Tuesday, 7 February 2012
Three Players The Alouettes Could Target at The CFL Draft
CFL free agency begins next week. But we’re not far away from the CFL Evaluation Camp set for the first weekend of March in Toronto, Ontario.
Currently, the Alouettes do not possess a first round pick, since they traded it at last year’s draft to the B.C. Lions for kicker Sean Whyte. I’m certain general manager Jim Popp is content that he got himself an impact player in Whyte who provided huge dividends in 2011.
This year, with the 11th overall selection, the team could go in many directions with their draft plans. It is very deep in Quebec players, and if the team would like to replenish their local talent, they could have a plethora of prospects fall into their lap.
Here are three players they could target by the time they make their selections. But if Popp is feeling lucky and confident he could potentially trade up and alter the draft landscape.
Ismael Bamba, WR/Returner, Sherbrooke Vert et Or: As mentioned in my last article, with Danny Desriveaux about to be granted his release. The Alouettes would need to address their receiving non-import ratio.
Bamba transferred from the University of North Dakota to Sherbrooke, and had a splendid 2011 season. He made the Vert Et Or‘s special teams lethal, as he had game changing punt returns for touchdowns that contributed to their victories.
Furthermore, his ability to read his blocks on receiving plays made him dangerous on offense.
The Alouettes need to address their return situation, as they had no impact plays for their returners. Granted this position has been primarily occupied by an import player. Bamba is an exception to the rule since he played against stronger competition at North Dakota and in the RSEQ where special teams are important.
The only question, is he motivated when he isn’t the primary target on the play? Otherwise, he has great tangibles a team would look for in a football player.
Arnaud Gascon-Nadon, DE, Laval Rouge et Or: Another Canadian player who transferred from Rice University to the Laval program. He has great length, and has shown with his speed from the edge that he could disrupt plays.
From what was stated by Alouettes Anwar Stewart, that his days could be numbered with the club. The Alouettes haven’t had a dominant local defensive lineman since Steve Charbonneau. Moreover, the team‘s pass rush was invisible in the last three games of the year, as they had zero sacks.
Gascon-Nadon has been privileged to learn from different coaching styles during his collegiate career. So his assimilation to the next level should not be a problem since high demands were placed on him at Laval.
However, how healthy is his knee? During the Vanier Cup it seemed that he was hampered by his brace, and at one point did take it off for more mobility. As a result, heading into evaluation weekend plenty of team scouts and doctors could take a closer look at this situation.
Even though he received a high pre-draft grade, he could fall into the Alouettes lap if there are lingering concerns. Thus, they could afford to allow him to learn, and develop behind the veterans on the roster. The sky’s the limit for this prospect, and he would fit in well with Alouettes.
By the way, for those who are curious if Gascon-Nadon is on Twitter? He is under the handle of @AGN45.
Courtney Stephen, DB, Northern Illinois: Here is one of the rare success stories of a Canadian football player realizing his football dreams playing in the NCAA by taking a different path than others.
For those unaware of whom he is, give him a follow on Twitter @TheCStephen.
Initially, Stephen started his collegiate career at Laurier University, becoming one of the premier defenders in the OUA. He was the Canadian version of the honey badger before LSU’s star defensive back, Tyrann Mathieu received his nickname.
He took the great leap of faith by taking his talents from the CIS to DeKalb, Illinois where he redshirted in 2010. But in 2011 he showed why the NIU coaching staff had faith in him as he made an impact on special teams.
The Alouettes are in a unique situation with their secondary. They could conceivably allow soon to be free agent Paul Woldu to walk next week. Without question he would garner serious offers. Stephen could be a perfect replacement for Woldu because of his size, intelligence, and athletic ability.
Stephen has been coached by the best in the CIS and NCAA, so he knows what it takes to play well at the next level. I am sure the Alouettes wouldn’t mind have the Canadian version of the honey badger on their roster.
Even though the actual draft is three months away, a lot could transpire at the E-Camp, and weeks on ahead. But for the present time, these three players could be on the Alouettes radar.
You can follow me on Twitter @MoeKhan19
Listen to me every Friday morning from midnight-2am on The Midnight Snack, every Tuesday night on Gamepoints, and other shows on TSN 990.
Photo credit: www.cfl.ca