Chris Jones will be going into the trenches to find his fifth overall pick.
The Riders vice-president, general manager and head coach met with the media Wednesday morning ahead of the 2018 CFL draft and said the team will be looking for the best players and not trying to fill a specific hole.
But he did give a small hint about where they were focusing their attention.
“We’ll look at the depth around the offensive and defensive lines and go from there,” Jones said.
However, Jones did have some concerns when it comes to that depth considering, as of Wednesday, the Riders have first and second round picks and then don’t pick again until the fifth round.
“There’s some very good players at the top end of it but I don’t see the depth that there’s been in the last couple years but we’ve done a lot of investigating … we’re watching a lot of guys that won’t be playing CFL football.”
“I don’t see that many Canadian (players that can start) right away. I see some guys that are going to take a year or two to develop,” he said.
Also, perhaps complicating the Riders choices in the first round, is the sheer number of young offensive lineman the team already has that includes Dariusz Bladek (11th overall, 2017), Emmanuel Adusei (Seventh round, 2017) and Josiah St. John (First overall, 2016).
“If you bring a guy in somebody’s got to go home because it’s not like you can put a first-round draft pick over there on the (practice roster) because he’ll get gone. Somebody will take him. So it’s one of those deals you have to be pretty selective of who you’ll take and you have to know who will be exiting stage left when you take a guy,” he explained.
Jones said he thinks that Bladek will be ready to compete for a starting position and he is hopeful about St. John’s progress as they head into training camp later this month.
The Riders have five picks in the draft including the fifth, 14th, 36th, 45th and 63rd overall.
The draft will be live on TSN on May 3 at 6 p.m. local time.
Other roster notes:
- After releasing Henoc Muamba earlier this year, Jones said you can expect to see outside linebacker Samuel Egauvoen move into the middle linebacker position.
- Jones expects that three or four players will compete for the left tackle position held last year by Bruce Campbell. Specifically, he mentioned Terran Vaughn and Takoby Cofield.
- Last year’s second overall pick Cameron Judge is healthy after a shoulder injury sidelined him for most of the 2017 season.