CFL Draft: Taman's Legacy

The Canadian Football League Draft is upon us once again.

Monday, May 6th we get a look into the future of the CFL’s Canadian talent as the nine teams, yes, nine (don’t forget about Ottawa) select their players.

Once again, the NFL is wreaking havoc on the draft. Four of the top five prospects are either A) signed to an NFL contract or B) likely going to be picked in next year’s draft.

This draft will again be a great indication if the people leading your team have a sniff on what it takes to win.

It also shows if they have the right people with the right connections to get it done.

Let’s take a look at the Riders, who have had two drafts with Brendan Taman, Craig Smith and Jeremy O’Day helping the draft, although this will be the first without Alex Smith, who was their draft coordinator for a long time.

What is a successful draft?

In six rounds, if you can find two or three players a year to contribute, it will allow to be a solid team that continues to replenish the depth.

How has Taman done?

Just months after being named GM in 2010, Taman picked Shomari Williams (1st overall), Jordan Sisco (8th), Patrick Neufeld (33rd), Bruno LaPointe (36th). Looking back, not a strong draft but with Neufeld now the starting right tackle, he’s definitely a steal.

In 2011, the Riders first pick was Craig Butler (12th overall), Matt O’Donnell l(15th), Alex Krausnick-Groh (27th), Chris Milo (30th), Kyle Exume (40th). Considering all five of those players are still in the CFL is incredible. O’Donnell was not Taman’s choice but rather a favourite of Ken Miller and was later dealt to Edmonton for receiver Greg Carr.

Butler was a find. He was never ranked in the top 15 in the three projections put out throughout the CFL season (fall, winter, spring) but every team would love to have him now.

In 2012, the Riders selected Ben Heenan (1st overall), Sam Hurl (12th), Kevin Regimbald-Gagne (35th), Ismael Bamba (39th). Heenan and Hurl make this a very successful draft. And Hurl’s story is similar to Butler. He was nowhere near the top 15 prospects all season but now one of the top players who are helping their teams.

The Riders spend a lot of time going from coast to coast to watch these college players and why they've been able to pick up steals in the second round like Butler and Hurl.

The Riders will have to work their magic again with so many top end players continuing to be plucked by the NFL.

Based on the last couple of drafts you have to think the Riders have something up their sleeve with the #4 pick. Don’t expect them to pick one of the top prospects that signed down south. My mock draft is to come on Friday.

What maybe more intriguing is their third round pick. They might have been looking at Regina Rams long snapper Jorgen Hus, who was also signed by the NFL’s St. Louis Rams. Although, the Saskatoon product may still be worth the risk.