Around this time last month, it was almost as if the Ottawa REDBLACKS were making a signing every hour. On February 8th, when CFL Free Agency officially opened, the REDBLACKS signed a total of 17 free agents. They pretty well rebuilt their entire roster within a week, while still somehow keeping a very similar identity that they’ve had over the years.
Some of the biggest moves would include the signings of franchise quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, receivers Darvin Adams, Jaelon Acklin and Shaq Johnson, offensive linemen Ucambre Williams, Darius Ciraco and Hunter Steward and defensive stars Kwaku Boateng, Money Hunter and Patrick Levels. These signings, and the others made added proven star power in the nation’s capital and have immediately put the REDBLACKS in playoff contention, however they have been very quiet since free agency. Other than a few free agent signings here and there, there hasn’t been much movement from the capital and from Shawn Burke’s office.
That will soon change with the CFL Draft approaching in the coming months. The Draft will be on May 3rd, and as of right now the REDBLACKS are picking 9 times, including 4 picks in the top 25. They don’t seem to have any major needs heading into the draft, however it wouldn’t hurt for the REDBLACKS to get some Canadian star power in some key spots on the roster. On the offensive side of the ball, they have Nate Behar, Shaquille Johnson, Llevi Noel, Jackson Bennett and Brendan Gillanders as skill position Canadians. It seems pretty full on the depth chart, but with Tyson and Jalen Philpot available at receiver in this year’s draft it may be hard for the REDBLACKS not to draft one of them at 2nd overall. On the defensive side of the ball, there is also a lot of potential stars. Deionte Knight is a name that really sticks out for many after the run he had with Western last season, and may be a name you see on the REDBLACKS roster very soon, and you may also see offensive lineman Noah Zerr targeted by Ottawa with some questions around the offensive line still.
As for local talent in this year’s CFL Draft, there isn’t a whole lot, but two names that would be great to add to the REDBLACKS for the 2022 CFL season would be Katley Joseph and Jonathan Edouard. Joseph was born and raised in Ottawa, played his collegiate career at Maine University and has a great story of his own, and Jonathan Edouard, originally from Orlando, Florida played the last few years at Carleton University. Both players have built a strong connection with the city, as well as some players on the REDBLACKS, making both defensive backs great prospects for Ottawa.
This week the CFL will kick-off the draft season with regional combines, and then will have the National Combine at the end of the month in Toronto. That will be the next big event for the REDBLACKS this off-season and will determine some things on the roster.