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Grading The Saskatchewan Roughriders Draft

With the 2024 CFL Draft now in the books, teams can fully turn their attention to training camps, as the new campaign opens in just over a month.

In what was considered the best crop of talent in 20 years, the Green and White made eight selections in this year’s draft, bringing in new faces to Riderville for next year and beyond.

Round One (3rd Overall), Kyle Hergel, Boston College, OL

Considered to be one of the offensive linemen, if not players in the class was Boston College guard Kyle Hergel. In 54 career starts across his collegiate career, he allowed just five sacks and 32 pressures on 1,774 pass-blocking snaps. The 24-year-old is so good in fact, that he signed a priority undrafted free agent contract with the New Orleans Saints, which includes $20,000 USD in guaranteed money. There is some risk in this pick for Saskatchewan, as the six-foot-two, 302-pound mauler will not be in training camp this year and may never make his way to the land of the living skies.

There is optimism, however, as the guaranteed money Hergel received isn’t considered a lot. For reference, UBC offensive lineman Theo Benedet received $100,000 USD in guaranteed money from the Chicago Bears as apart of his priority UDFA contract. Also, the Toronto, Ontario native’s frame is considered small for NFL standards and will most likely have to play centre.

Among the CFL crop, Hergel is one of the most explosive athletes. Among offensive linemen, the stalwart had the most reps on the bench press (30), the farthest broad jump (nine-foot-five), the second-fastest shuttle time (4.61 seconds), and the third-highest vertical jump (33 inches). If/when Hergel comes north of the border, he is considered to be an all-star worthy talent.

Grade: A

Round Two (12th Overall), Nick Wiebe, Saskatchewan, LB

The second straight player who won’t be participating in Riders training camp, for a different reason, however, is second-round pick Nick Wiebe. The Calgary, Alberta native unfortunately tore his ACL in last year’s Hardy Cup and is projected to return late into the season if not at all. If the six-foot-three, 240-pound backer never got hurt, he would have been a first-round pick unquestionably due to his monstrous production.

Over 22 games as a Huskie, the 24-year-old tallied 124 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, five sacks and three forced fumbles. The accolades were fruitful because of those numbers, as Wiebe was named a Usports Second-Team All-Canadian, the Canada West Defensive Player of the Year, and a Canada West All-Star last year thanks to 66.5 tackles in 2023.

Grade: B

Round Three (23rd Overall), Dhel Duncan-Busby, Bemidji State, WR

The wide receiver depth was something that needed to be addressed in this draft, and Saskatchewan did just that selecting three wideouts. The first of them being Bemidji State pass-catcher Dhel Duncan-Busby. Like Wiebe, the six-foot-one, 207-pound target was one of the most productive players at his position. In four seasons across 47 games, he recorded 171 receptions for 2,839 yards and 27 touchdowns. Those numbers earned Duncan-Busby First-Team All-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference honours, and was named to the D2CCA All-Super Region 4 Second Team.

The production matched the testing numbers for the Madison, Ohio native, as he finished top ten among wide receivers in the 3-cone (7.02 seconds), shuttle (4.40 seconds), and finished second in the forty-yard dash with a blazing time of 4.56 seconds. The 24-year-old has the ability to push for playing time in year one wether it be on offence or on special teams as a kick returner in which he has experience.

Grade: B+

Round Four (32nd Overall), Melique Straker, Arkansas State, LB/DB

One of the best value picks in all of the draft was Melique Straker out of Arkansas State. One of the true strong-side linebacker prospects in this draft, Straker had massive production across his three seasons as a Red Wolf. The Brampton, Ontario native tallied 216 defensive tackles, 18 tackles for loss, two interceptions, two pass deflections, two sacks, and two forced fumbles.

The 23-year-old was a projected first round pick before his pro day, where he put up less than ideal movement numbers which caused him to slide come draft day. The five-foot-nine, 202-pound swiss army knife did however put up the most reps on the bench press among defensive backs (21) and jumped the third farthest broad jump (ten-foot-seven and an eighth inch). Like Duncan-Busby, Straker should push for playing time on special teams or somewhere in the defensive backfield, especially with Jaxon Ford getting wrist surgery and potentially missing the start of the season.

Grade: A

Round Five (41st Overall), Daniel Johnson, Purdue, OL

Another great value add for Riderville was Purdue offensive lineman Daniel Johnson. The London, Ontario native allowed just eight quarterback hurries, one hit and one sack last year making starts at both left and right tackle. The Riders might have to wait however, as just days before the draft it was announced that he would be attending rookie mini-camp with the Indianapolis Colts.

Johnson has a chance to develop into a ratio-breaking offensive tackle, standing at six-foot-six and 313 pounds, he has the size to play on the outside. The concern is that he has struggled to stay on the field. Due to injuries, Johnson has only played around a year and a half’s worth of snaps through six years of college between Kent State and Purdue. If the 23-year-old can stay healthy, this could be a steal for Saskatchewan.

Grade: B+

Round Six (50th Overall), D’Sean Mimbs, Regina, WR

The first and only hometown product to be selected by the Green and White was D’Sean Mimbs. The Regina, Saskatchewan native was productive over his three seasons at the University of Regina, putting up 89 receptions for 1,236 yards and eight touchdowns. The nearly six-foot, 188-pound target led the Rams in both Receptions (30) and receiving yards (480) last season.

The 23-year-old had a stellar combine before pulling up with a hamstring injury which caused him to not compete in the forty-yard dash, 3-cone, or shuttle events. In the drills he did compete in however, he smashed out of the park, finishing second among wideouts in the vertical jump (37 inches), third in the broad jump (ten-foot-seven and three quarter inches), and ninth in the bench press (14 reps). Mimbs primarily played slotback at the UofR and will stick to that position at the next level.

Grade: B

Round Seven (59th Overall), Ajou Ajou, Garden City Community College, WR

The third and final receiver chosen by Saskatchewan was one of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s crop Ajou Ajou. A name so nice you have to say it twice, Ajou has had a whirlwind of collegiate career to say the least. The four star recruit coming out of Clearwater Academy, began his college football career at Clemson where he played 22 games making eight receptions for 114 yards and one touchdown. The Brooks, Alberta native then transferred to South Florida University in 2022, where he played one game before missing the rest of the season due to injury. Ajou then went the JUCO route transferring to Garden City Community College for this past season, where he hauled in 17 receptions for 186 yards and two touchdowns across seven games.

The six-foot-two, 211-pound receiver wasn’t among the best testers at the combine, but finished top ten among wideouts in the 3-cone (7.01 seconds), vertical (34 inches) and broad jumps (ten-foot-five and three quarter inches). Ajou is seen as a bit of a project who once had all the potential in the world.

Grade: B

Round Eight (68th Overall), Richard Aduboffour, Western, DB

One of my sleepers in this draft class is rangy cornerback Richard Aduboffour. The six-foot-three, 212-pound cover man was a staple on the outside for the Western Mustangs. Over three seasons he suited up for 31 games, tallying 51 tackles, 15 pass deflections, three interceptions, and one forced fumble.  The Toronto, Ontario native was named a OUA First-Team All-Star last season, as well as an OUA Second-Team All-Star two years ago.

One of the youngest in the class at 22 years of age, Aduboffour didn’t receive an invite to the National combine from the Invitational combine in which I attended. There are concerns over the change of direction ability but the straight line speed is legit, finishing with the third-fastest forty-yard dash among all the defensive backs in the class (4.63 seconds). The former Mustang spent all of his time at cornerback in college, but could see a move to safety with the Green and White.

Grade: B+

Overall this is one of the most solid and complete drafts the Roughriders have done from top to bottom. They addressed their needs, took best player available at every pick, while finding great value in those selections. Saskatchewan drafted players to help in the future and for the now, and took players with a ton of upside.

Overall draft grade: A

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author avatar
Coty Wiles
1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. EW

    May 3, 2024 at 2:26 pm

    Even in a loaded draft like this one, there are few (other than players the NFL are interested in) who could come in & start right away. Drafting a “future” @ #3 is a huge riskr. Wiebe suffered a torn ACL on November 4/23 & is likely out for the year. Rushing him back early this year & you risk what happened with Richardson in BC who came back 10 months after a similar injury, got injured again & sat out 2 years. He just retired. Picked too high IMO.

    It was generally agreed that the Riders had to address some immediate needs – DL, LB, OL & CDN depth. O’Day himself admitted there is no one they drafted likely to start.

    I agree that the Riders had a pretty good draft for future purposes. But they should have reserved their 1st 2 rounds for immediate help IMO. Still, good comments. Is it going to make them better this year? That’s the big question.

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