The 2018 CFL draft has come to a close and the Roughriders have added five new players into the fold. From offensive lineman to linebackers here’s a brief look at the young men you’ll see – or in one case may not see – at training camp this year.
Dakoda Shepley, fifth overall, University of British Columbia offensive lineman
Shepley is such a talented offensive lineman that the Saskatchewan Roughriders couldn’t say no to drafting him, even if it means they have to wait to see him. The six-feet-four-inches tall, 306-pound Windsor-native has a contract with the NFL’s New York Jets that will keep him busy for the foreseeable future – or forever if he makes the team. The Roughriders think his talents warrant taking a risk. Shepley, meanwhile, is focused on making an NFL team but called being drafted by the Roughriders “an honour.”
Micah Teitz, 14th overall, University of Calgary linebacker
The Roughriders picked up Teitz for his special teams prowess. Assistant vice-president of football operations Jeremy O’Day said the linebacker impressed them not only for his talent but for being a “high character guy that will help on special teams.” The six-feet-two-inches tall, 229-pound Teitz will get the learn the ropes from another former University of Calgary linebacker, Sam Hurl. And O’Day said special teams coordinator Craig Dickenson had his hand in the selection. “We had a lot of research that went into our special teams. We rely a lot on Craig Dickenson for our special teams pick (and) at that point, he was our highest ranked special teams guy.”
Mathieu Breton, 36th overall, Bishop’s University defensive lineman
The Roughriders were without picks in both the third and fourth round but made up for lost time with a big pick in the fifth. And by big they mean six-feet-seven-inches tall and 274-pounds, which is exactly what they liked about Mathieu Breton along the potential to play other positions, according to O’Day. “He’s a guy that plays to the whistle. A lot of his plays are made with hustle, his size is tremendous and we look at him as having the potential to switch over and play offensive line.” This past season Breton had 30 tackles, two sacks a forced fumble and a blocked punt while playing for Bishop’s University.
Tresor Buama-Mafuta, 45th overall, Saint Mary’s University defensive lineman
Jeremy O’Day had his eye on Tresor Buama-Mafuta for quite some time. Buama-Mufuta missed last season over what O’Day believes was fledging academics but showed real promise at the combine. So much so that the Roughriders kept coming back to the six-feet-three-inches tall 315-pound defensive lineman – even as recently as the morning of the draft. “To be quite honest, we looked at him a lot and this morning we looked at him again and compared him … he’s a guy we considered taking earlier but we didn’t have a third or fourth pick. We ended up taking him a little bit later and he’s a guy that can compete at (defensive) tackle.” With the addition of Canadian defensive tackle Zack Evans through free agency, it only makes sense that the Roughriders would look for a little more depth there.
Christopher Smith, 63rd overall, York University offensive lineman
Smith might be the ultimate sleeper pick since the offensive lineman wasn’t at either of the combines, but the Riders did their homework, liked what they saw and hoped he would still be there in the late rounds. “We were kind of holding our breath, as funny as it’s to say for an eighth-round pick. He’s a guy we knew was flying under the radar,” O’Day said. Smith’s biggest champion may have been his own coach, who O’Day said told them he was very surprised the o-lineman had been overlooked for the regional combines. Smith was a four-season starter at York at left tackle.