Roughrider Draft Recap: Defense dominates early selections before they roll the dice on a pair of NFL draft picks


The Saskatchewan Roughriders focused on the defensive side of the football in the beginning of the 2023 CFL Draft as they used their first three picks on defensive players. Saskatchewan also took a couple of calculated gambles with a pair of players that went in the National Football League (NFL) Draft that took place this past weekend.

Following a busy Tuesday night, Roughriders General Manager and Vice-President of Football Operations Jeremy O’Day spoke about the team’s 2023 CFL Draft Class. O’Day noted most teams are usually happy following a draft but felt the Roughriders football operations staff did a good job working together to make their picks.

“There’s always good discussions in the draft room and when you’re torn between two guys those conservations are fun with a whole group in there, but I thought that as a group really worked together  and made the decisions we felt were right”

With their first round selection, the Roughriders used the third overall pick to grab UBC defensive lineman Lake Korte-Moore.

Saskatchewan’s second round pick was a generational one as they took University of Regina Rams defensive back Jaxon Ford , the grandson of former Riders player and GM Al Ford.

In the third round, after taking care of the trenches and the back-end of the Riders defence, the green and white turned their attention to the middle of the defence when they picked York linebacker Matt Dean.

The first offensive pick for the Roughriders was Delaware State running back Thomas Bertrand-Hudon, who was taken in the fourth round.

O’Day swung for the fences with his fifth pick of the night as they selected Eastern Michigan offensive lineman Sidy Sow in the 6th round. Sow was selected by the New England Patriots in the fourth round in last weekend’s NFL Draft.

The Riders general manager would add another player who was taken in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft as the green and white used the final selection of the night on Ole Miss defensive end Tavius Robinson, who was picked up the Baltimore Ravens.

O’Day said one of the reasons the Roughriders elected to grab the pair of NFL-bound players was because of the contracts they could offer either player if they would ever end up in the CFL.

When the Roughriders picked up Robinson with their final pick, he noted the other choices they had in mind went unclaimed and are still available as undrafted free agents.

“You’re allowed to play those draft picks more than you were in the past. In the past when you draft a NFL draft pick, if they ever came back and that’s a if, you had to give them a pretty standard minimum contract but now depending on the amount of years they play down there you have the ability to give them a different contract, so that helped the decision a little bit. ”

Inside of the seventh round, Saskatchewan had a pair of picks. They used their first one on Queen’s offensive lineman Evan Floren and then ended taking Manitoba linebacker Nick Thomas.

O’Day noted that Floren was a player that the Riders were expecting to be off the board when they took him in the seventh round and really impressed the team from an analytical standpoint.

He added that Thomas is a player that really caught the team’s attention when watching film on the linebacker who possesses plenty of energy and has ability to find the football.

With the selection of Bertrand-Hudon, O’Day said the running back’s versatility was something that caught the eye of the Riders as he has the ability to play running back and full back and can also contribute on special teams and O’Day compared him to one of his former teammates with the Riders, running back Neil Hughes.

The first University of Regina Ram to be selected was defensive end Anthony Bennett who was taken by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Two spots before Bennett was selected, offensive lineman Dayton Black was selected by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats with sixth pick.

Rams linebacker Josh White is a member of the REDBLACKS after Ottawa took White in the third round with the 25th pick.

Winnipeg selected their second member from the University of Regina when they took defensive lineman Tanner Schmekel with the 35th pick in the fourth round.

With the first pick of the 5th round, Ottawa took University of Saskatchewan wide receiver Daniel Perry. Six picks later, his Huskie teammate, defensive back Charlie Ringland was picked by the BC Lions.

Up next now for the Roughriders will be agreeing to terms with their draft class.

Next week the green and white will open up rookie camp in Saskatoon for three days. On Sunday, May 14, the main camp will get underway.

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