As of right now, the Montreal Alouettes will head into Sunday’s CFL Draft with eight picks. They’ll make their first selection in the second round (12th overall).
The Als traded their 2017 first round draft selection last season, when they acquired quarterback Vernon Adams’ rights from the B.C. Lions.
Like many CFL teams, the Als need to accumulate more Canadian depth, which makes this day incredibly important for them.
Here are the picks they own:
2 (12), 3 (20), 4 (29), 5 (39), 6 (45), 6 (48), 7 (56), 8 (65)
GM Kavis Reed will have the final say on every player that’s chosen by Montreal, but draft coordinator Eric Deslauriers is the one who’s done a lot of the leg work in terms of scouting and researching draft-eligible players throughout the off-season.
He took some time to talk to 3DownNation about how he expects the draft to unfold on Sunday night.
Joey Alfieri: What does the draft coordinator do during the off-season? How much time have you put in?
Eric Deslauriers: I’ll say that off-season is my season. My main focus is obviously the draft. It’s to find out as much as I can about each player. In doing that, it’s mostly about film doesn’t lie. As much as I can watch about a player, not highlights, I watch full games. I watch each play, how they’re going to react, how their stamina (holds up) from first quarter to fourth quarter. Maybe even as much as thinking about scheme. Does this player not play as much because of the scheme? Is he not getting tackles because guys around him are getting tackles? And then the other big thing is talking to the player, talking to the agent, talking to the parents, talking to the coaches about anything I can find out about that guy. We just finished almost calling all of our top 70 guys to talk about eligibility, to talk about anything that has happened since the combine that he can tell me about. Did he get an injury? Did he gain or lose weight? Anything that can impact how we view him for the draft. So that’s how we look at it. It’s been a lot of hours.
JA: Are you asking Kavis to get back into the first round? Are you in his ear a bit?
ED: “I’d love to have a first-round pick, there’s no hiding that, but at the end of the day, I think that this year, per say, is not the deepest of drafts. I don’t want to say that, I’m a Canadian player. I love our Canadians and I want them to continue to grow. There’s gonna be players in this draft that are going to be playing 10 years from now, so it’s up to me, up to us as a group to find out which of those guys (will be playing in 10 years). Is it a guy that’s going to go in the first or is it a guy that’s gonna go in the fourth round that’s gonna be playing in 10 years? Who out of this group is going to be a starter? That’s my number one goal, is to find out who’s going to be a starter, who’s going to be a backup and who’s going to be a special teams player. And then obviously, with that said, the starters that I deem to be starters, they’re at the top of the board.
JA: What’s your philosophy when it comes to local guys?
ED: Honestly, I want the best players on the field. That sounds horrible, and I understand that. I want the Quebec players, I really, truly do, if they’re even with another player. If he’s not and if the other guy’s better, I’m gonna take the better player. I’m not gonna take a guy because he speaks French. I’m not gonna take a guy because of that. But if those two guys are on even grounds and one of them is from Quebec, is french, is from the area, maybe three years from now, when it’s time to re-sign his contract he’ll be more willing to stay here versus wanting to go out West. It’s also a guy that might have a family or a home here, he might sell some tickets, that doesn’t hurt. It’s a guy that’s more available to the media or more interesting to the media, so that might bring us more visibility. And at the end of the day, they’re on equal ground, so it’s a player that has as much potential as another player, but he’s a Quebecer, he’s french, he brings that little extra.
JA: Do you think you’re going to be nervous on Sunday?
ED: I can’t hide it. Last year was my first draft, this year in a bit of a differently role. There’s no doubt that I’m going to be nervous, but at the end of the day, I’ve done a lot of work. I really feel like I’ve done my homework on these guys. I know what I know about them and it’s just to try to predict what’s going to happen before us. That’s the biggest thing about having the 12th pick, is trying to see who’s going to be left at 12. Like you said, is it worth moving up? Do we feel that if we move up to the first round, is it worth one of those guys? Do we want one of those guys? If we don’t move up there, it doesn’t mean we didn’t want them, we just didn’t make it happen.
JA: What are the strengths and weaknesses of this draft?
ED: There’s no hiding it, d-line is the strength of the draft. There’s also 0-line and receiver that I would say is too. Numbers-wise, I would say d-line and o-line is the actual stength of the draft position-wise, with a few linebackers that could impact a few teams. There’s also some interesting kickers this year that could throw a few loopholes. I would have to say DB is maybe one of the weaknesses in this year’s full draft, with only a few running backs, so maybe those positions might be the positions of need for this draft’s players.