Making the right picks – the CFL draft.

Making the right picks – the CFL draft.
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Chances are most UK-based football fans have been ardently following and debating the latest NFL draft. We have all been watching events unfold in Dallas and working out what it means for our teams. What a lot of UK-based fans won’t have been considering though is the CFL draft coming up this Thursday. If you wanted to know a bit more of the history of the CFL version we looked at that here:

As with the NFL draft, the CFL draft order is based on  a combination of the regular season standings and post-season results from the previous season. Teams are ranked in reverse order of the previous season’s standings with the team with the league-worst record being awarded the first pick.

Teams, as you might expect, are permitted to trade draft picks and this is pretty common practice. So, for example Hamilton have not only the 2nd overall pick but have managed to hold 4 of the first 15 picks overall this year.

We know from years of seeing ‘experts’ predict the NFL draft that it can be highly  unpredictable. The CFL draft has added layers of intrigue which means it can be even more fascinating to try to call.

This is because the CFL teams are making constant risk-benefit analysis calls on each of the prospects. They can tag a player who is highly touted only to see him go the NFL and never return thus wasting their pick. Alternatively they could tag a player who is highly touted, see him try out for but not make the NFL and get him when he comes back to the CFL thus making their pick that much more worthwhile.

For example, Edmonton picked Michigan State DB  Arjen Collquhoun in the 2nd round in 2016. After spending a year with the Cowboys, he signed on with Edmonton and is now a starter meaning they got real value for their pick. It’s all about that risk-benefit analysis – is it worth risking a high pick on a player they might never get? Or should they risk it for the potential reward like the Esks did in 2016.

In some cases it is made easier, when highly touted prospects have already signed with an NFL team (like OL Ryan Hunter who signed for the Chiefs). Teams may still pick that player if they choose a sort of insurance to be a first port of call if it doesn’t work out but they will use a much lower pick to do that. If a prospect has a mini camp invite but is not signed however that is all the more difficult to call. Will he make it South of the border? Is it worth gambling a higher pick in case he becomes free?

One prospect who has taken the worry out of that analysis for CFL teams this year is Connecticut offensive lineman Trey Rutherford. Having purportedly declined NFL invites to focus on the CFL means teams will feel secure picking him. I have no idea what Montreal will do with the first pick, from trading it to taking whoever they want. Either way, Rutherford is unlikely to remain un-selected for long.

As with the NFL draft none of us really know what will happen in the CFL draft. I have no doubt it will be interesting to see how it plays out and then the fans can start arguing about how their respective teams did. Don’t you just love draft season?



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