CFL Draft: Riders Draft Grade

The CFL draft is here and gone and now it's all wait and see for the nine teams.

With the fourth overall selection, the Riders did well by getting what some consider the most pro-ready offensive lineman in the draft.

Corey Watman adds depth to the offensive line and the Riders are building the deepest and most talented offensive line in the league.

Watman now will learn the centre position with Dominic Picard, the guard spot from all-star Brendan LaBatte and having Jeremy O'Day around for a few tips isn't bad either.

But what the Riders picked up in the rest of the draft is a bunch of prospects where you'll be lucky if two of the six drafted in rounds five, six and seven actually contribute to the Riders at all after this year's training camp.

If the Riders get contributions by three or more, well General Manager Brendan Taman shows he's got the finger on the pulse of Canadian prospects.

The Riders get an 'A' for drafting Watman.

But I'm giving them a 'C' overall, (yes I've upgraded from a C- that I initially gave them yesterday).

Getting only one pro ready player in seven picks diminishes the day and overall grade for Saskatchewan.

That's not to say the other six are a bunch of bums. Taman definitely feels they have potential but there is a reason they were fifth round picks and nobody drafted them in the first 37 selections.

Matt Vonk is an offensive lineman that comes from Waterloo and lost a year of school because of the scandal and the transfer rules. Some believe he is another interior lineman but did play tackle at Waterloo and could get a long look at backing up behind Patrick Neufeld at right tackle.

Taman told me despite all the receivers that were drafted in the third and fourth rounds, Alex Anthony would have been their pick in the third round if they went with receiver instead of the trade with Toronto. They got him in the fifth round, so they feel quite comfortable giving up that third round pick for the Argonauts three fifth rounders.

From what Taman is selling, Anthony has a great shot and becoming the number three non-import receiver with a good camp in Saskatchewan behind Chris Getzlaf and Rob Bagg. He'll also push Jordan Sisco and Scott McHenry extremely hard for a spot on the roster. Being compared to Bagg as far as work ethic and intelligence is a sign the Riders may have a steal with this Wilfred Laurier product.

Levi Steinhauer isn't coming to Saskatchewan to back-up Keith Shologan or Zach Evans at defensive tackle, despite being listed as a DT. He is a Roughrider to fill a hole left by the departure of centre/long snapper Alex Krausnick-Groh. They could use depth behind long snappers Cory Huclack and Jay Alford, especially with questions on Alford's future. If Steinhauer proves he's capable of getting the ball back to the kickers with accuracy, quickness and consistency he'll stay around.

Spencer Moore is where the Riders start to cross their fingers. He and Thomas Spoletini have to show they can contribute on special teams and not get lost in their respective assignments. Moore is a big body that isn't going to come to camp as a receiver but likely to see if he can bring some youth and depth behind fullbacks Neal Hughes and Graeme Bell. If not, he'll be gone like fullback Kyle Exume was last year. Moore, like Exume, was sold as the best special teams player in the draft. He didn't prove that in camp last year.

Spoletini isn't coming to Saskatchewan just to cater the team lunches. (If you don't know, his family runs Spolumbo's Fine Foods and Deli in Calgary) More importantly for the Riders his family has great football blood lines. Spoletini also needs to show they can rely on him in a pinch as a coverage linebacker.

Eric Armitage is the final pick for the Riders and has nothing to lose. Realistically, Armitage is someone the Riders will use and abuse in training camp on scout team. With a load of non-imports in front him, he'll have a tough time being on the roster after training camp.

Riders Head Coach Corey Chamblin was honest when he said that they picked up some extra legs to have around at camp and if they're anything more than that, it's a bonus. That'll be tough to read if you're among the Riders late round picks. You can also turn that into motivation as well.

While I give the Riders a 'C' based on pro-ready talent drafted. There is no doubt the Riders are confident I'll eat my words when camp rolls around, especially if three or four of these late round picks stick around after June 21st.

Based on Taman's recent draft history, I likely need to start choosing between ketchup or barbecue sauce to have with my crow.