Mmmmmmmm! CFL DRAFT DAY!
Even Homer Simpson will be watching this afternoon's extravaganza
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 03/05/2012 (3860 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Homer watched it — and so can you.
The CFL draft — which airs today at 2 p.m. — has only been televised live in Canada by league broadcaster TSN since 2009, but the residents of Springfield have been watching it a lot longer than that.
Way back in 1992 during Season 3 of the long-running Fox series, The Simpsons, there was a CFL draft gag in the memorable episode when Ned Flanders briefly opens a store exclusively for left-handers, The Leftorium.
As a bored-looking Homer Simpson looks on from his couch, a crude graphic of a football emblazoned with a maple leaf and the words ‘CFL draft’ appears on his television, dissolving into a shot of two announcers seated in front of a CFL draft board divided into Eastern and Western Divisions.
Welcoming viewers to more “exciting 15th-round action at the Canadian Football League draft,” the announcers go on to note with some concern that “the Saskatchewan Roughriders only had four rouges all last year.”
The Roughriders can only wish their biggest problem heading into the 2012 draft was their lack of singles production in a disastrous 5-13 season in 2011 in which they were dead-last by a mile in points scored (51 points behind seventh-place Toronto and 169 points behind first-place Montreal).
And so with that as a backdrop — the more things change in Saskatchewan, the more they stay the same — here’s a viewer’s guide to this afternoon’s CFL draft:
What’s in it for the Bombers today?
The Bombers don’t have a first-round pick this year, because they forfeited theirs when they selected receiver Kito Poblah first overall in last year’s supplemental draft.
But they also kind of do have a first-round pick. Thanks to a trade with Saskatchewan last month that sent defensive end Odell Willis to the Riders, the Bombers have Saskatchewan’s first pick in the second round, which is eighth overall — only one spot deeper than they would have picked anyway as league runner-up in 2011.
So what’s going to be available by the time the Bombers get to select? If all the teams draft strictly according to the rankings put out last week by the CFL scouting bureau (bet against it), the eighth-ranked prospect would still seem to fit the bill quite nicely for Winnipeg — a 6-foot-1, 283-pound defensive end named Jabar Westerman out of Eastern Michigan. If you’re wondering, the ninth-ranked prospect is 6-foot-4, 195-pound receiver Simon Charbonneau-Campeau out of Sherbrooke and the 10th-ranked prospect is a 6-foot-3, 315-pound offensive lineman named Matt Norman out of Western.
In total, the Bombers will have six picks in this year’s draft — two in the second round (8th and 13th overall); two in the third round (16th and 21st); and two in the fourth round (23rd and 29th). Winnipeg also had six picks last year and in 2008.
What do the Bombers need?
With the off-season departure of a pair of non-import Canadian defensive linemen — Doug Brown retired and Don Oramasionwu signed with Edmonton — the Bombers would love to land a blue-chip Canadian replacement.
And there are several of them in this draft — Boise State defensive end Tyrone Crawford (6-foot-4, 273) is the top overall prospect; Wofford defensive end Ameet Pall (6-foot, 245 pounds) is ranked seventh and could conceivably still be around when the Bombers draft eighth; and then there’s eighth-ranked Jabar Westerman (6-foot-1, 283) out of Eastern Michigan.
The CFL scouting bureau report vaulted Crawford to top spot last week, leapfrogging the man who had been everyone’s consensus No. 1 pick this winter — University of Saskatchewan offensive lineman Ben Heenan.
But there’s a big wrinkle — Crawford is so good he was drafted in the third round of the recent NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys and there’s an excellent chance he will never even visit a CFL training camp.
The fact Crawford never participated in the CFL evaluation camp suggests he is focused on playing south of the border.
Pall, who’s ranked seventh by the CFL scouting bureau, would be a more secure bet for Winnipeg if he’s still available by the time they select.
The 2010 Southern Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year, he’s a bit short at 5-foot-10 for the NFL’s liking, but would look right at home in Canada.
These were the overall winners in each of the six main drills that prospects competed in at the CFL evaluation camp in Toronto earlier this spring:
Bench pressMichael Van Praet38 reps
40-yard dashShamawd Chambers4.42
Vertical jumpDylan Hollohan42.5″
Broad jumpKeenan MacDougall10’7.5″
3-cone drillJawann Westerman6.45
If you know only one thing heading into today, know this…
According to Blue Bombers draftologist — and special teams coach — Kyle Walters, 50 per cent of the players drafted in the CFL draft are consistently either receivers or offensive lineman, two positions where CFL teams generally try to count at least five non-import starters combined.
In last year’s CFL draft, four of Winnipeg’s six picks fit those two categories — receivers Jade Etienne and Liam Mahoney and offensive linemen Brendan Dunn and Paul Swiston. First-overall pick Henoc Muamba, a linebacker, and fifth-rounder Carl Volny, a running back, were the exceptions.
But if you track back over the past five drafts, Winnipeg’s selections are more diverse. Winnipeg has made 23 selections since 2007 and in that time has drafted: four running backs, four receivers, four offensive linemen, four defensive linemen, five linebackers and two defensive backs. Winnipeg drafted no kickers and no quarterbacks during that period.
What are the rules?
There are six rounds and a total of 45 players will be selected this year from a pool of 901 draft eligible Canadians.
Teams have eight minutes to announce their picks in Round 1, five minutes in Round 2 and three minutes for the final four rounds.
Paul Wiecek was born and raised in Winnipeg’s North End and delivered the Free Press -- 53 papers, Machray Avenue, between Main and Salter Streets -- long before he was first hired as a Free Press reporter in 1989.