The CFL Draft is one of the biggest crap shoots in all of sports and it’s also one of the biggest factors in building a winning team. The BC Lions have 8 picks to utilize in the 7 round draft picking 5th in each round, with an extra pick obtained in the deal with Hamilton for S.J. Haidara last week.
What players will be available to the Lions when they pick in the five-spot remains to be seen. Most people putting out mock drafts expect an early run on offensive linemen, which is one of the Lions more pressing needs.
That said, there could be some other nice options available if that happens and Wally Buono continually preaches the method of drafting the best football player available and not drafting for position.
With an extra pick in the draft, the Lions could possibly try to move up in the first round as well and talk on social media Monday suggested that there was plenty of talking going on between CFL General Managers.
Rather than try to predict who will be taken ahead of their fifth pick in the first round, let’s take a look at some of the players we would like to see pull on the orange and black tomorrow evening and why.
Sean McEwen – OL – University of Calgary
“Sean is maybe the most talented offensive lineman I had during my tenure at Calgary.” – Former Calgary Dinos and current UBC Head Coach, Blake Nill.
That’s pretty high praise from one of the most successful CIS coaches around. Sean McEwen sounds like the perfect pick for the BC Lions.
Since the retirement of Angus Reid, the Lions have struggled to get a consistent performance at centre and are said to be considering replacing Matt Norman in that spot for 2015. They re-signed OL Cameron Thorn this off-season and will look at him as an option, but obtaining the services of McEwen could set them up for Jamie Taras or Angus Reid type stability at the position for years.
McEwen is pegged as a “pro-ready” prospect, and if he is there at five, I would be shocked if the Lions didn’t snap him up. But Monday, a wrench was thrown into the mix:
U of Cgy C Sean McEwen letting #CFL teams know he’s undecided about playing in CFL this season. Wants to finish degree. Projected 1st rounder
— Farhan Lalji (@FarhanLaljiTSN) May 11, 2015
Will that news scare some teams off? It might, but the Lions were in a similar position the year they drafted Norman, who left the team a few games into the season to go and finish his degree. If the Lions really think McEwen is the player they want, I would expect they would welcome a similar arrangement.
The fact that McEwen played with current Lion Kirby Fabien on the Dinos is a bonus too, as the two players would have a strong built-in understanding of each other. Cohesiveness is a huge part of any successful offensive line.
Chris Ackie – DB – Wilfred Laurier
Chris Ackie impressed many at the CFL Combine and is described as a player that can play anywhere on the field. Like centre, the Lions have been searching for an answer at safety since Barron Miles retired. J.R. LaRose will not be back in 2015 and the Lions signed Chris Rwakuwamba as a free agent this off-season. Matt McGarva returns from a second knee surgery to try to stake claim to the position as well. Ackie could be the one they’ve been looking for.
Offensive line is an important need, but Ackie’s talent is undeniable, and may be too good for the Lions to pass up if he’s there and the offensive lineman they wanted is gone.
Jacob Ruby – OL – Richmond
At 6-7 and 315 pounds, Jacob Ruby has the size to be a tackle. Canadian starting tackles are gold in the CFL, a position that is often filled by internationals. The Lions depth chart will likely have Jovan Olafioye and Hunter Steward as the bookends when camp starts. Steward fared pretty well in a limited audition last season before he broke his leg. Olafioye is one of the league’s best. But Ruby would provide solid depth behind Steward, and give the Lions the option to move either of them inside if needed.
Sukh Chungh – OL – University of Calgary
Chungh could be an interesting option for the Lions on a few fronts. One he’s a physical guard who could really help the interior of the offensive line. Two, he’s a BC boy of Indo-Canadian decent, he could be a great role model in many communities across the lower mainland. But Wally Buono cares about the football player first, and if he were to land Chungh it would be a solid pick.
As with McEwen, Chungh played with Fabien in Calgary, but the two are both guards. Could they utilize both of them in the middle of the line? There is some thought the Lions might try to convert him to centre if they were to draft him.
The Lions offensive line has lacked some physicality since Rob Murphy and Jason Jiminez departed and drafting the physically gifted Chungh would address some of that need.
Lamar Durant – WR – SFU
The Lions are pretty deep at Canadian receiver, but they could be tempted to take Lemar Durant who may be the most pro-ready offensive player in the draft. Last season he was hampered by mononucleosis which limited his numbers, and Durant hasn’t played much on special teams during his college career which is where he would likely have to cut his teeth with the Lions.
Still, his talent is undeniable, he’s a home town boy, and he would be a welcome addition to an already deep group of Canadian receivers. There were games when he was a man playing among boys at the CIS level. He possesses good speed and great size, and loves to battle for the football in the air.
Who the Lions end up with is anyones guess, but if they were to land any one of these five players with their first pick, they would be doing alright.