Ask any General Manager in any sport and the consensus on draft night is that a) every team got the guy they wanted and b) never thought a guy they took would still be on the board when they selected him.
Both clichés are somewhat true and false all at the same time. Toronto didn’t have a first round pick this year so the Argonauts needed to sit and wait and watch 9 players begin their CFL careers before the Double Blue could do the same.
There were rumours that GM Jim Popp was trying to move up in the draft that never materialized. And given how the first round played out a deal was likely unnecessary. The usual run of Canadian offensive linemen that characterizes most CFL drafts didn’t materialize until the last pick of the first round when Ottawa took Evan Johnson from the University of Saskatchewan. Prior to that pick it was a good day to be a defensive lineman or receiver.
Frankly I thought too many teams drafted from a need stand point in the first round. With the probability of success in projecting an athlete’s trajectory such an unknown science I say take the best player on the board. Even if you already have depth at the position who cares, that’s why there are trades in professional sports.
That left Toronto ready to go at #10 and their selection of Mason Woods from the University of Idaho. Woods stands at 6’8” and weighs 324 pounds. You can’t cheat height and you can’t cheat size.
Every mock draft I saw had Woods going in the first round. Fortunately for Toronto he fell nicely in the lap to start the second round.
Woods adds to an already nice stable of Canadian offensive lineman in Toronto. With so much depth up front Toronto can afford the luxury of allowing him to develop rather than force him into the lineup quickly.
Some wonder if he can handle the tackle position at the CFL level or is he a safer asset if they move him to guard. Either way Toronto has the time to figure that out.
Woods would be the only offensive player the Argos would select.
Here is a recap of Toronto’s selections on draft night.
2nd Round: OL Mason Woods, Idaho (10th)
3rd Round: DL Evan Foster, Manitoba (19th)
4th Round: DB, Robert Woodson, Calgary (27th)
5th Round: LB Nakas Onyeka, Wilfred Laurier (36th)
7th Round: LB Justin Herdman, Simon Fraser (54th)
8th Round: DL Matthew Carson, Calgary (63rd)
Typically later round picks fall very much into the developmental category. But what was intriguing was Toronto selecting 2 linebackers with their 5th and 7th round selections.
Teams generally use the draft to add depth to where they already intend on starting a Canadian. Robert Woodson is an example of that. Toronto got great value in the 3rd round selectin the defensive back from the University of Calgary. Most Canadian defensive backs play Safety in the CFL and Woodson fits in nicely behind Canadians Jermaine Gabriel and Matt Black.
That philosophy didn’t hold true later on in the draft. Currently Toronto doesn’t have a Canadian linebacker set to start. But the choices of Nakas Onyeka and Justin Herdman are interesting picks for a possible ratio change down the road.
For now they will try and make their mark on special teams.
A fun night around the league is now complete. Training camp is that much closer.
Follow Anthony @AnthonyCiar