Former Alouettes’ receiver Éric Deslauriers who is now Director of Football Operations since December of 2019 and his team are set for the upcoming CFL draft set to take place the evening of May 4. For Deslauriers, who stepped away from the field and into football operations in 2016, this will be a second virtual draft due to the pandemic and one that has presented more blips than last year’s edition. “It’s quite the semantics trying to put this together,” Éric Deslauriers said. “We’re year removed so we have a year of experience in this (situation). This year will be quite the same.”
The big difference this time around is that there was no USports football season and some football played south of the border. That left the CFL virtual combines and online prospect interviews for the teams to size up potential draft candidates. “We’ll definitely take a look at those virtual combines,” Deslauriers said. “At the end of the day our main task is to evaluate the film and evaluate what we have on the players. We may rely a little bit more on what the coaches have to say on the guys and make our best decision on the information available.”
Prior to the May 5 draft, the CFL will hold the global draft where players based elsewhere in leagues around the world can be selected. That happens on April 15 and Montreal has a few selections in that event. “The talent level at this year’s (global) draft compared to 2020 is much stronger,” said the two-time Grey Cup winner. “We also have a better understanding how we can better use these globals. How we can get them on the field, how we can get more reps out of them. The talent class is very high for sure.”
When it comes to the main event, Montreal will lead off the second round of selections with the tenth pick overall. The key in being prepared is having different scenarios prepared for each selection.
“In the draft process it’s really hard to predict how teams will look at the draft, it’s a little different for everybody,” he said. “You do have to have multiple scenarios ready. If the player you were planning to pick is taken, or if a player rated higher is still available how you are going to deal with that comes into play.”
Heading into the draft is like heading into a big game and Deslauriers’ role in management has been a challenge he has enjoyed. “I love everything about it,” he said. “Still going to football games and being part of the team, evaluating players. I’m grateful that I have been able to remain part of the game that has been an important part of my life.”