Tiger-Cats can’t catch Vandervoort
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats wanted Danny Vandervoort. The fans wanted Danny Vandervoort.
Unfortunately, so did the B.C. Lions.
The McMaster Marauder receiver was selected by the Lions with the No. 3 selection in Sunday’s CFL Draft — one slot ahead of the Ticats at No. 4.
Vice-president of football operations Kent Austin said the team hoped to trade up to get him, but couldn’t make it happen.
“We figured he was going to go in the first round, we tried to trade up a couple of times prior to the draft to get another first round pick,” Austin said. “But B.C. took him and that settled it.”
Instead, the Ticats selected University of Calgary defensive end Connor McGough in the first round, ignoring a number of highly-touted offensive lineman, as well Carleton receiver Nate Behar, who was taken by the Eskimos at No. 5.
With Vandervoort gone, the Cats took the best player on their draft board, and that was McGough.
“He was the best guy on the board for our entire staff,” Austin said. “He’s a complete football player, he’s committed and he’s going to be a great fit in the lockerroom.”
The 21-year-old McGough played 26 games for the Dinos from 2013 to 2016, registering 67 total tackles, and nine sacks and 17 tackles for loss. At six-two and 251pounds, McGough played one season at running back before converting to defensive line and twice earning Canada West all-star nods.
McGough was the 20th-ranked prospect on the final version of the CFL scouting bureau and wasn’t slotted as a first-round selection in most mock drafts. While the pick makes sense from a ratio standpoint — the team has Justin Capicciotti under contract — the Ticats played with two American defensive ends last season in John Chick and Arian Tracy.
Still, McGough will give them ratio flexibility — something Austin has stressed — and options in the future. His athletic ability means he can likely contribute on special teams in the short term.
With their pick in the second round, Hamilton selected McGough’s teammate Braden Schram, six-foot-three, 311pounder who had an excellent CFL Combine in March. The Ticats needed offensive line depth after releasing veteran Peter Dyakowski, then seeing youngster Mathieu Girard unexpectedly retire.
In round three, the Ticats selected another defensive lineman, Kay Okafor from St. Francis Xavier. A native of Nigeria, Okafor left his family at age 18 to pursue an education in Canada, and came to the game late. Austin says he could play tackle, end or even offensive line.
“He’s raw, but he projects in a lot of different spots,” Austin said. “We love him as a person, he’s pure athletic ability and has maturity.”
Having traded away their fourth-round pick, the Ticats took yet another defensive lineman with their fifth-rounder in Hamilton native Justin Vaughn, who played his college ball at Fordham University.
He was the team’s defensive player of the year in 2016.