Tiger-Cats can’t catch Van­der­voort

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - DREW ED­WARDS ded­wards@thes­pec.com 905-526-2481 | @scratch­ing­post

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.