Riders’ GM Jeremy O’Day players, agents ‘real creative’ for CFL draft process

Saskatchewan Roughriders general manager Jeremy O’Day has been receiving lots of home videos from CFL prospects.

With only the Ontario regional combine and select pro days to draw key data, the 2020 draft class has been providing numbers however possible.

“It’s actually been a very unique situation where agents are starting to get real creative with getting us the information. The first thing that they wanted to do for us is to ask us what they could do to help to put their players in a position where they can get the information to us,” O’Day said.

“I can tell you that we’ve gotten plenty of videos of players that are actually shooting the measurables right in their house, some outside on their deck, some in their bathrooms. They’re doing basically all the measurables that we would do at the combine.”

Parents, friends, girlfriends are measuring and zooming in on cameras to show the numbers. Teams typically want height, weight, wingspan, arm length and hand size. Even though scouts aren’t the ones with the tape in their hands, O’Day felt they were accurate.

“I’ve seen a lot of different scales in the last couple of days of guys that are stepping on the scale and recording their weight for us. That’s something we’ve had to adapt to,” O’Day said.

Usually, talent evaluators can gather results from the main testing events at football combines: 40-yard dash, short shuttle, three-cone, vertical and broad jumps, plus the bench press. However, lots of players won’t be able to provide in-person results due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The players that were in the East-West game, any pro days that happened prior to them being shut down, we have all that information and we’re trying to compile it all the best we can. We have some testing that we’ve gotten from the East-West game from last year that we’re able to add in there as the latest stuff that we have,” O’Day said.

“But really, we’re doing a lot of our work through film work and evaluation of the tape of them playing in games. I think the biggest difference that we’re seeing is the fact that we weren’t able to complete all the combines and we don’t have all the measurables and all the testing that we normally would have access to.”

The Riders currently hold seven selections: first round, seventh overall, fourth round, 30th and 35th overall, fifth round, 44th overall, sixth round, 53rd overall, seventh round, 62nd overall, eighth round, 71st overall. What the players display on film is the most impactful part of the scouting process for O’Day.

“Really a large majority is based off the tape, which is something that we have the ability to watch a lot of film as you can imagine. We’re spending a lot of time watching the players on tape and developing our draft board,” O’Day said.

“We’re also getting our coaches involved, as we always do, but the coaches will be asked to evaluate a little more so we can take their evaluations into consideration for the draft, so that we can paint the best picture of each player possible and try to make the best decisions.”

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