Saturday, 25 February 2012

A Look Back at The Alouettes 2007 CFL Draft Class

With the CFL E-Camp commencing next weekend in Toronto, Ontario.

Looking back at the enitre draft history, very few teams have exercised their picks wisely; meanwhile, some general managers probably wished that there wasn’t a selection process because of the misses they have had.

Unlike the NFL, very rarely do we see an entire draft class all pay dividends to the team’s chances at winning the Grey Cup.

Historically, Jim Popp and the Montreal Alouettes have unearthed players such as Dave Stala who was selected in the sixth round of the 2003 draft, and Josh Bourke who was taken in the third round of the 2004 draft.

However, there have been some misses, such as their 2003 first round pick in receiver, Andrew Noel from Acadia University.

I decided to take a look at their 2007 draft class, and what impact it brought to the team.

Richard Yalowsky, OL, Calgary: It is best summarized in a CFL Draft history column by my TSN cohort Duane Forde in describing the former behemoth lineman.

He was highly regarded in the Canada West Conference as the premier lineman, winning numerous awards, and projected to be a CFL stalwart for many years. However, injuries derailed his career before ever donning a CFL jersey.

As a result, he decided to move on from football to pursue his engineering career.

The Alouettes took a calculated gamble, and lost, as he never had second thoughts of pursuing professional football.

Darryl Conrad, OT, Manitoba: Once again in Forde’s column, he points out of an "Urban Draft Legend" that this may have not been the initial choice of the Alouettes, but really were potentially targeting his Bisons teammate Ryan Karhut.

They kept Conrad, and eventually got Karhut, albeit at a bigger price from the Saskatchewan Roughriders who had his rights.

Conrad was released at training camp, and went back to Manitoba to help them win a Vanier Cup.

Chris Van Zeyl, DL, McMaster: If there is one player who got away from the Alouettes, it is Van Zeyl. Who has become a contributor to the Toronto Argonauts.

However, at the time he entered the league the Alouettes were loaded on both sides of the football from the likes of Bryan Chiu, Scott Flory, and Anwar Stewart on their roster. It would have been very hard for him to get any regular time in the rotation.

Thankfully for his career he found a home in Toronto, and has become a mainstay for their roster.

Brian Jones OL, Windsor: He never saw a minute with the Alouettes, as he was traded in a package deal to the Roughriders for the aforementioned Ryan Karhut.

From what the website mentioned in their ‘07 draft recap, he was on the injured reserve for the first half of the season before moving on to the practice roster.

Donovan Alexander, DB, North Dakota: Started out with the NFL Seattle Seahawks. Alexander did join the Alouettes in 2008, but was subsequently traded to the Roughriders the following season.

He flourished with Saskatchewan by being an important role player before he ended up with the Edmonton Eskimos in 2011.

James Judges and Braden Smith: In researching these two players, nothing came up in the database of what happened to them during and after their CFL careers.

I did send in an inquiry to the Alouettes public relations department, but I have yet to receive a reply about their whereabouts.

Overall, this wasn’t Jim Popp’s crown jewel of a draft class. As two players are contributors elsewhere, and their first overall selection pursued his post-football career than play for the organization.

However, this class did not setback the Alouettes long term goals, as they went on to the next three Grey Cups and winning twice.

Follow me on Twitter @MoeKhan19

Listen to me every Friday morning on The Midnight Snack from midnight-2am, every Tuesday night on Gamepoints, and various shows on TSN 990.

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