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Big men in trenches headline deepest CFL draft in years

It’s not often Offensive Linemen get to be in the middle of the spotlight,  but expect them to be front and center in this years CFL draft, considered by many to be one the deepest drafts we’ve seen in quite some time.  As many as thirty-one offensive linemen have a legitimate shot at getting their name called when the 2010 CFL draft takes place May 2nd.

The most highly touted of that group is Nevada’s John Bender, a player who many expect to be taken in next year’s NFL Draft.  The Huskies continue to provide the CFL with quality linemen as OG Patrick Neufeld, is expected to be taken.  He’s going to need to use another year to bulk up to CFL standards, but as TSN’s Duane Ford put it, he’s a “good technician.”

It’s a draft where teams can expect to get quality players not only in the 1st round but in the 3rd and 4th rounds as well, featuring a host of solid linebackers and a class particularly rich in talent at the receiver position, chalk full of speedy, dynamic receivers who shredded defenses over the course of last year.  Some of those receivers include Bishop’s Shawn Gore, who is getting a shot at making the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, Bishop’s Steven Turner who made a name for himself at camp and would make a great returner, Regina’s Jordan Sisco, who is CFL ready and trying out for the NFL’s Colts and Concordia’s Cory Watson, another talented receiver who will go into the dirty areas to make a play.

Unlike last year, when Hamilton took OT Simeon Rottier first overall, there is no consensus #1 pick.  That label can at least temporarily belong to Queen’s linebacker Shomari Williams, who was a dominant force in leading the Golden Gaels to their first ever Vanier Cup championship.  It remains to be seen whether he’ll make it as a linebacker or a defensive end.  The Toronto Argonauts, or whomever ends up picking first may end up going with team needs over the best available player, as there are a handful of players who could come in and make an immediate impact.

Don’t expect Grant Shaw back with the Huskies next year. While his core work was in being a DB, he’ll be chosen based on his abilities to kick the football. Shaw has proven himself to be a dynamite placekicker, going 4/6 from 40+ yards out, as well as 2 from 50+ which makes him an intriguing prospect.  His ability to play two positions could make him a great 42nd man on any CFL roster.

Scouts may be having a tough time reading into how good RB Dathan Thomas could be at the next level, but their not the only ones.  Huskies fans have been waiting a year and a half for his torn ACL to heal so they can see if he’ll be able to put up the big numbers we think he is capable of putting up in CIS.  In spite of the extended time off and lack of game film to go on, he did perform very well at the NIC and that alone will be enough for a team to take a chance on him.

Dathan Thomas

There are a couple other Huskies that have an outside chance at being taken at some point during the draft.  WR Rory Kohlert has the talent, but a broken leg he suffered at the NIC may put a damper in those hopes as it will likely keep him out until mid-summer.  Safety Jon Krahenbil who just finished off his eligibility with the Huskies, boasts the impressive feat of being both a former CIS and CJFL All-Canadian. Along with that, he also led the draft class with five interceptions in 2009, numbers that could help his chances of being chosen.

Neufeld, Thomas, and Kohlert will all be taking part in the Huskies scrimmage on May 2nd, the same time as the draft is slated to be underway.  That will undoubtedly be in the back of their minds and will hopefully be extra motivation for them as they aim to impress the coaches with the 2010 football season coming closer.

Projected Top 10

1. Shomari Williams LB, Queen’s

2. John Bender OG, Nevada

3. Corey Greenwood LB, Concordia

4. Danny Watkins OT, Baylor

5. Joe Eppele OT, Washington State

6. Rob Maver K/P, Guelph

7. Brian Bulcke DL, Stanford

8. Taurean Allen DB, Wilfred Laurier

9. Eddie Steele DT, Manitoba

10. Shawn Gore WR, Bishop’s

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