Five takeaways from the 2016 CFL draft's first round

Five takeaways from the 2016 CFL draft's first round

Tuesday night's CFL draft saw plenty of remarkable moves in the first round, with trades, surprise picks and more. Here are five of the most interesting moments from Round 1:

1. Josiah St. John goes first overall: St. John, an offensive tackle from the Oklahoma Sooners, was one of our players to watch heading into this draft, as he was the top-ranked prospect from the CFL's April rankings (fifth overall) who wasn't already signed to a NFL deal. He was seen as the likely first pick for quite a while, but there was plenty of uncertainty there thanks to Saskatchewan trying to trade the pick, and there were also late rumblings that one of the three Laval offensive line prospects might be taken ahead of him. In the end, though, the Riders hung onto the pick and took St. John. He only started four games for the Sooners this past year, but that is an impressive program (they went 11-2 last year, including a College Football Playoff semifinal loss to Clemson), and he does have tackle size and some solid film. We'll see how he fits in with Saskatchewan.

2. The Ticats trade up for Brandon Revenberg: Hamilton pulled off perhaps the biggest surprise of Round 1, first by trading with B.C. to move up from fifth to third overall (swapping the 23rd pick for the 30th pick in exchange) and then by taking an offensive lineman who wasn't even on the top 20 prospects list in April. Of course, those lists are made by combining teams' lists, so they need to be taken with a grain of salt and sometimes miss either guys a few teams are high on and others aren't, or guys that teams are trying to hide their interest in. Revenberg, a product of NCAA Division II Grand Valley State, wasn't considered to be one of the top linemen in this draft by many, but the Ticats obviously saw something they liked in him. At 6'4'' and 285 pounds, he's probably a guard in the CFL, but he did play tackle in Division II and does have a lot of starting experience. It's the trade up to get him that particularly stands out here, though; that suggests that not only did the Ticats love this guy, but that they figured B.C. or Toronto would take him without moving up.

3. The Eskimos make Tevaun Smith a first-rounder: Smith, a speedy wide receiver out of Iowa, was another one of our players to watch, and one of the best talents overall (he was second in those April rankings, and first in the December and September ones), but it seemed highly unlikely he would go in the first round after signing an undrafted free agent contract with the NFL's Indianapolis Colts. Edmonton clearly believes in his potential, though, and they must also think that it will be worth waiting for him. We'll see how long he sticks in the NFL, which may well determine if this pick is a steal or a huge reach.

4. Brian Jones goes fourth overall: Acadia receiver Jones was also on our players to watch list, but it also seemed unlikely he would go quite this high. He wasn't ranked in September and was 18th in December, and even though he rose to 10th after a great combine showing, injury concerns still made his eventual draft standing highly uncertain. The Toronto Argonauts obviously were impressed with him, though; we'll see if that faith is justified.

5. Alex Singleton goes to the Stampeders: Calgary took the only defensive player chosen in the first round, selecting Singleton sixth overall. He played at Division I FCS Montana State and was actually born in the U.S. (in Thousand Oaks, California), but was declared to have national status ahead of the April rankings and checked in at seventh there. The pick of Singleton's a notable one for a few reasons, as he's actually already spent a year bouncing around the NFL (from Seattle to New England to Minnesota), and might still have a few chances there. That shows off the talent he does have, though, and if he does come to Calgary this year, he might be a contributor for them quite quickly.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting