The Saskatchewan Roughriders selected U-C-L-A linebacker Cameron Judge with the second overall pick in the C-F-L Draft Sunday. Meanwhile, Winnipeg also went with defence with the first overall pick. The Blue Bombers selected Iowa defensive lineman Faith Ekakitie.
Elsewhere, three members of the U of S Huskies were chosen. Offensive lineman Evan Johnson was taken ninth overall by Ottawa, receiver Julian Lynch went to Calgary in the second round and receiver Mitch Hillis was grabbed in the eighth round by B-C. Following are various news releases with all the info you need about the C-F-L Draft...
Mitchell Picton could enjoy the best of both worlds.
The University of Regina Rams slotback was selected by his hometown Saskatchewan Roughriders in the fifth round (37th overall) of Sunday’s CFL draft.
If the 21-year-old Regina product doesn’t stick with the Roughriders, he can return to the Rams for his fifth and final season of U Sports eligibility — and he can continue to play with his cousin, Rams quarterback Noah Picton.
“Going back there isn’t a bad option, but that’s not what I’ve come here to do,” Mitchell said Sunday while meeting with the media at Mosaic Stadium. “I’m going to do everything I can to come in and make this football team. It’s been my dream since I started playing ball and that’s what I intend to do.”
Picton finished second in U Sports in receptions (58) and receiving yards (834) in 2016 and led the country with 11 touchdown receptions. He was ranked in the CFL Scouting Bureau’s top-20 rankings in December, but wasn’t ranked in the final pre-draft rankings in April.
That didn’t deter the Roughriders from taking the 6-foot-1, 197-pounder.
“He’s a very productive player in man or zone,” Saskatchewan head coach-GM Chris Jones said. “I don’t think he had a great combine; I think that kind of hurt him a little bit. But I think that he’s a better football player when you turn on the film. That’s where you see him excel.”
Picton found out he had been selected by the Roughriders from his brother, Aaron. A former Rams offensive lineman, Aaron was selected by the Calgary Stampeders in the sixth round of the 2015 CFL draft before being traded to Saskatchewan. Aaron played two games with the Roughriders last season.
Now, Mitchell Picton gets his chance to crack the roster of his hometown team.
“You grow up in Regina as a kid playing football, so you cheer for the Riders,” said Picton, who knows he needs to improve his receiving skills and special-teams play if he’s to earn a job. “It’s incredible to be here. I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the Riders organization.”
Picton was one of nine players selected by the Roughriders on Sunday.
Their first pick was UCLA Bruins linebacker Cameron Judge, whom they chose with the second selection overall.
The Roughriders used their second pick (11th overall) on Bethune-Cookman Wildcats offensive lineman Dariusz Bladek.
The 23-year-old product of Kissimmee, Fla., is considered a national because his mother was born in Canada.
Dariusz Bladek, a 6-foot-4, 299-pounder, declared for the 2016 NFL draft rather than playing his senior season at Bethune-Cookman. He wasn’t selected in that draft and didn’t get a contract offer as a free agent. After that, he began the process of getting his Canadian citizenship.
Jones said Judge and Bladek were the Roughriders’ top-ranked players at their respective positions, so Saskatchewan’s staff was ecstatic to get both.
“Everybody hopes the same thing, that the guys you take in the first couple or three rounds are guys who can come and help you right away,” Jones said. “Then in the later rounds, you’re looking for guys who can go back to school and that can maybe develop.”
The Roughriders forfeited their third-round pick to take linebacker Kevin Francis in the 2016 supplemental draft, so their next selection was in the fourth round (30th overall).
With that pick, Saskatchewan took tight end Antony Auclair from the Laval Rouge et Or.
Auclair, 23, was the seventh-ranked prospect in the CFL Scouting Bureau’s final pre-draft rankings, but the 6-foot-6, 254-pounder signed as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the NFL draft.
The Roughriders picked again in the fourth round at 32nd overall — and selected 6-foot-6, 311-pound offensive lineman Eddie Meredith from the Western University Mustangs.
Meredith didn’t play in 2016 for a variety of reasons. The Roughriders brought him in for a workout Saturday and were impressed enough to take the 24-year-old.
“We put him in (the weight room at Mosaic Stadium), filmed it and looked at it over and over and over,” Jones said. “We spoke to him for a long time and he assures us that he does want to play football.
“He’s a pretty highly qualified guy and, based on his film in the past, we had him graded in the top five (among offensive linemen), so we felt very fortunate to get him in the fourth.”
In the sixth round (46th overall), the Roughriders added another offensive lineman in Danny Sprukulis, a 6-foot-4, 325-pounder from the Toronto Varsity Blues.
With their first of two picks in the seventh round (55th overall), the Roughriders selected linebacker Alexandre Chevrier. The 5-foot-11, 217-pounder played with the Sherbrooke Vert et Or.
Two picks later, Saskatchewan selected 6-foot-2, 357-pound defensive tackle Emmanuel Adusei. The 21-year-old played collegiately with the Carleton Ravens.
The Roughriders used their final pick (eighth round, 64th overall) on offensive lineman Marc Glaude, a 6-foot-2, 310-pounder from the Montreal Carabins.
Saskatchewan used four of its picks in the draft on offensive linemen, looking to build national depth on a unit that in the off-season lost Chris Best (retired) and Andrew Jones (released). As well, guard Brendon LaBatte is trying to return from an injury that limited him to three games last season.
In addition to Picton, four other Regina products were selected in the draft.
Saskatchewan Huskies offensive lineman Evan Johnson went ninth overall to the Ottawa Redblacks, Rams offensive lineman Jeremy Zver was selected in the second round (16th overall) by the B.C. Lions, Saskatchewan receiver Julan Lynch was taken in the second round (17th overall) by the Stampeders, and former Rams receiver Richard Sindani was selected in the eighth round (70th overall) by Calgary.
For Immediate Release May 7, 2017
Johnson, Lynch, Hillis drafted to the CFL
SASKATOON - Three University of Saskatchewan Huskies’ CFL dreams are one step closer to coming true.
Offensive lineman Evan Johnson and receivers Julan Lynch and Mitch Hillis were selected Sunday night in the 2017 CFL Canadian Draft. Johnson was selected in the first round, ninth overall by the reigning Grey Cup champion Ottawa REDBLACKS, while the Calgary Stampeders snatched Lynch in the second round, 17th overall. Hillis was taken in Round 8, 69th overall to the B.C. Lions.
Johnson becomes the sixth Huskie to be taken in the first round of the modern era draft and just the second in the modern era to be selected by a CFL franchise in Ottawa. Lynch is the eighth Huskie selected to the Stampeders and Hillis is the fifth taken by the Lions.
Since 1985 when the CFL draft took its current format, 57 University of Saskatchewan football players have been selected.
A fourth-year Engineering student from Regina, Johnson, played in all eight games for the Huskies on the offensive line in 2016 and helped the offence to average 32.6 points per game and 434 yards per game. He was named a Canada West All-Star and U SPORTS Second Team All-Canadian in 2016. He has suited up in 32 career games for the green and white.
“I’m very excited to have an opportunity to play at the next level,” said Johnson, following the selection. “I’m looking forward to playing in Ottawa, a city with great culture and success with the program.”
Lynch, a 6-3, 225 pound Regina native, has suited up in 28 career games for the Huskies and has been a main target the last two seasons. In 2015, Lynch tallied 606 yards on 44 receptions and in 2016 added 455 yards on 33 receptions.
“I’m happy to be a part of the Calgary Stampeders organization,” said Lynch. “The Stamps have a lot of history and tradition and I want to add to that. I look forward to showing them what I can do in camp.”
Hillis played in only six games in 2016 due to injury and tallied 423 yards on 35 catches. A two-time Canada West all-star and 2015 All-Canadian, the 6-0 Kinesiology student broke Huskie-program single season records in receptions and yards in 2015.
The Huskies open the 2017 Canada West football season on the road against the Manitoba Bisons on September 1. Saskatchewan returns home on September 8 against the Alberta Golden Bears. Football season tickets are on sale now!