Football: Draft day is special, despite the odds

The upshot of tomorrow's CFL Canadian college draft is that the players selected face long odds of having a lengthy pro career. However, player agent Darren Gill told The Canadian Press there is a corollary between the teams who put time and thought into the draft and the ones who can't or won't:
"Gill also notes that the Grey Cup-champion Calgary Stampeders have amassed the highest percentage of starters from the draft during the six-year span (from 2002-07) at 18.2 per cent. At the other end of the spectrum, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats — who select first overall Saturday after posting a league-worst 3-15 record — have seen almost 45 per cent of their draft picks never play a down in the CFL, compared to just 20.5 per cent for the Stamps."
It's central to understanding the three-down Canadian game that scouting is relatively unsophisticated compared to the major pro sports leagues and the NHL can afford. The league survives on low overhead (lean and mean), so they scrimp on scouting. Gill notes, "Limited financial resources simply means that teams cannot dedicate the necessary funds for dedicated personnel to scout the upcoming draft talent ... With that being said, I believe that teams do see the positive effect of a good draft and many are starting to put more effort into their scouting efforts."

However, it is reassuring to read the teams which do right by Canadian talent are rewarded on the field. Paraphrasing what Barry Alvarez said when he took over the woebegone Wisconsin Badgers two decades ago, the heart and soul of the CFL comes from Canada; the arms, hands and legs come from somewhere else. (The draft is pretty heavy in linemen.) It seems important to keep that in mind ahead of Saturday's selections.

The B.C. Lions have a deal in principle to move up to the No. 3 overall pick and take the hometown kid, record-setting Bishop's Gaiters running back Jamall Lee.

CFL agent Darren Gill offers his clients some sage advice (The Canadian Press)
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