BC Lions Selections
Heading into Monday’s draft, the BC Lions were looking to fill some large voids on their roster, most notably along the offensive line.
And if filling large gaps was the plan, Mission Accomplished.
Hunter Steward is a big individual, standing 6’7” and over 290lbs, with room to grow. Gauged as one of the most athletic lineman in the draft, he is only starting to play O-Line after transferring to Liberty from Virginia, where he was playing along the D-Line.
Was he worth a first round pick? Murmurs abound and I’m not sure at this point. After being burned last year by Kirby Fabien, the U of Calgary first rounder who never reported to camp, I was sure BC was going with a safer bet, notably Brett Jones, who could develop into a center to eventually replace Angus Reid.
Do I like the pick? Of course. He has the potential to be a Canadian left tackle, a spot generally reserved for American athletes much like what BC has now.
This is a smart choice because of his past as a defender but with the desire and willingness to learn a whole new craft.
His ceiling is very high: Steward has only played 11 games at tackle and became a first round selection at a professional level. If he’s this good after so few games, the sky’s the limit for this young man.
If the Lion’s personnel management were more adamant to replace the tackle positions in the upcoming years, then Steward was the optimal choice, even if he is a little raw at the position. Steward will most likely return to Liberty in the fall to gather some experience and playing time, leaving Ben Archibald and Jovan Olafioye to man the tackle spots.
Injuries plagued this group early and often; from the start of training camp right up until the Western Conference Final there was a revolving door of the front five. It was a no brainer that BC was going OL early in the selection process.
I’m sure that they had Corey Watman from Eastern Michigan pegged in that slot, but since he went right before, GM Wally Buono went with Steward. Watman, like Jones, is projected to be a Center at the CFL level.
In addition to playing in the trenches on a consistent basis, being a rangy and mobile lineman allows Steward an opportunity to see some action on the special teams unit. The Lions punt return, punt coverage and field goal coverage units were futile, at best, in 2012.
I largely suspect that Steward, like most of their picks, were safety picks, selected more for protecting the current Lion assets for when Ottawa holds their expansion draft prior to the 2014 season.
But if you’re anything like me, you’ll hope that Steward finds his way onto the team as he looks to have a wide variety of skills that could help the Leo’s from just about any position.
Welcome to the Lion’s Den.
Cheers, The Bartender