Cauz: 12 things on my mind during the ’21 Draft

If you need a thorough recap of Tuesday night’s draft you have come to the right place, sort of.

If you need in-depth, on point analysis of the prominent players selected the CFL.ca Staff has you covered.

For football fans that don’t have time to do deep dives in U SPORTS Football or the NCAA, may I suggest this video from Marshall Ferguson to get you caught up? The great thing is if you need to sound smart at your next socially distanced CFL mixer, just memorize what he says and pass it off as your own original thoughts. Trust me, I do it all the time.

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My only problem with this video is Marshall went with the classic library background showing off all the books he’s read. Come on Marsh, you couldn’t have slipped in one non-football book in your collection? A book about taxidermy just to throw us off?

However, if you’re looking for a different slant to what happened in the most unique of CFL drafts, then my piece maybe for you.

My draft roundup is light on breaking down how Nelson Lokombo will be utilized in the Saskatchewan Roughriders secondary but it will be packed with observations that I bet floated in and out of your head during last night’s telecast.

So here are my 12 thoughts that may or may not be directly linked to the 54 young men selected on Tuesday night.

1. LOVED SEEING SOME FOOTBALL

Hey look football highlights! The opening 30 seconds on TSN is a reminder of one of the primary reasons people like me obsess over draft coverage: because we get to watch actual football. In normal years it would be close to half a year since the Grey Cup is over so we’re all jonesing for someone to catch a pass and get crushed by a safety.

In 2021, this feeling is so pronounced as we haven’t got to watch a game since November 24, 2019. I just enjoyed getting to see some of my favourite players do what they do best as I had to constantly remind myself what I was watching is from two years ago.

2. THE BEST ANALYST BACKGROUND AWARD GOES TO…

In the battle between analysts, I give the best background award to Farhan Lalji over Davis Sanchez. While I appreciate the impressive leather, old school boardroom style chair that Sanchez is in, I’m going with Farhan for having the guts not to litter his background with every football book written the past half century.

There’s a nice picture of him and his kids, a well-cared for plant, some books and, of course, the classic properly placed football to prove he knows the game.

3. OH YEAH, REMEMBER JOHNNY MANZIEL?

And with the last pick of the first round Hamilton has Montreal’s pick due to the Johnny Manziel trade.

I had forgotten about this trade due to the fact that I had found a way to block the whole Manziel era from my brain, which wasn’t that hard as he played only 11 games. I get why a team would take a chance on a highly decorated collegiate quarterback but I prefer the stories of Vernon Adams Jr. spending $20,000 of his own money to fly in his teammates to his hometown Seattle last April to workout with him.

Yeah, I’ll take the leadership and stability of Adams over the chaos that came with Manziel.

4. WAIT, WHO WAS SELECTED FIRST OVERALL?

A tight end was taken with the first overall pick??!? Now that is something I (like everyone else on the TSN set) did not expect. It’s hard not to root for the newest member of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats after watching an interview with the clearly fired up former Boston College star.

A bonus Fun Farhan Fact: At one point Jake was the No. 1 ranked high school volleyball player in the United States. I have so many questions. What are the traits that get you the top spot? Who is in charge of compiling such a list? That seems like a lot of work. But nonetheless, that has to be a bonus for a position that requires to out jump defensive backs. Also, in the name of Tony Gabriel, can we please bring back the tight end? I’m not talking about the big bodied receiver on goal line plays, I mean let’s go full Mel Profit.

5. COME ON DOWN TO WINNIPEG, LIAM

Wow, Liam Dobson is a big boy! The offensive linemen taken by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers looks like a run blocking beast. I just hope that Andrew Harris is still the Bombers meal ticket if/when Dobson joins Winnipeg.

Yes, like many of you, I am secretly hoping all these players who still have ties with either their collegiate team or the NFL will end up north of the border sooner rather than later. I know that makes me a selfish/bad person but after watching the highlights of all these talented individuals, I’m just wildly curious to see what they would look like with their respective Canadian teams.

6. A REACH? MAYBE

The first official “reach” of the draft happens with Cole Nelson, a defensive lineman from the University of Alberta who is chosen by Edmonton.

When Duane Ford is surprised you were taken this high then we must all be surprised. I’m sorry but those are the rules, Duane knows more about this than just about the rest of us. It should be pointed out that players who are ready to contribute right away will often get picked higher than expected and, of course, let’s never forget every draft in every sport is a crap shoot and in 2021 it is doubly so.

7. WEATHER WOES

Hey, why does it look all sunny in Ottawa? Right before the REDBLACKS select Maine linebacker Deshawn Stevens TSN shows all these lovely shots outside of TD Place. Toronto has been nothing but grey skies and rain for the past 10 days so naturally I’m angry at any city that gets to experience that giant bright orb known as the sun.

This is the official point of the draft where everyone is in full “why hasn’t Terrell Jana been taken??” mode. The Virginia wide receiver was projected to go as high as number one and is still out there. No draft is complete without the “how come this guy is falling?” storyline.

I don’t know very much about Jana beyond what I’ve read but I am now expecting to hear his name uttered by Randy Ambrosie every time the Commissioner comes up to the podium. I am now 100% rooting for Terrell to fall to the Argonauts and I will be ticked off if they pass on him. You see, this is what I love about drafts, they allow me to be emotionally irresponsible. Why should I be angry about my team not choosing a guy I have never seen play? There is no rational reason beyond the Mock Drafts have seduced me and now I am fully on the Jana Bandwagon.

8. SLOW CLAP FOR DAVIS SANCHEZ

“When I think sexy, I think John Murphy. Sexy and John Murphy they go together like milk and cereal.”

The line of the night goes to Davis Sanchez during the Toronto Argonauts time in the first round. Not sure if Toronto’s Vice President of Player Personnel has ever been described like that but I bet he’s thrilled.

This is totally not fair to offensive lineman Peter Nicastro but I hate this pick. As mentioned above I was rooting for Terrell Jana at this spot so no matter who Toronto took I was not going to be happy. At this moment I’m pouting as I hate-watch his impressive highlights. Wait, did it only take a 20-second montage of interior line play staring Nicastro for me to talk myself into the University of Calgary product? It sure did! Look, I have zero credibility when it comes to judging these picks, I’m just here for my own self-interest. Yeah, I have a problem.

9. SAY IT RIGHT.. SAY IT RIGHT..

The hardest part of the night for Ambrosie and everyone on the TSN set was pronouncing the name of Oklahoma State linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga.

It sure looked like Ambrosie took an extra beat before announcing Calgary’s first round selection. I thought both the commissioner and Rod Smith nailed it on their first try. On the other end Sanchez goes full coward and never says his name. As someone who has mispronounced his own last name on radio, I fully endorse what Sanchez is doing during his analysis by talking about Cory Greenwood, the Stampeders defence and referring to Ogbongbemiga as “this pick.” I would have done the exact same thing.

10. HOW DOES DOXTATER DO IT?

The Argonauts second round pick, offensive lineman Sage Doxtater, is a vegetarian. Normally I don’t care what someone’s dinner preference is. It has no impact on my life. But I have to admit, I want to know what the meal plan is for anyone tipping the scales at 350 pounds but has chosen a meat-free life.

11. FARHAN LALJI IS THE GOAT

Wait, Farhan Lalji has coached against Edmonton’s second round pick, linebacker Grant McDonald from the University of Calgary? How did I not know that Farhan has been coaching for 30 years, won the 2012 Citizen of the Year in New Westminster and twice (2004 and 2012) was the runner-up for the NFL Canada National Coach of the Year Award? So beyond acquainting myself about the athleticism of Edmonton’s newest linebacker, I have also learned that Farhan is one busy dude and a better person than I am. Yeah, that’s a low bar.

12. TOOK LONG ENOUGH

Terrell Jana is off the board! Let all the draft pundits shower the Saskatchewan Roughriders with A+ Draft Grades! As the panel is discussing whether or not Saskatchewan will suit up Justin McInnis along with Jana giving them two Canadians at the receiver position, my mind immediately drifts to the short lived Canadian Air Force.

For two seasons (2009-10) we were all treated to a Roughrider passing attack that featured four Canadians in Andy Fantuz, Jason Clermont, Rob Bagg and Chris Getzlaf! So while Sanchez is comparing Terrell to Marquay McDaniel, I’m having visions of Fantuz and Getzlaf putting up over 2,200 receiving yards in 2010. Those Darian Durant teams were a patriotic delight.

My grade for the 2021 Draft is an A+. But as you can tell I’m a sucker for this night. Let’s hope we get to see this draft class AND last year’s on the field this coming summer.

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