Nine things to know about the Ticats & the draft

Here’s nine things worth knowing about the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the 2017 CFL Draft will take place on Sun., May 7 starting at 7 p.m.

1. In order to get a sense of what the Ticats might do on draft day, it’s useful to understand their ratio situation. The team has a number of starting-quality Canadians – team’s need to field seven nationals among their 24 offensive and defensive players – but they are spread all over the field.

Five spots are a virtual lock to feature a Canuck: three offensive lineman (Brandon Revenberg, Mike Filer, Ryan Bomben); a defensive tackle (Ted Laurent) and a defensive back (Courtney Stephen at safety.) After that, it gets a little tricky.

The team will likely start at least one Canadian receiver, choosing from Mike Jones, Giovanni Aprile, Spencer Watt and Felix Flaubert-Lussier. They could also start two, though that seems unlikely given the talent and depth. They could also start two Canadian defensive tackles (Mike Atkinson), a defensive end (Justin Capicciotti.) a linebacker (Terrell Davis or Nick Shortill) or a second defensive back (likely Craig Butler.) In a pinch, they could try four Canadian offensive linemen though the unexpected retirement of Mathieu Girard likely ruined that possibility.

2. Because the ratio is such a dog’s breakfast – there’s lots of good stuff in the bowl but it’s kind of a mess – the Ticats could use some help at any and all of the above positions, gathering some much-needed depth behind their starters. They’ve also lost some key special team contributors, guys like Frederic Plesius (traded to Montreal) as well as Beau Landry and Anthony Woodson (via free agency.)

3. Given all that, the Ticats could likely use a Canadian offensive lineman, a receiver, a defensive lineman to shore up their ratio spots, then address some of those other spots with whatever picks they have left. The good news is there’s some quality guys where Hamilton needs them the most.

4. On the offensive line, Justin Senior and Geoff Gray are the top-ranked prospects but both are getting NFL looks (Senior was drafted, Gray signed as a priority free agent) so taking them is something of a gamble. The Ticats have, generally speaking, shied away from selecting players with clear NFL opportunities after taking defensive end Brent Urban in 2015 (who has yet to play a down in the CFL and likely never will.)

Dariusz Bladek is considered by many to be the most pro-ready while Mason Woods and Braden Schram could also be candidates. On the defensive line, UCLA’s Eli Ankou signed with the Texans while Faith Ekakitie could be the first overall pick to Winnipeg. Montreal’s Junior Luke might make a good protégé for Laurent.

5. At receiver, the feel-good story would see the Ticats select McMaster product Danny Vandervoort and he certainly makes some sense for them, especially if the Ticats want to have the option to start two Canadians at some point this season. Hamilton has also shown an affinity for big body guys who can help on special teams and players like UBC’s Alex Morrison and Saskatchewan’s Julian Lynch would fit the bill.

6. Other guys that could fit into Hamilton’s ratio alignment and special teams needs include linebacker Cameron Judge, fullback Anthony Gosselin and running back Johnny Augustine – again, back ups and developmental players in spots where the Ticats already have quality Canadians.

7. The Ticats have picks at No. 4, 13 and 21 in what’s considered to be a talented but not particularly deep draft. They traded their fourth round and seventh round picks to Saskatchewam as part of the deal that sent Canadian defensive tackle Linden Gaydosh and American receiver Tommy Streeter to Saskatchewan for international offensive lineman Xavier Fulton and Capicciotti. Fulton re-signed in Hamilton and Capicciotti is still here as well while Streeter was released and Gaydosh has yet to suit up for the Riders.

8. Vice president of football operations Kent Austin has swung draft day deals in each of the last three seasons and two of those transactions have paid immediate dividends up front. The 2015 deal that sent the team’s first-round pick to Montreal netted them guard Ryan Bomben, an East all-star the last two seasons, while a swap with the B.C. Lions last May allowed them to select Brandon Revenberg, who blossomed into a starter in his rookie year.

What’s clear is that Austin and company will wheel and deal if there’s a player they really want.

9. Based on all that, what do I think the Ticats are going to do? Draft an offensive lineman in the first round then try and trade up to grab Vandervoort, who may not be there by the time Hamilton picks again at No. 13. After that, look for them to fill in the gaps at the obvious spots where they need Canadian depth.

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
Drew Edwards
Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1392 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

14 Comments on Nine things to know about the Ticats & the draft

  1. Alex Droho // May 5, 2017 at 5:25 pm //

    Makes sense but I would take Vandervoort first then trade up to get the lineman. Dan might even be gone by the time the 4th pick comes up.

  2. Lindsay Wilcox // May 5, 2017 at 5:47 pm //

    Vandervoort makes so much sense for the Ticats, that if I were GM I’d trade to get # 1 pick just to be sure to get him. But that may be the reason I’m not GM LOL.

    I think that they will take him their first pick if he’s still available. If he has been picked, maybe one of the other WR ??? Then after that I’ll go with Drew – OL and depth/ST.

    • But Vandervoot was a CIS receiver, not a NCAA receiver.
      Playing in the CIS and racking up good numbers in the CIS is not at a level anywhere near a NCAA receiver.
      He has never been hit by a NCAA defender or covered by a NCAA defender.
      I would take any Canadian receiver that played in the NCAA over a CIS player with great stats.

      • Yet there have been many CIS receivers drafted or signed who have found success in the CFL: Fantuz, Gore, Bagg, Getzlaf, Sinopoli (who wasn’t even a receiver)… Many of them have even done it relatively early in their careers.

  3. Not sure why you wouldn’t automatically have Butler starting at safety and Courtney Stephen returning to CB -the positions that they played 2 years ago. I can’t imagine them not starting both these talented players and there’s certainly enough depth behind Butler – not sure about Stephen though. That could be an area that might be addressed in the draft. I’d LOVE to see Vandervoort land in Hamilton of course! It should be an interesting evening where anything can and just might happen!

  4. Agree with others that Vandervoort makes a ton of sense for so many reasons… Ticats need to replace Fantuz and I don’t think the talent is there on the team to do this… Vandervoort owned the DBs at the Combine… he’s big and talented and best of all he’s a local boy…

    However… having said this I wouldn’t be surprised if Austin drafts some relatively unknown name whose been flying under the radar much the way Revenberg did a year ago…

    So many possibilities… the only thing we know for sure… they won’t be drafting a QB…

  5. Always interesting to see how the dominoes fall. Especially if there are unranked players selected high who are relatively unknown to the average fan.

    I can’t see the Cats letting Vandervoort go with their top pick if he’s available. He may fit both the best-available and fits-need strategies that sometimes conflict with each other.

  6. Joe King // May 6, 2017 at 7:43 am //

    If they don’t develop an Oline FAST the QB won’t make the full season…get a good Canadian OLinemen first.

    • Philski // May 7, 2017 at 3:51 am //

      Very good point…swiss cheese O Line only makes Collaros more vulnerable to getting knocked out again…doesn’t help CJ much either.

  7. Jungle Jim // May 6, 2017 at 7:52 am //

    Our QB can’t run and he’s fragile get a good lineman in the first rouned and second.

  8. The paw // May 6, 2017 at 9:04 am //

    I would think they could use a rotation of Cappicotti/Atkinson/DI to make an equivalent of one starter and Butler as the seventh. That would mitigate against taking Vandervoort, as there is enough depth to start one receiver.

    I predict they go for Bladek if he is still there, and then best player available in subsequent rounds.

  9. Lots of good comments here and must say I agree with most of them… so many potential options…

    1.) I too have been a strong believer that your team’s foundation is the OL and the bigger, better and stronger your OL, the more success you’re going to have… so drafting the best OL prospect available is always a good move…

    2.) Andy Fantuz played in and against CIS DBs… yet when healthy he’s a game changer and as valuable as any International receiver on any team… so “IF” Vandervoort is the next coming of a Fantuz type receiver, he is a must have, can lockdown a National starting spot with skills to match any International…

    3.) Drafting the best available player is never a bad thing either… you’re selecting the best talent and finding a way to make it work in your system… of course this requires a coaching philosophy that is flexible and finds ways to make the best pieces of the puzzle fit together…

    4.) Drafting best fit for your team’s needs VS best available talent… Don’t recall who said this, “It’s not the team with the best players that win. It’s the players with the best team that wins.”…. guess the reality is sometimes a collection of great talent that is not a team will always get beaten by a great team…

  10. Less than 24 hours to go…

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