A good read by Drew
We are overloaded on DT's, We could trade on draft day for some picks or needed strength at other positions
Ticats have glut of defensive tackles (and what they might do about it.)
[b]The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have a beef imbalance on their roster.
While the team has a nice stockpile of Canadian defensive tackles, the club could definitely use a couple more quality Canucks on the other side of the football. The number offensive lineman, once a bastion of homegrown talent in the CFL, has gotten a little thin in Hamilton and around the league.
The question now facing general manager Kent Austin and his staff: how to shift a little of the talent from position A — the guys guarding the A-gap — to elsewhere on the field.
First, let’s look at those defensive tackles. The Ticats have the following players under contract for next season: Ted Laurent (the East Division’s reigning most outstanding Canadian), Brian Bulcke (who brings solid play and veteran leadership), Linden Gaydosh (a former first overall draft pick), Mike Atkinson (showed some promise in limited reps last year) and Hasan Hazime (who was a solid rotation player in 2013 before missing most of last season with a knee injury.) That’s five.
Add to the mix last year’ draft picks, Evan Gill (ninth overall out of Manitoba) and the University of Montreal’s Mathieu Girard — who ended McMaster’s Vanier Cup hopes with a blocked kick — who was taken with 52nd selection.
That makes seven players for what amounts to one starting spot. The Ticats could start two but used American Bryan Hall at the other defensive tackle slot last season and are expected to do so again this year. Hall, like Laurent, is a dominant player who is rock solid against both the run and the pass and should be even better in his sophomore CFL season.
Given their age and ability level, it makes sense to keep both Laurent and Bulcke to form a solid three-man rotation with Hall. So does keeping a couple of the kids as insurance. That still leaves a few plum trade chips for teams in desperate need of Canadian starters or depth along the d-line.
Gaydosh would seem a prime candidate. He’s young and has shown plenty of upside, despite an NFL sojourn and some injury troubles. He needs a place to start and is unlikely to get it in Hamilton, barring injury. But there are two issues: he’s in the last year of his contract and hasn’t ruled out taking another shot down south. Teams may be reluctant to give up talent for what may be a one-year rental.
What would the Ticats be looking for? Well, Canadian offensive lineman have suddenly become the hottest commodity in the CFL. With high-profile free agents Brett Jones and Ben Heenan both signing free agent deals in the NFL this off-season, the talent pool got even smaller. The draft features a number of quality prospects but at least a couple are expected to get NFL looks, and the pickings may be slim by the time the Ticats select at No. 8. In this market, Gaydosh on his own isn’t likely to net Hamilton a bona fide starting Canadian offensive lineman.
The Ticats have other needs, as well. A veteran American defensive back or receiver could certainly help. Again, that’s a common wish list across the league. And Hamilton appears willing to address their needs via the neg list as the recent signing of former NFL pass catcher Tiquan Underwood shows. The team reportedly also has a bevy of defensive backs on their list of protected American players.
One other possible solution is moving one of those defensive lineman to the other side of the football and there’s talk that Girard, listed at 6-foot-4, 290 pounds, is a prime candidate for just a conversion. But such moves aren’t always successful and take time, even when they are. Still, given the sheer numbers, it makes sense for both the team and Girard (who stands to make more money in the long run, should he pan out.)
Another complicating factor: In addition to Gaydosh, Laurent, Bulcke, Atkinson and Hazime are all set to become free agents at the end of this season. While the team will likely try to re-sign some of them, they also face the unenviable prospect of losing a few — or even all — of their talented interior players in one fell swoop.
Still, it’s important to remember that having too much talent, even at one position, is a nice problem for the Ticats to have. But moving some of it to help in other areas would be an even better solution.[/b]