By Josh Smith

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - DREW ED­WARDS 3down­na­

Last year, the Hamil­ton Tiger-Cats traded up from the fifth pick to the third pick to se­lect of­fen­sive line­man Bran­don Reven­berg, a player who was not listed on the Scout­ing Bu­reau’s top-20 prospects. Two years ago, they se­lected 6,459 lineback­ers — that’s an ex­ag­ger­a­tion, it was only four — and traded their top pick to Mon­treal for of­fen­sive line­man Ryan Bomben.

Last Sun­day, with the Ti­cats sit­ting with the fourth over­all pick, no one knew what they were go­ing to do. Would they se­lect the player most fans wanted, McMaster re­ceiver Danny Van­der­voort? Maybe it would be Bethune-Cook­man of­fen­sive line­man Dar­iusz Bladek? In­stead se­lected Univer­sity of Cal­gary de­fen­sive line­man Con­nor McGough. If you had McGough in your draft pool or mock draft, you are ei­ther the best CFL Draft hand­i­cap­per alive or are ly­ing (and my bet is on the lat­ter). But go­ing against the grain is the Kent Austin way, and last year’s Reven­berg pick is pay­ing mas­sive div­i­dends just a year re­moved from the draft. No one ex­pected him to go third over­all, and now he is a starter hav­ing sup­planted Peter Dyakowski as one of the team’s start­ing guards last sea­son. It is un­likely that the McGough pick will pay off as sub­stan­tially and as quickly, but it was the be­gin­ning of a very in­ter­est­ing draft for the Ti­cats that could help clar­ify what their ra­tio sit­u­a­tion could look like come June. McGough was just one of three de­fen­sive line­men the Ti­cats drafted on Sun­day. The team also picked St. Fran­cis Xavier’s Kay Okafor in the third round and Ford­ham’s Justin Vaughn in the fifth round. The Ti­cats now have the type of Cana­dian depth along the de­fen­sive line that could al­low them to start two Cana­di­ans in their front four. With Ted Lau­rent al­ready penned in as a starter, ei­ther Michael Atkin­son or Justin Capic­ciotti could start if the team so chooses. The se­lec­tion of so many de­fen­sive line­man also lessens the team’s need to start a Cana­dian re­ceiver. If the Ti­cats do go to an all-Cana­dian in­te­rior de­fen­sive line, they could fill out their other five Cana­dian starters along the of­fen­sive line as well as in the se­condary. This also lessens the blow of miss­ing out on Van­der­voort. The Ti­cats likely will still start Spencer Watt at wide re­ceiver, but they don’t have to. But the de­fen­sive line wasn’t the only spot for the Ti­cats picked up some much needed depth, as the team se­lected two of­fen­sive line­men in McGough’s Cal­gary team­mate Braden Schram and Wil­frid Lau­rier’s Brett Gold­ing. There was no home run pick this year, but the same would have been, and prob­a­bly was, said about Hamil­ton’s draft haul last year and by the end of the sea­son Reven­berg was one of the top three or four first-year play­ers in the CFL.

Josh Smith is a con­trib­u­tor to 3Down­Na­, the Hamil­ton Spec­ta­tor’s ver­ti­cal cov­er­ing the CFL. Check it out for full anal­y­sis of the CFL Draft.

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