"Gill also notes that the Grey Cup-champion Calgary Stampeders have amassed the highest percentage of starters from the draft during the six-year span (from 2002-07) at 18.2 per cent. At the other end of the spectrum, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats — who select first overall Saturday after posting a league-worst 3-15 record — have seen almost 45 per cent of their draft picks never play a down in the CFL, compared to just 20.5 per cent for the Stamps."
It's central to understanding the three-down Canadian game that scouting is relatively unsophisticated compared to the major pro sports leagues and the NHL. GIll notes, "Limited financial resources simply means that teams cannot dedicate the necessary funds for dedicated personnel to scout the upcoming draft talent ... With that being said, I believe that teams do see the positive effect of a good draft and many are starting to put more effort into their scouting efforts."
However, it is reassuring to read the teams which do right by Canadian players are rewarded on the field. The ones who aren't, such as Hamilton and the Toronto Argonauts, don't. Paraphrasing what Barry Alvarez said when he took over the woebegone Wisconsin Badgers two decades ago, the heart and soul of the CFL comes from Canada; the arms, hands and legs come from somewhere else. (The draft is pretty heavy in linemen.) It seems important to keep that in mind ahead of Saturday's selections.
The B.C. Lions have a deal in principle to move up to the No. 3 overall pick and take the hometown kid, record-setting Bishop's Gaiters running back Jamall Lee (who was coached by Napanee native Leroy Blugh).
Incidentally, it's impossible to resist passing along a column from South Carolina actually dedicated to the CFL draft and the fact Americans are not eligible:
"As for the CFL, its top pick is expected to be Alberta offensive lineman Simeon Rottier. By the time the draft is done it’ll read like a who’s who of Canadian stars, although those of us unfamiliar with Canadian college ball might be asking, 'Who?' "That could go for much of Canada, but that is neither here nor there. It's going to be a very special day for some Canadian footballers.
CFL agent Darren Gill offers his clients some sage advice (The Canadian Press)