Thursday, 5 April 2012

Could The 2008 Alouettes Draft Class Be One Of The Best Ever In Team History?

Taking a look back at Jim Popp’s illustrious draft history, to date, his best year could be the 2008 class.

The team only had six selections. However, it was quality of those choices that has made this organization a dominant force in the last four years.

Shea Emry, LB, UBC: With their first selection in the opening round Popp chose the B.C. native. Emry has proved his general manager was correct.

He has worked his way up the ladder into a starter’s role, and being the eyes of the defense in making adjustments on the fly. Presently, Emry is considered to be one of the premier non-import CFL players playing at his position.

Furthermore, he has been apart of three Grey Cup teams, winning it twice.

During the 2011 season he suffered an upper body injury. His absence was greatly felt as it altered the game day ratio, and the team struggled to replace him in the lineup for the rest of the year.

It really showed in the East Division semi-final playoff loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats as the inexperienced Bear Woods looked uncomfortable in trying to contain Avon Cobourne.

By the time the season starts, he will only be 26 years old. Of course provided he does stay healthy, Emry has many bright years ahead of him to become one of the best at his position.

Andrew Woodruff, OL, Boise State: He was their second round choice and Woodruff is becoming one of the best guards in the league.

He has been apart of two Grey Cup winning teams in Montreal, and was instrumental in playing a big role in the 2010 championship victory.

He has displayed a nasty streak which has aided this line in continuing to be one of the better units in the league. With Scott Flory entering the last stage of his professional career, Woodruff could assume his leadership mantle and carry the torch for many years down the road.

With his ability, the sky’s the limit for him and is on the cusp of receiving league recognition as one of the best.

Paul Woldu, DB, Saskatchewan: Another key contributor from this class who was taken in the fifth round of the draft.

For a Canadian product playing a position that is normally occupied by an import player. Woldu defied expectations as he was able to crack the Alouettes lineup in 2008.

As his career progressed, he was immersed in the game day rotation as special team’s ace, and an all around solid team contributor.

Because of his non-import status, it enabled the team to be more flexible with their ratio status.

Woldu was apart of the three Grey Cup teams, winning it twice with the club. Ironically enough the two victories came against his hometown Saskatchewan Roughriders who he signed with this past offseason.

Even though his Alouettes career has come to an end, it will be the Roughriders who will enjoy his ascension as it seems he is destined to have a more prominent role with his new team.

Luc Brodeur-Jourdain, OL, Laval: With their sixth round selection, this might be the ultimate diamond in the rough in selecting offensive lineman, Luc Brodeur-Jourdain from Laval University.

Historically speaking, the Rouge et Or program is known to be a powerhouse in CIS football winning many Vanier Cups in a short period of time.

However, the bulk of players who move onto the CFL do not pan out. In the case of Brodeur-Jourdain, he has been a revelation to the team’s offensive line.

Coming into the league he converted from a guard to centre. Brodeur-Jourdain has had some big shoes to fill once Bryan Chiu’s announced his retirement from the team on the eve of the 2010 training camp.

He effectively became the full time starting centre midway through the 2010 season and hasn’t looked back. Even though he plays a position that will never be recognized, he has helped paved the way for the likes of Cobourne, and Brandon Whitaker to have successful seasons.

Being a local product, it enables the Alouettes to use him in many marketing campaigns as a role model that the next generation of kids can look up to in hopes of one day playing professional football.

As for the other two selections in Terrence Firr, and Gurminder Thind I contacted the Alouettes media department, and they replied that both did not dress for a game during their time with the team.

The Alouettes can proudly say that that the 2008 class has been instrumental in their recent Grey Cup runs. It has produced four starters which is rarified air considering that a CFL team would be lucky to get one impact player from a class.

The scary part, the players who are still apart of the organization are only getting better, and slowly becoming the next generation of leaders on this football team.

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1 comment:

  1. unfair shot at bear woods since it was his 1st ever CFL game!! sorry paul woldu will never be a starter and remain a back up and ST player and won't be missed!! terry firr attended a TC and returned to manitoba U and was never heard from again!! gurminder thind was just a busted draft pick also never heard from again!!