CFL Draft: Riders Needs

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are in a tough spot with the fourth overall pick in Monday’s CFL Draft.

By the time four comes around, it’s a certainty the lone top defensive lineman, not NFL bound will be off the board (Lindon Gaydosh) and possibly another top target LB Mike Edem has followed suit.

When it comes time for the Riders to pick they will draft the best player on their board and not necessarily based on need. The Riders may even think about trading down with Edmonton, who are looking at getting into the 1st round.

What are the team’s needs? Here is a position by position run.

Defensive line is one need the Riders have pinpointed and have been very open and honest about. Keith Shologan, Ricky Foley, Zach Evans and Ryan Wellman are currently it as far as non-import depth on the defensive line. Considering to meet the ratio, the Riders only need to start one defensive lineman, which is Shologan, they don’t look desperate to draft a defensive lineman early. They may be able to risk it with a red-shirt junior or NFL hopeful in the latter rounds.

Linebacker isn’t necessarily a need with Mike McCullough, Sam Hurl, Tristan Black, Cory Huclack but adding a piece there is never a bad idea, especially if that player can make an immediate impact on special teams. They also have to prepare themselves for life without Mike McCullough as special teams’ captain.

Needs at defensive back may increase when it comes to safety. The Riders appear ready to move to the non-import safety and they have Craig Butler. But is the back-up good enough behind him? Paul Woldu is more of a corner. Graig Newman was a standout junior and may be the best option. Bryce McCall is another good option as well. It looks like that is a stable position but one if you can find someone better wouldn’t hurt.

Receiver, like defensive line, may not be desperately lacking depth based on how the ration plays out this year. The Riders only need Chris Getzlaf to start and if Rob Bagg can play will be a bonus. The question is similar to last year. Do the Riders have faith in Jordan Sisco and Scott McHenry behind them? An upgrade would be beneficial.

Offensive line isn’t a need in terms of the necessity to draft a guy who can start. The problem is they have just six non-import offensive linemen with four starters. We all witnessed last season how close that got to being a problem with Dan Clark being the emergency fill in. When you look at the age of the offensive linemen, the Riders can be smart with a latter round pick and have patience, similar to Patrick Neufeld.

In terms of age, fullbacks Neal Hughes and Graeme Bell are the 3rd and 4th oldest players on the Riders roster as they turn 33. The wear and tear on these two guys is building as they are asked to block, chip and fly around on special teams. They are the unsung heroes but it is time to start looking at how long these two can last. The Riders were hoping Kyle Exume would be that young up and comer, but saw in camp last year he wasn’t ready and may never be. May not be a bad idea to try again in the sixth or seventh round.

Kicker isn’t a question at all. Chris Milo and Brody McKnight are young guys with pretty good outlook on their future. McKnight was a first round pick, who hasn’t got a chance to kick much.

You see that the Riders should feel comfortable picking the best available player with decent depth at all positions.