiation list player and Zac Carlson to the Blue Bombers for the 6th pick so that the Cats could select Rob Maver. The deal didn't happen, because the Bombers rejected it.
I was against this deal for a couple reasons. First, Obie had gone on record during all his pre-draft interviews saying that not having a first-round pick was alright because the team drafted Carlson in the Supplemental Draft last year and he would have been a first-round pick this year. If that is true, why offer him in a deal for another first-rounder? Second, if the reports are true, and this was an attempt to move up to get Maver, I don't like it. I am very high on Maver, and I was hoping he'd be a Ti-Cat at the end of Sunday's draft, but I can't justify trading an every-down player for a Place Kicker or Punter. I know field position is important, and I actually respect Kickers, but to deal a young Offensive Lineman for a Kicker just doesn't sit right with me. I'm still hoping the Cats can get Maver, but I think any deal to move up would involve trading a player that I don't feel comfortable trading in order to select a punter.
And who says drafts can't be exciting?