Now that the major free agent signings have been finalized, the Last Word On Sports CFL department will be looking at the top three needs for each team heading into the 2016 CFL Draft. Today, the Edmonton Eskimos are the focus. The Eskimos have five total picks in the draft including the eighth overall pick in the first round.
The Edmonton Eskimos had a fairly quiet off-season in their player personnel department, retaining many of the 2015 Grey Cup winners. On the other hand, the coaching staff is almost entirely new behind head coach Jason Maas.
That means new eyes evaluating the talent and scheme before the Eskimos 2016 CFL Draft. General manager Ed Hervey has been clear in the past about taking the best players available but he is looking to fill a few positional needs despite not having a full compliment of selections.
Edmonton Eskimos 2016 CFL Draft: Top 3 Needs
Questions linger with the loss of notable international players, Dexter McCoil and Otha Foster. McCoil remains under contract with the San Diego Chargers and Foster signed this off-season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. A ratio change could be coming.
The Eskimos will have to fill one position minimum, and with the number one rated Alex Singleton going to mini-camp with the New England Patriots, they’ll want to look further down the draft board. Laval product Shayne Gauthier might be a good fit.
There are over 30 draft eligible defensive backs in the 2016 class. The Eskimos have four national defensive backs on the roster, and will likely start Cauchy Muamba at safety.
Others will see time on special teams. Some of the top rated players have signed UDFA contracts with NFL clubs, or have accepted invites to attend mini-camps with NFL clubs. Brennan Van Nistelrooy, Nicolas Termansen, Anthony Thompson, and Mikael Charland remain as players on the radar.
Successful CFL general managers stockpile national offensive linemen to develop. The Eskimos will start a minimum of three in 2016. As the starters age in a salary cap league, it’s important to start at least one new project every year.
There are several highly touted offensive linemen in this year’s class, which is about 35 deep with prospects. It surely is a strong draft-class for the big men. With the current roster being seven linemen deep, the Eskimos might be wise to gamble on Charles Vaillancourt or Brandon Revenberg, if available in a later round. Both have accepted NFL mini-camp invites.
Main Photo via Getty Images sport.