Last season, the B.C. Lions watched the Grey Cup finals from their living rooms. They fought hard only to meet their fate against the dominant Calgary Stampeders in the Western Finals. Jonathon Jennings led an explosive B.C. offence in 2016. That offence has only gotten better with the addition of free agent wide out Chris Williams. Williams was part of a receiving corps in Ottawa that boasted four 1000-yard performers. This season, the Lions look to finish the job and make it to their first championship game since 2011.
2017 B.C. Lions Draft Recap
The bridesmaids of the West Division took a little bit of everything in the 2017 draft. Of the first five picks, no two positions were duplicated. However, they finished the final three rounds, taking receivers in two of them.
As an added benefit, the Lions picked twice in the first round. On top of their seventh pick based on last season’s finish, B.C. held the Montreal Alouettes third overall selection. It was a pick they acquired by way of a deal for the negotiation rights to quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. Adams went on to appear in four games for the Als.
Here’s a pick by pick breakdown:
Round 1: REC Danny Vandervoort, McMaster (3rd overall via MTL)
With the retirement of Shawn Gore, Vandervoot has a real opportunity to see playing time in a hurry. He is a deep threat with great hands and concentration. During his time at McMaster University, Vandervoort accumulated 2,572 yards on 148 receptions. He also had 29 touchdown catches which places him third all-time in U Sports in that category. His 4.734 time in 40-yard dash left something to be desired. But, his 6’1″ 203 pound frame is almost exactly the size of the hole Gore leaves behind. He should fit right in along side his Emmanuel Arceneaux, Bryan Burham and now Williams.
Round 1: DL Junior Luke, Montreal (7th overall)
One thing is clear from watching film of Junior Luke, he has a nose for the ball. Whether he is lined up on the inside or the outside, Luke zeros in on the ball carrier with a quickness. He explodes off the line on the snap and uses his immense closing speed to help end a play. Even if he is not the one to make the tackle, he is always able to slow a runner down. Despite his 291-pound frame, he can still drop back in coverage when called upon. Luke finished his college career with 46 tackles and 11 sacks. Look for him to make a few spot starts over the course of the season.
Round 2: OL Jeremy Zver, Regina (16th overall)
Zver is a strong presence on the offensive line with the ability to block downfield on screen plays. He also has solid technique that can buy his quarterback time to take shots downfield. That skill is important to Lions as they are in possession now of two of the most dangerous deep threat receivers in the CFL in Arceneaux and Williams. Luke has been named a Canada West all-star three times in his college career.
Round 3: LB Frederic Chagnon, Montreal (24th overall)
Chagon is a linebacker with great vision. He is able to diagnose plays well while also keeping a trained eye on the quarterback. Also, as do many linebackers are wont to do, he likes to hit hard. He was the biggest at his position at the combine weighing in at a stout 240 pounds. It may be that he’s asked to shed a few of those pound. He will need to in order to gain a little more speed to keep up the pros.
Round 4: DB Nathaniel Hamlin, Carleton (33rd overall)
An important skill set for a defensive back to posses is the ability to run routes as accurately and quickly as a wide receiver. Luckily, Hamlin can do that and do it well. It also doesn’t hurt to have the ability to tackle, which he does as well. At Carelton, he accumulated 126 tackles, a sack, and four interceptions. His 40-yard dash time of 4.641 was faster than many of the running backs and wideouts at the combine. There are a lot of names in that defensive backfield already for the Lions. Hamlin will have his work cut out for him if he wants to make the team.
Round 5: DL Edward Godin, Laval (42nd overall)
Coming off the end, Godin can make a quarterback’s night highly stressful. He completed his time at Laval with 11 sacks in 30 total games. More impressive than his numbers though, is his willingness to play from whistle to whistle. He never quits on a play and will stay engaged no matter where he is at on the field. Many times, this results in a play finding its way back to him enabling him to end it. Even if he is unable to suit up for B.C. this season, he may not sit long on the shelf. Certainly there will be a team that needs his kind of talent.
Round 6: REC Dakota Brush, Mount Allison (51st overall)
In Brush, the Lions get a quality possession receiver. He will certainly not stretch the field, and he does not have to on this team. Brush is a nice compliment to the burners that Jennings already has at his disposal, if he makes the team.
Round 7: LB Jordan Herdman, Simon Fraser (60th overall)
What immediately jumps out about Herdman is his acceleration and closing speed on a ball carrier. He can also stretch out a play laterally and above all else, hits hard. With 113 tackles last season, he led the Great Northwest Athletics Conference and finished his college career with 428 total. That tally set an all-time conference record.
Round 8: REC Mitchell Hillis, Saskatchewan (69th overall)
B.C. must have been concentrating on the middle of the field with their last two picks at receiver. This is evident by the selection of Hillis. His regional 40-yard dash time of 4.78 is also indicative of his status as a slot back. He’s fully capable of running the crossing patterns or serving as a decoy to free up Williams and Arceneaux. His best season with the University of Saskatchewan was the 2015-16 season where he caught a career high 66 passes. He turned those into 1052 yards and seven majors.
Main Photo via Youtube.