Draft Grade = A-
Coming into the CFL Draft and Global Draft on Tuesday, the Tiger-Cats had built a roster that is a significant upgrade from the 2022 roster. The Tiger-Cats have quality talent on their offensive and defensive depth charts at nearly every position. The weaknesses that Hamilton remains are a product of a need for more depth on their offensive line and defensive backfield.
During the CFL Draft and Global Draft, Hamilton addressed those by selecting players that would fit their current position groups that need more depth. Many of those will need time to develop, which is a good fit for the Tiger-Cats because they have quality players at those positions with experience and can serve as mentors for the rookie players. The Hamilton draft strategy succeeded, with the Tiger-Cats addressing high-need areas on the offensive line and defensive backfield.
So let’s look at those draft picks to see how they will benefit the Tiger-Cat’s 2023 roster.
Round 1 4th Pick
Linebacker Penei Pavihi was the Tiger-Cat’s first-round draft pick in the Global draft. Pavihi is a 6’3″, 245-pound native of Tafuna, American Samoa. He played college football at the University of Hawai’i, where he played in 60 games during his five-year career. While playing for Hawai’i, he accumulated 233 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, six pass breakups, one forced fumble, recovered three fumbles, and had two interceptions.
Round 2 13th Pick
In the second round, the Tiger-Cats took a shot at an elite talent by drafting punter Lou Hedley. Hedley is a 6’4″, 220-pound native of Mandurah, Australia. He played college football at the University of Miami, where he played in 47 games over four seasons. During that time, he had 206 punts for 9,315 yards giving him an average of 45.2 yards per punt, and he placed 77 punts inside the 20-yard line. The New Orleans Saints have signed Hedley as an undrafted free agent.
Round 1 6th Pick
One of the areas that the Tiger-Cats needed to add more depth was the offensive line, and they addressed that by selecting Saskatchewan Huskies offensive lineman Dayton Black. The 6’6″, 298-pound native of Brandon, Manitoba, had a successful career for the Saskatchewan Huskies. During his career, he played multiple roles, and in 2022 helped the Husky’s offense average 30.08 points per game, 141,1 rushing yards per game, and 321.25 yards per game.
Round 4 29th Pick
Another area of need for the Tiger-Cats was their defensive backfield, and in the 4th round, they made a pick to strengthen that unit by selecting Patrick Burke Jr. from Wilfrid Laurier. Burke Jr. is a 6’2″, 185-pound native of Etobicoke, Ontario. During his senior year, he produced 39 tackles, two tackles for loss, two interceptions with one for a touchdown, five pass breakups, and .5 sacks.
Round 4 31st
The Tiger-Cat’s defensive line is rich with depth, but Hamilton selected defensive lineman Reece Martin from Mount Allison to continue to improve that unit. Martin is a 6’4″, 289-pound native of Moncton, New Brunswick. During his senior year, he had 20.5 tackles, five quarterback sacks, one forced fumble, and one recovered fumble returned for a touchdown. In addition, Martin could be a skilled pass rusher, an area the Tiger-Cats need to improve.
Round 5 Pick 40
The Tiger-Cat’s following draft selection was London, Ontario, native Robert Panabaker. Panabaker is a 6’0″, 190-pound defensive back who played at Western University. During his senior year, he accumulated 38 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and six interceptions, including an interception returned for a touchdown, one sack, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.
Round 8 Pick 64
The Tiger-Cats continued to add depth to their defensive line when they selected defensive lineman Josh Hyer. Hyer is a 6’4″, 250-pound native of Vernon, British Columbia. He played college football at the University of Calgary, producing 21.5 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, and two sacks during his senior season.
Round 8 Pick 67
Hamilton’s last pick in the CFL draft was wide receiver, Caleb Morin. Morin is a 6’3″, 190-pound native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He played college football for the Saskatchewan Huskies, and during his senior season, he produced 48 catches for 736 yards and a touchdown. In 2022, he averaged 4.0 catches per game and 15.3 yards per catch.
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