Edmonton Eskimo Canadian Content Analysis Heading into 2015 CFL Draft
by Dan McLaughlin (aka Childress)
Second year Head Coach Chris Jones and third year GM Ed Hervey are looking to build on the Eskimo's 12 win season which was their most since 2003. The ratio was a problem for the team last year in the playoffs, and so the 2015 draft is important to their success this coming season. They have lost starters Matt O'Donnell (OL) to the NFL and Chris Rwabukamaba (DB) to the BC Lions who will both need to be replaced for the coming season. They will have to pick wisely as they only have five selections in the 7 round draft.
Eskimos' starting Canadians in 2014:
Free Agents signed with starting potential:
Based on 2014, their distribution of starting Canadians per game was: 3 OL, 2 WR, 1 FB, 1 DL, 1 DB. The downside was the Eskimos struggled in getting playmakers on the field on offense. With that distribution, there is only room for two import receivers, and I suspect the Eskimos may want to find room for another in 2015.
Next we will do a position by position breakdown:
Next we will do a position by position breakdown:
Receiver: Canadian receiver is an area of strength for the Eskimos. The unit is led by Nate Coehoorn who has been a consistent performer for the Eskimos. Shamawd Chambers and Devon Bailey were the top receivers in the 2012 and 2013 drafts and look to have excellent futures. As depth behind that trio are veterans Akeen Foster and Paris Jackson. I would be surprised if the Eskimos drafted a receiver - especially with their early picks.
Running back: Running back is an area of weakness for the Eskimos. They only have one Canadian running back who has never started a game in the CFL. That said, they seem to have designated the position for imports, so it is not really an area of great need.
Fullback: The Eskimos Calvin McCarty started all 18 games for the Eskimos and has been a very productive player for them over the years. He is backed up by veteran Mike Miller who has primarily been a special teams player for the Eskimos. The Eskimos do not have an urgent need at this position, bit given that McCarty is into his 30s, they could choose someone to develop for the future.
Offensive line: Though this has been the Eskimos achilles heal over the past decade, in 2014, the Eskimos saw improved play from their offensive line. They ranked 2nd in yards rushing and 4th best in sacks allowed which is tremendous improvement and brings optimism headed into 2015. On the downside, the Eskimos were only able to start three Canadian offensive linemen for most of the year and are losing one of their better ones to the NFL. They added two free agent offensive linemen in Krausniuk-Groh (only 2 starts for Ottawa in 2014) and Wojt (injury concerns), but neither looks to be a long term solution for the Eskimos. There is no question the Eskimos would like to have four Canadian starters on their offensive line which means they will be looking closely at the position early in the draft
Defensive line: With the return of Donny Oramasionwu, who was injured and lost for the season early in the 2014 season, the Eskimos combine with Eddie Steele to have two starting-calibre Canadian defensive tackles. Gregory Alexandre showed some promise as well at DT. At the end position, they have Mathieu Boulay and Elie Ngoyi who are primarily special teams players. The Eskimos have seemed to enjoy having strong Canadian defensive linemen in the past and so it would not be surprising to see them add someone to this position. However, it is not an area of urgent need for the team.
Linebacker: According to the position designation on their roster, the Eskimos only have two Canadian linebackers. This is the lowest in the CFL. The pair combined for two tackles, which suggests that they are not really depended upon for their defensive play. They could use a player who could step in and play some reps on defense to spell one of their starters, and to potentially develop into a starter. This is an area of need headed into the 2015 draft.
Defensive back: The Eskimos are losing their starting safety to the BC Lions, but they still have Ryan Hinds and Cauchy Muamba to compete for the position in 2015, both having CFL starting experience. Behind these two, the Eskimos have a trio of young players who have primarily played special teams, but may develop into more. With five Canadian defensive backs this is not an area of great need for the Eskimos.
Kicker/Punter: The lone player for these positions on the Eskimo roster is Grant Shaw. Though his job is not in jeopardy, it would make sense that the Eskimos would look at some depth for the position in the event of an injury. The Eskimos carried a reserve kicker all last year, so adding a kicker or punter late in the draft or as a undrafted free agent would seem likely.
The Eskimos biggest need is offensive line. They also could use a Canadian linebacker who could offer depth to their starting imports. Defensive tackle and receiver are two strengths for the Eskimos' Canadian talent.