The CFL just released a list of the top 15 prospects for the 2010 CFL Canadian Draft. So with that being released, and the draft just around the corner, I figured it would be a good time to discuss some of the draft needs for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
On the surface the team doesn't need much of anything. The team has solid QBs, top-notch RBs, a stellar group of WRs, great LBs, and a vastly improved Secondary thanks to free agency. The O- and D-Lines could use some fortification, but that is the case every year. You can never have enough good linemen. That leaves one key area that needs to be addressed, an area that most people don't think about: Special Teams. More specifically, Punter and Kick Returner.
Every since Marquay McDaniel was injured last season, the Cats have had a rough time finding a player that can be a difference-maker at the KR position.
Say hello to Steven Turner.
Turner, a WR from Bishop's, was the breakout star of the CFL's 2010 E-Camp in March. He ran a blazing 4.31-second 40-yard dash time, which helped his stock skyrocket. While Turner is still a raw WR prospect, he could help on Special Teams in the return game with such speed. He is currently the 14th-ranked prospect according to the Scouting Bureau. He is a player that could be there when the Cats first pick in the draft (12th overall) comes up in the 2nd round.
The other position that the Tabbies need to fill is Punter. When the team released Nick Setta in January, they said goodbye to their versatile Kicker/Punter. When the team signed Sandro DeAngelis in February, they addressed Place Kicker but not Punter. The team is still searching for a Punter, and a Canadian is most likely to be used to avoid messing with the Import Ratio.
Enter Rob Maver.
Maver, a former Guelph Gryphon, is the top-rated Special Teams prospect, coming in at #6 on the Scouting Bureau's list. Getting Maver in Black & Gold will be a bit of a problem. The Ti-Cats do not have a pick in the 1st round, and Maver is assured of being selected in the first 7 picks (possibly by Calgary at #5). So if the Cats want to get Maver they are going to have to trade up into the 1st round to select him. The Cats have a plethora of young, Canadian WRs that they could peddle to another team, but will any team in the top half of the 1st round want to take, say, Chris Bauman for their pick? That's hard to say. A team like Saskatchewan is likely not a suitor for Canadian WRs because they already have their fill. Maybe the Argos at 1st overall or the Lions at 3rd overall would be interested, but who knows. Landing Maver is probably a pipe dream at this point, but GM Bob O'Billovich has pulled off some miracles in his day so I wouldn't put it past him to make the move to land the talented Guelph product.
It is probably wishful thinking that the Cats will land both Maver and Turner, thereby filling the only two real holes the teams has yet to fill. Who knows, maybe the team isn't interested in either player, or they have their sights set on guys they think are better suited for the roles that still need to be filled. While I know we need players to fill these positions – that is undeniable – whether we need these players, or the team thinks we need these players, is unknown by this scribe. But, hey, you come here for opinions, and this is my opinion. In any event, May 2nd will be a big day.
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RELATED: E-Camp and the 2010 CFL Draft