Toronto Argonauts Canadian Content Analysis Heading into 2015 CFL Draft
by Dan McLaughlin (aka Childress)
Toronto had a somewhat disappointing season in 2014. They finished third place in the Eastern Division with a losing record of 8-10 and missed the playoffs. Still, when it comes to Canadian Content, the Argos have a talented group. In an article entitled, "A Letter to Argo Fans from GM Jim Barker", Barker claims "...our core Canadian talent is second to none in the CFL."
Argos' starting Canadians in 2014:
Players added with starting potential:
Based on 2014, their distribution of starting Canadians per game was: 3.7 OL, 1.8 WR, 1.1 LB, 1 DB, .9 DL. The Argos certainly have a strong group of Canadians which gives great flexibility. There will be some shuffling of starters as LB Shea Emry was traded for DE Ricky Foley, veteran starting receiver Spencer Watt signed in Hamilton and bigger things will be expected from Cory Greenwood and young players like potentially WR Anthony Coombs and OL Matt Sewell. They have selections at 3,12, 21, 30, 39, 55, and 56.
Position by position breakdown:
Position by position breakdown:
Receiver: The Argos started two Canadians for most of the season at receiver and are likely to continue in 2015. The challenge will be to replace Spencer Watt, who started 15 games for them in 2014. His replacement will likely be an internal one. Andre Durie was injured for most of last season, but should be expected to get more than four starts in 2015. Anthony Coombs looked very promising before he got hurt as well. Mike Bradswell is a dependable veteran who could get more opportunity as could second year receiver Natey Adjei. I would expect the Argos would like to add another receiver to their team for depth/developmental purposes, but this wouldn't be an urgent need.
Running back: The Argos starting running back is looking to be an import player. Behind the import running back, many teams like to have a Canadian backup. The Argos are fortunate as they have two versatile Canadian receivers who can step in and play the running back position in a pinch in Andre Durie and Anthony Coombs. Because of this, the Argos do not really have an urgent need for a Canadian running back. That said, they did lose Anthony Woodson in the off-season, and may want to replace that loss in the draft.
Fullback: The Argos have three fullbacks on their roster: veteran Zander Robinson, along with second year players Alex Dupuis and Brendan Gillander. They don't really have a great need here. They could choose to take a fullback late in the draft to increase the competition in camp.
Offensive line: Toronto played on average with 3.6 Canadian offensive linemen in 2014, and I am sure they would like to see that number increase in 2015. Centre Jeff Keeping, guard Tyler Holmes, and tackle Chris Van Zeyl are the stalwarts of the offensive line. Wayne Smith started 11 games for the Argos, but at 36 and with a history of injuries, the Argos would be best served by not depending on him. Matt Sewell was one of the top rated offensive linemen in the 2013 draft and may get an opportunity to start in 2015. The only other Canadian offensive linemen on their roster is 2014 third round pick Jaskaran Dhillon. They could certainly use another o- lineman to add to their depth and potentially push for a starting position.
Defensive line: The Argos do not have a wealth of Canadian talent on the defensive line. The only returning player is starting defensive tackle Cleyon Lang. They also aquired starting defensive end Ricky Foley over the off-season. If they do, in fact, want to take full advantage of these two players Canadian citizenship, then they need to get Canadian backups. I see this as a big area of need for the Argos heading into the 2015 draft.
Linebacker: Cory Greenwood is the most exciting Canadian linebacker for the Argo fans. They have waited a long time for the 2010 draft pick to report and now Barker has shown so much confidence in him that he traded Shea Emry. Behind Emry the Argos have veterans James Yurichuk and Jonathon Hood. Young linebackers include 2nd year Herve Tonye-Tonye (4th rounder in 2012), Thomas Miles (4th rounder in 2014), and Akeem Wonder (undrafted) who spent last season on the Stampeders practice roster but was released at the end of the season. The Argos again do not have an urgent need at linebacker, but may be interested in bring in competition to upgrade their current talent. They may also be interested in drafting a top prospect to provide another option behind Greenwood.
Defensive back: Toronto has four Canadian defensive backs on their roster. They begin with starting safety Jermaine Gabriel who is backed up by Matt Black who is more than capable. The other two are Eric Black (5th round) and Shane Herbert (unsigned free agent) who are developmental players. Again, Toronto doesn't have an immediate need at defensive back, but could look to add competition for training camp.
Kicker/Punter: Toronto went with an import kicker/punter last year and is expected to do so again in 2015. Because Toronto didn't carry a backup on their roster, it is unlikely they will do so this season. I would be surprised to see them take a kicker or punter in the 2015 draft.
Toronto is in a very good situation heading into the CFL draft. Their biggest needs would be on the offensive and defensive line. However, they are another team that can really choose the best player available and does not need to be concerned with filling immediate needs.