Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Who could the Montreal Alouettes be targeting at the CFL Draft

With the CFL Combine now in the rear view mirror for all nine teams, management will now reshuffle their draft deck in the lead-up to the May 13th draft in Toronto.

Given their strong drafting history and sitting comfortably with the fourth selection, what could general manager Jim Popp and the Montreal Alouettes be looking at as they embark on the new chapter of the franchise sans Anthony Calvillo?

Many CFL pundits believe this isn't a deep draft, and is top heavy along the offensive and defensive lines in this class. Locally, there is a good crop of Quebec talent that will be available.

Here are a few names the Alouettes could have on their radar when it is their time to make their first selection:

David Menard, defensive end, Montreal: Menard has the ability to play multiple positions along the line. Arguably the toughest and nastiest player, who faced constant double teams in the RSEQ. Menard had a solid weekend at the CFL Combine where he put up great individual numbers (33-reps on the bench), and did well in the one-on-one drills. Given that Alouettes defensive coordinator, Noel Thorpe coached Menard with the Carabins, he has first-hand knowledge of what he brings each game. More importantly, he adds non-import depth to this group position.

QuinnSmith, defensive line, Concordia: Smith's stock has skyrocketed from the CFL Combine. He has the ability to play in the middle of the line in a 3-4 front and as a defensive tackle in a 4-3 front, plus he showed off some iron man skills in taking reps as an offensive guard which has made him an intriguing prospect. Some CFL pundits predict that Smith could be selected in the first five picks. The Alouettes have seen Smith play for many years in their backyard. Since he has been coached by former Alouettes players in Bryan Chiu and Shawn Mayne, it will enable them to get first hand information on how he is as a player.

Laurent Durvernay-Tardif, offensive tackle, McGill: There’s no doubt the McGill product will be in an NFL camp this summer. From speaking to an NFL source, there is a stronger belief that he will be drafted than be signed. Thus, enhancing his chances of potentially sticking on an NFL roster. The Alouettes are not shy in the late rounds by taking a flyer on players who are in the NFL and may never ever step foot on a CFL field (see Phillip Blake, and Vaughn Martin). Having a first-hand close up of his games, if the NFL does not work out for him, he could be the team's future right tackle in giving the best non-import tackle duo along with Josh Bourke. Let's not forget, he has an excellent academic record and can fall back on his degree if football doesn't work out for him.

Linebackers: With the loss of Shea Emry via free agency to the Toronto Argonauts, it has created a small hole with their non-import talent at that position. The Alouettes were fortunate enough to have had Emry man a position normally occupied by an import player. Could Popp win the lottery twice by unearthing another non-import star? Keep an eye on Simon Fraser Clan, Casey Chin, and the Stingers own Travis Bent. Chin is a wild card player. He did very well in the combine testing and one-on-one drills. Some might view him as smallish, but he is a thumper that can bring the pounding in a hit. Bent's stock has risen, winning an opportunity from the Montreal regional combine to attend the Toronto event. Universally, Bent has been on the CFL radar since coming out from the Toronto area high school system. Even though he played on an 0-8 Stingers team in 2013, it has not deterred the CFL scouts from looking at his skills for the next level. Let's not forget in 2013 that former Stingers player Kris Robertson went through the Quebec City regional and earned himself an invitation for the CFL Combine where he ended up being a second round selection for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.  Bent has a chance to hear his name being called early in this draft.

Follow me on Twitter @MoeKhan19

Photo Credit: University of Montreal

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