The Hamilton Tiger-Cats selected nine players in Thursday’s CFL Draft and here’s a quick look at who they are, how they fit into the Ticats’ overall plans as well as some analysis from assistant general manager Shawn Burke.
Round 1 (First overall) Mark Chapman, REC, Central Michigan University
How he fits: The Ticats play a Canadian at receiver as one of their seven national starters and may decide to add a second to the line up. While it’s a bit of a stretch to expect Chapman to be a starter week one, he has the potential to be a very good player.
Burke: “We think he’s a pro-ready receiver who won’t take too much time to get accustomed to the pro game. He plays faster than what his timing is, precise route runner, great hands. On top of that, he’s just top-notch character-wise.”
Round 1 (Sixth overall) Darius Ciraco, OL, University of Calgary
How he fits: After trading all-star guard Ryan Bomben to the Alouettes to acquire the No. 1 overall pick, the Ticats will need a replacement at right guard and will likely continue to start three Canadians on the offensive line. Ciraco, a Burlington native, will need time to develop but he was one of several top offensive line prospects in the draft.
Burke: “He’s a local kid who went out West for school and plays the game the right way with toughness and edge to it. He’s played all the spots on the offensive line and he’s extremely talented.”
Round 2 (11th overall) Jackson Bennett, DB, University of Ottawa
How he fits: Hamilton plays a Canadian at safety in Courtney Stephen and could potentially shift him to corner and start a second national in the secondary if need be. Bennett is a great athlete who tested well at the combine and can contribute on special teams right away and projects as a potential starter down the road.
Burke: “Bennett falling to us at No. 11 was a surprise. We had targeted a couple of those DBs and were glad that one dropped to us. He was right at the top of his class in terms of his testing numbers and someone we’ve heard nothing but great things about as a person.”
Round 2 (15th overall) Brett Wade, DL, University of Calgary
How he fits: The Ticats start a Canadian defensive tackle and are rebuilding the depth after electing not to re-sign Mike Atkinson and Evan Gill. Wade is undersized but had a good showing at the CFL Combine that helped his draft stock.
Burke: “Wade’s a competitive defensive tackle, very aggressive and he plays to the whistle. He’s underated athletically and we could even look at doing a little bit of fullback stuff with him. He can play on a couple of special teams and he’s just a guy we loved on film.”
Round 4 (31st overall) Marcus Davis, REC, University of British Columbia
How he fits: Davis has torn an ACL in back-to-back seasons and so won’t play for the Ticats this season but has eligibility left at UBC and will return in 2019 – when the club has a couple of Canadian receivers eligible for free agency.
Burke: “He won’t be in our plans this year but he’ll come to training camp to be around the team, go to the meetings, learn the pro lifestyle. If he wasn’t injured, he would have been a top-15 pick.
Round 5 (37th overall) Justin Buren, REC, Simon Fraser University
How he fits: At 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, Buren is a big body who can play special teams – the fastest way to get on the roster for a young player.
Burke: “Athletically and size-wise, he fits some of the criteria you have for the position. He’s a guy that could come in and compete for a special teams spot right away – if he can back up at receiver and play specials, that’s a huge benefit. We thought he was a good value pick at that spot.”
Round 6 (44th overall) Mike Moore, LB, Queen’s University
How he fits: The Ticats lost Canadian linebacker Mitch Barnett, who was fourth on the team in special teams tackles last season, to the B.C. Lions in free agency and Moore will get a chance to help fill the role.
Burke: “He missed the combine process due to injury but will likely be ready for the start of camp. He’s going to be a valuable asset, a guy that can play all four special teams and was very productive as a linebacker at Queen’s.”
Round 8 (62nd overall) Joel Van Pelt, DL, University of Calgary
How he fits: Van Pelt is 6-foot-4, 260 pounds and the Ticats will try and convert him to the offensive line, as they are in the process of doing with former draft picks Everton Williams and Kay Okafor.
Burke: “We might look at a position switch with him because he’s got the size to play offensive line. He’s raw and he’d be a project but it’s something we’ve done with a couple of other guys.”
Round 8 (66nd overall) Nicholas Parisotto, DB, University of Guelph
How he fits: Hamilton has plenty of depth at safety in the short term but Parisotto could be a Mike Daly-type who develops into an excellent special teamer and borderline starter over time.
Burke: “He’ll come in and compete and we’ll see whether he ends up on the roster, the practice roster or goes back to school. He’s a guy with a lot of long-term upside.”