The game film was watched, the phone calls were made and the names were submitted to the league. Last night, the Montreal Alouettes took another step towards their eighth Grey Cup championship by deciding which top collegial players would be joining them for the ride. The draft was broadcast on TSN2 as well as online and fans got to see who their favourite teams decided was worth inviting to join their ranks. The time has come now to break down who Jim Popp and his staff wanted to be wearing blue/red/silver to start their pro career.
Before the first pick was even announced, the Alouettes managed to steal the spotlight by announcing a trade with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. In exchange for the Ti-Cats’ 1st and 3rd round picks, the Alouettes sent OL Ryan Bomben to Steeltown. This move was a win for both sides! Bomben will be able to get full-time action in the Hammer right away and they don’t have to try grooming someone to help protect Zach Collaros. Bomben was a fan favourite in Montreal and returning to play for his hometown will be a major boon for the Tabbies.
Montreal also won as they had lost their 2015 third round pick in a trade with Calgary last season. Now they were back in as well as now having TWO picks in the first round of a talent-laden draft class. With dual picks in both the first and fourth rounds as well as a single pick in each other round, the Alouettes were sitting pretty, able to select both players who can contribute immediately as well as projects that can mature with time.
So let’s take a look at each draft pick and what they will bring to the Montreal Alouettes for the 2015 season:
Round 1: Chris Ackie, Defensive Back, Wilfred Laurier
This was a surprise pick at #4. But one look at his combine numbers tells us that this kid is ready to play right away! As deadly as Jerald Brown has been for the Alouettes secondary, he’s not a young man anymore. With Brown as a tutor, Ackie will be able provide the height needed for one on one battles with receivers. We may very well be looking at the next Geoff Tisdale, to go along with the current Geoff Tisdale.
Round 1: Jacob Ruby, Offensive Lineman, Richmond
Losing Bomben was tough, but being able to replace him with this massive hunk of beef will help tremendously. Ruby’s size and versatility made the New York Giants take notice, as he was invited to their mini-camp last weekend. With Ruby, Josh Bourke, Jeff Perrett, Philip Blake and Luc Brodeur-Jourdain manning the offensive line, Jonathan Crompton may as well invest in a comfy lawn chair as it will be extremely tough now for defenders to get to him.
Round 2: Nick Shortill, Linebacker, McMaster
The one thing that sticks out with this young man is championship experience. He’s been on both the winning and losing end of them with McMaster, competing in 3 Vanier Cups with the Maurauders. While a lot of folks in Alouettes Nation are disappointed that fellow linebacker Byron Archambault wasn’t selected by Montreal instead, I think that Shortill’s experience, grit and football acumen will be changing a lot of people’s minds.
Round 3: James Bodanis, Offensive Line, Michigan State
An athletic, versatile big man who went to Jim Popp’s alma mater? Makes total sense to me! Bodanis was drafted by the Alouettes as an OL, but also has played DL in college and knowing both sides of the football will be a tremendous asset for the Alouettes. He’ll see some time on special teams as well.
Round 4: Brandon Bridge, Quarterback, South Alabama
Called it! However, I was thinking more towards the later rounds. But I think Jim Popp saw the potential to get this young man into camp right away (it turns out he was only a mini-camp invitee for Dallas, not actually signed) and get him acclimated to the CFL with no pressure. Having two fourth round picks made it easy for the Alouettes to roll the dice on this burgeoning talent. And as last year’s training camp proved (see Smith, Troy), you CANNOT put all your quarterbacking eggs into one basket!
Round 4: Alex Charette, Wide Receiver, Guelph
As I mentioned in my draft preview, these Montreal wide receivers aren’t getting any younger. The future will have to step in eventually and joining that future core of Andrew Smith & Brandan Green is Alex Charette. He was given a chance to shine for the Gryphons and did, posting some very respectable numbers and helping lead the team to a 7-1 record in 2014. He’ll be in tough at camp, but he’ll compete and benefit from the teachings of WR coach Anthony Calvillo.
Round 5: Mikhail Davidson, Wide Receiver, Montreal
Bo Bowling was supposed to be the next Ben Cahoon for the Alouettes. I had even dubbed him “Cahoon 2.0”. Well Alouettes Nation, Cahoon 3.0 has arrived with Mikhail Davidson! This youngster from Montreal is cut from the exact same cloth as the legendary Alouette. He’s small, runs great routes and will be a terrific option for short-yardage situations. He was a force to be reckoned with for the Carabins as they captured the Vanier Cup in 2014 and he’ll be looking to stand out with yet another Montreal squad.
Round 6: Quinn Lawlor, Defensive Back, BYU
Speaking of Ben Cahoon, this tall drink of water selected in the 6th round not only played at #86’s alma mater Brigham Young University; he even shares a home town with Cahoon! Lawlor didn’t play much until his last two years with the Cougars, but as far as projects go this one will be exciting. Another potential two-way player like James Bodanis, I can see this being a patient move that will pay off in spades for the Alouettes.
Round 7: Anthony Coady, Defensive Back, Montreal
Much like Mikhail Davidson, this youngster brings a championship pedigree to the Alouettes, helping the Carabins win the Vanier Cup in 2014. He’s more of a natural safety, but his fearlessness will be crucial for special teams play. Kavis Reed will help foster that talent and put Coady’s 4.31 shuttle speed at the combine to good use.
So there you have it. This was another solid draft by the Montreal Alouettes, as they were able to replenish the cupboard with some depth as well as find players who have the potential to make an immediate impact. Suffice to say, the coaching staff has to be licking their chops when they see all the talent at their disposal.
Now comes the fun part; getting these young players signed and ready for rookie camp, which starts on May 27th and goes right up until the rest of the team reports for May 31st. Not every one of these players will make the squad, but you better believe they will give this team all they have to offer.
Stay tuned for more as The ALSternative prepares for the upcoming season. There’s lots of ground to cover and I am glad to be able to help guide you good readers along the way. Be sure to check the rest of 3 Down Nation for all the other CFL teams’ draft news and results, lots of great stuff to read.
Until next time, GO ALS GO!!!