If the Calgary Stampeders elect to stand pat in the first round of the CFL draft, much of the decision-making will be made for them.
Just like last year, the Stampeders will be making the eighth selection and by the time they are on the clock, their options could be limited. Last year, the Stamps chose offensive lineman Ryan Sceviour with the eighth pick and with a bevy of O-linemen available at this year’s draft, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if they follow a similar script. The question is who will be available when John Hufnagel makes his selection.
Calgary native Shane Richards is an intriguing possibility. The hulking lineman played eight games at Oklahoma last season and is ranked second overall on the league’s scouting bureau. However, Richards did not participate in any drills at the combine and just might be available if other teams are feeling skittish.
On the other hand, Zach Wilkinson turned heads at the combine and moved up 13 spots to fourth in the final rankings. It’s unlikely seven teams will pass on the Vancouver native who excelled at Northern Colorado. Windsor offensive lineman Drew Desjarlais also made a positive impression with the scouts and is ranked seventh – cracking the top 20 for the first time when the final rankings were released.
There are four other offensive linemen ranked in the top 14 including Alex Fontana from Kansas, Laval’s Samuel Thomassin, Maurice Simba from Concordia and Jesse Gibbon from Waterloo who checks in at 14 in his first appearance in the rankings.
The Stampeders could also be evaluating what their receiving corps will look like after the loss of Lemar Durant – especially if they find themselves up against the ratio. If that’s the case expect them to consider Kaion Julien-Grant if he is available. The Toronto native showed he has the speed to be a potential game breaker at St.FX and could add to Calgary’s complement of Canadian receivers.
In any event, Hufnagel will be hoping to have a little more success with his first round pick. Of the six players selected since 2014, just Sceviour remains with the Stamps, although Calgary hit the jackpot when linebacker Alex Singleton was picked sixth overall in 2016. Singleton was a force on the Stampeders defence for three seasons before earning an NFL contract.