For the past couple years the Hamilton Tiger-Cats contained a ton of talent on their roster. They’ve been knocking on the door to win but haven’t captured a Grey Cup in the 21st Century. When breaking down the formula for a successful football team, it starts within the trenches, also known as the offensive and defensive line.
The Tiger-Cats did lose a huge piece of their team and an important leader in offensive lineman Peter Dyakowski to the Toronto Argonauts. The Canadian spent his entire 10-year career in the Hammer, starting 143 of the 160 games he dressed. Hamilton selected only two offensive linemen the past two drafts, and the team did struggle against the run last year. This has forced the team to use majority of their picks on the line. They brought in a couple big bodies.
2017 Hamilton Tiger-cats Draft Recap
1st Round: DL Connor McGough, Calgary (4th overall)
It was reported the Tiger-Cats wanted to move up in the draft to grab receiver Danny Vandervoort from their own back yard at McMaster University. When that fell through they selected McGough, which was a surprise pick. The Dino product was dominant during his four-year career at Calgary. He was a two time West All-Star and showed off his speed at the combine posting the fastest time among defensive linemen (4.736). He was put all over the line in the ten games he started last year. McGough ranked fifth on the team with 31 tackles, four sacks and nine tackles for a loss. He displayed his versatility playing on special teams and some snaps on offense for the Dinos in 2016. He should be penciled in as a rotational player on the Tiger-Cats.
2nd Round: OL Braden Schram, Calgary (13th overall)
The Tiger-Cats went back to Calgary with their second pick, but on the offensive line. Schram was impressive in his Dino career. He was a two time Canada West All-Star and earned U Sports First Team All-Canadian honours in 2015. He only played seven games before he went down with an injury. The 6’5 linemen increased he’s stock at the CFL combine and can play multiple positions. Schram brings youth and depth to an already deep Canadian offensive line.
3rd Round: DL Kay Okafor, St.Francis Xavier (21st overall)
The 6’3, 273 pound lineman has a very high ceiling considering the little time he’s actually played the sport for. After coming from Nigeria to PEI for educational purposes, he turned to football after being cut from his high school basketball team. It was a perfect match from day one. Okafor’s fourth year at St.Francis was his best accumulating 4.5 sacks and 17 total tackles. The Enugu, Nigeria native is a freak athlete. He exhibits a great combination of speed and power that can turn him into an every defensive tackle for the Tiger-Cats down the road.
5th Round: Justin Vaughn, Fordham (38th overall)
The hometown kid transformed into a monster at Fordman University. He became a starter at defensive tackle in 2015. In his senior year earned First Team All-Patriot League and the team’s defensive player of the year. He put up 40 tackles, team high 11 tackles for a loss and four sacks. Vaughan is another big body the Tiger-Cats can use to plug up holes.
6th Round: REC Jacob Scarfone, Guelph (46th overall)
The wide receiver did not dress this past season due to injury he sustained in Spring practice of 2016, but thanks to his big play abilities in a historic the prior season, he was taken. Scarfone set a University of Guelph single-season record with 940 receiving yards. Plus his 57 receptions and 10 touchdown grabs ranked second in school history. He helped bring the Gryphons a Yates Cup in 2015, the programs first one in 19 years. If Hamilton decides not to keep him on the roster this upcoming season, the London, Ontario native is eligible to play another year for Guelph.
7th Round: OL Brett Golding, Wilfrid Laurier (58th overall)
He dressed 15 regular season games for the Golden Hawks, but missed the entire 2016 campaign due to an injury. He was one of the most dominant offensive linemen in the OUA the two-seasons prior. Golding has all the physical tools to be a force at the next level in Hamilton, standing at 6’4 and weighing 280 pounds.
8th Round: RB Sean Thomas-Erlington, Montreal (66th overall)
This season against the Vanier Cup Champions Laval, he rumbled for 121 yards and a touchdown on only 12 carries. Thomas-Erlington also ran for a touchdown in the 50th Vanier Cup when Montreal beat McMaster. Adds more depth to a Hamilton squad that ranked last in total rushing yards.