Riders planning to run CFL draft remotely due to coronavirus pandemic

Photo courtesy: Justin Dunk

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are planning to operate remotely for the 2020 CFL draft due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The league’s pick-fest is traditionally done by conference call with each team gathering coaches and scouts at facilities across Canada. However, the virus means football braintrusts people will be spread out throughout North America.

“I’m know we’ll be doing it remotely, and Jeremy [O’Day], and I, and Chad Hudson, and Kyle Carson, all of our personnel guys are going to be logging in from their own computers because of COVID-19 – it’ll work out,” Dickenson said on Growing the Game with Michael Ball.

Normally Dickenson would be in Regina at the Mosaic Stadium offices for the draft. There is a big meeting room where all the coaches and personnel men usually come together.

“We’d have a board in front of us with all the names of the players ranked one through 100. And we’d have a board next to that where they’d be ranked by position. And then we’d have a board next to that where we would have concerns about guys injury-wise,” Dickenson said.

“This year is going to be different because it’s really nice to have all of that in front of you as you’re drafting guys, and as other teams are drafting, guys are coming off the board.”

Last year was the first draft for the current Riders’ regime. O’Day was in place as general manager and Dickenson head coach after Chris Jones left for a job with the Cleveland Browns that January. Saskatchewan chose receivers Justin McInnis and Brayden Lenius in the first and second round, respectively.

Later round picks, linebacker Jacob Janke, defensive lineman Charbel Dabire and offensive lineman Vincent Roy all earned roster spots. Meanwhile, linebacker Christopher Judge suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in training camp.

“I try to watch two or three hours everyday on the draft. Some days are going to be longer as it gets closer to the end I’m going to put in more time. That usually gives me a chance to go through about five or six players each day,” Dickenson said.

The Riders did well with their 2019 draft class. The green and white are trying to pinpoint another capable group.