Want over need could likely be the Ticats’ draft strategy

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats enter the 2019 CFL draft with very few needs when it comes to Canadian talent.

The Ticats have done a tremendous job over the last few years of stockpiling Canadian depth during the draft. Over the last three years alone they have added offensive lineman Brandon Revenberg, receiver Mike Jones and offensive lineman Darius Ciraco, all of whom will be at the top of the depth chart at their respective positions when training camp opens.

Hamilton has also received significant contributions from guys like defensive lineman Justin Vaughn and running back Sean Thomas-Erlington, who both signed new contracts this off-season, as well as a few players who have left the team, like running back Mercer Timmis, receiver Felix Faubert-Lussier and receiver Justin Buren. None of this mentions players like defensive lineman Connor McGough, linebacker Jackson Bennett and defensive back Nicholas Parisotto, who have all made their names mostly on special teams at this point. In short, Hamilton has been one of the best drafting teams over the last few seasons.

But that doesn’t mean the team doesn’t have some needs. For as good as their drafting has been they have seen a lot of drafted players leave. In addition to Timmis, Faubert-Lussier and Buren, special teamers and depth players like linebackers Terrell Davis and Mitch Barrett are gone, and some whiffs like offensive lineman Braden Schram never made much of an impact.

There is also the looming spectre of last year’s eye-roll-inducing standoff with No. 1 overall pick, Mark Chapman, who still remains unsigned and his future is clouded after signing in the AAF and never showing up due to personal reasons. Who knows if he ever sees the field for the Ticats or anyone else.

So the Ticats might not have a ton of needs when it comes to Canadian players — as their starting talent is amongst the best in the league right now, and if the league goes down from seven starters to five their depth and talent get even better — but there is no such thing as having too much Canadian talent.

The Ticats have the second pick in the first round, three of the first 11 picks in the draft, and eight picks total, so here are some of the positions they might target on Thursday night.

The Ticats famously (or infamously) moved up in the draft last year to select Chapman because June Jones wanted a speedy receiver for his offence. Jones is still around and still loves speed, so don’t be surprised if the Ticats target a receiver in the draft. Our draft guru here at 3DownNation John Hodge had the Ticats taking Hergy Mayala in his first mock draft and Brayden Lenius-Dickey in his second, and a guy like Justin McInnis might not fit the bill of what June Jones wants, but adding a six-foot-five receiver to a unit that lacks much in the way of size wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Offensive line
It is never a bad idea to select an offensive lineman or three in the draft — if you want to pinpoint one of the reasons for the success of the Ottawa Redblacks look no further than their selection of offensive lineman in the draft’s early rounds — and the Ticats could always use more reinforcements up front despite having a decent amount of Canadian talent there. Maybe a guy like Shane Richards, who famously refused to work out at the CFL combine in March and was sent home, is a player the Ticats could target.

Defensive line
The Ticats have spent a few picks on defensive linemen over the last couple of drafts. Guys like Connor McGough, Justin Vaughn and Brett Wade have all played some for the Ticats since being drafted two years ago, with Vaughn getting a few starts in his rookie year and McGough making solid contributions on special teams. But Vaughn is coming off a season lost to injury and McGough has yet to break through and play meaningful minutes on defence, so the Ticats could once again dip their toes in the defensive linemen market. A guy like Mathieu Betts, who is NFL bound, could be a player the Ticats snag if he drops or they could take a flyer on über-talented, but currently injured, Jonathan Kongbo.

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