The first real sign of a new CFL season came last month in Mid May. With the nine teams of the CFL checking their lists, consulting their scouts and making their selections the annual draft of Canadian university and college football players.
In CFL War Rooms across the Country General Managers took counsel of their scouting staff observations, results of previous testing and impressions from final interviews.
All of it going into the mix to select just some of the pieces to the greater puzzle that is a CFL roster.
This year, the CFL introduced its newest member, the Ottawa RedBlacks, bringing the nation's capital back into the CFL family after far too many years absence.
Unlike the last go around with Ottawa, which saw the Renegades left with scraps, this time around the newest franchise was provided with the first opportunity to capture some key Canadian personnel, or use that first round pick to its benefit by way of a trade.
Marcel Desjardins went the latter route, sending their debut pick to the Calgary Stampeders, an opportunity which provided the Stamps with a major pick up in Pierre Lavertu, the anchor of the Laval Rouge et Or Offensive line in recent years. Lavertu is a player who will provide the Stampeders with solid protection for their offensive backfield in the years to come.
Calgary's John Hufnagel having secured two of the nine first round picks, appears to have found the football scene in Quebec much to his liking. Hufnagel selected Quinn Smith in the first round and Max Caron in the second, both from the Concordia Stingers.
As we'll explain towards the end of our Draft outline, the Quebec football scene is proving to be a destination for many CFL scouts, as the hot spot in Canadian university football continues to deliver a rather strong resume of potential CFL players.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers went west with the second over all pick in the first round, selecting Matthias Goossen from Simon Fraser University. He is another promising Offensive Lineman, something that the Bombers clearly required in recent years as their offensive line found itself under frequent pressure.
The Argos moved up to the number three spot on Draft Day, picking Anthony Coombs by way of a draft pick acquired from the Edmonton Eskimos. Coombs a running back from the University of Manitoba will be looking to make a name for himself in Double Blue.
The new entry to the CFL scene, the Ottawa RedBlacks finally picked up the first of their Canadian talent with pick number four, acquired by way of the Alouettes. With that selection the first Canadian draft pick to don an Ottawa sweater will be Antoine Pruneau, with the graduate of the University of Montreal Carabin program offering up much in the way of promise in the defensive backfield.
The Alouettes held the fifth spot in the first round, through a road map of a process that went through both Ottawa and British Columbia. Once the phone bills were settled, the Als stayed close to home and picked up Offensive lineman David Foucault from the University of Montreal.
The Edmonton Eskimos began their rebuilding plans by grabbing Wide Receiver Devon Bailey, of St. Francis Xavier, marking the first Atlantic University to crack the draft for 2014.
The Tiger Cats secured the final two positions of the first round, with picks 8 and 9. Beau Landry of Western was selected by Hamilton, and Evan Gil from the University of Manitoba both head for Tiger town, both of those picks acquired from Saskatchewan.
By the time the final draft selection was made, 65 names would be added to the list of the CFL's nine teams, the draft class of 2014 providing a fairly good review of the success of the Canadian University system in laying the ground work for one of the key contributors to success for CFL teams.
From the 65 selected, the largest group came from the football fields of Quebec, with the University programs in the Quebec conference accounting for 21 of all selections. Indicative of the competitive nature of that division and the success of such programs as Laval, Montreal and Concordia.
Both Laval and Montreal provided the most draft picks on the day, with six members from each team making their way onto the CFL listings.
The Ontario schools were next when it came to stocking the CFL lists this year, with 19 students selected in the 2014 draft.
The Canada West Conference provided 16 potential CFLers to the draft day proceedings, while the Atlantic Conference found 8 students selected on draft day.
One Canadian playing in the US rounded out the list of 65 for 2014.
You can review the full list of the selected along with some prospect profiles from the CFL.ca website
Each individual CFL team offered up their take on their picks from Draft Day, you can review that information below:
British Columbia Lions
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Hamilton Tiger Cats