The Saskatchewan Roughriders are pleased to announce they have selected University of Oklahoma offensive lineman Josiah St. John with the first overall pick in the 2016 CFL Draft.
St. John (6'5 – 309 lbs.) has been selected by the Green and White after spending the last three seasons with the Sooners. In 2015 the Toronto, ON native played in seven NCAA conference games, starting four games at right tackle. St. John played in eight conference games in 2014 after redshirting the 2013 season.
Prior to Oklahoma, St. John spent the 2012 season in Junior College with the Trinity Valley Cardinals.
SUBSEQUENT RIDER PICKS
Round 3 DB Elie Bouka Calgary
Round 3 K/P Quinn Van Gylswyk UBC
Round 4 DL David Onyemata Manitoba
Round 5 LB Alex Ogbongbemiga Calgary
Round 6 OL Alex McKay Manitoba
Round 8 WR Joshua Stanford Kansas
With the 24th overall selection the Riders took defensive back Elie Bouka from the University of Calgary. In eight conference games last season, the 23 year old picked up 14.5 defensive tackles and one interception for the Dinos.
With the 26th overall selection the Green and White picked kicker Quinn Van Gylswyk from the University of British Columbia. Last season the Victoria, BC native made 24 of 28 field goal attempts and added 56 punts for 2,442 yards on his way to being named a First Team CIS All-Canadian and Canada West All-Star. The 25-year-old was part of the Thunderbirds team that won the 2015 Vanier Cup.
With the 45th overall selection the Riders then picked up defensive lineman David Onyemata from the University of Manitoba. Last season, the 23-year-old picked up his second straight Canada West All-Star nod and first selection as a CIS All-Canadian. He was also invited to participate in the 2016 East-West Shrine game.
With their fifth round pick, 36th overall, the Riders selected linebacker Alex Ogbongbemiga from the University of Calgary. Last season the Calgary native picked up 20 defensive tackles and one sack for the Dinos.
With their pick in the sixth round, 52nd overall the Riders selected offensive lineman Alex McKay out of the University of Manitoba. The Winnipeg native started and played in all eight conference regular season games and one playoff game in 2015. The 25-year-old tackle has played four years at Manitoba and was a 2013 Canada West All-Star.
With their final selection, 62nd overall, the Riders selected Joshua Stanford from Kansas University. The 21-year-old Mississauga, Ontario native spent three seasons at Virginia Tech before transferring to the Jayhawks. In 22 career NCAA collegiate games, Stanford picked 51 receptions for 751 yards and one touchdown.
RIDER COACH & GM CHRIS JONES QUOTES
ON TAKING ST. JOHN #1 OVERALL
JONES: "He's a very versatile athlete. He's the biggest, best athlete, he was our highest-ranked guy on our board. You build your football team with lineman and you always have to make sure you go after those in drafts. I don't care what draft it is or what league you're in, you have to have great offensive linemen."
ON HOLDING ONTO THE #1 OVERALL PICK
JONES: "We had a lot of calls. A lot of people were just fishing around to see if we were willing to basically give our pick away. At the end of the day we didn't get what we felt like we needed so we stuck with, again, the best player in the draft."
ASSISTANT V.P. OF FOOTBALL OPERATIONS JOHN MURPHY QUOTES
ON THE GAMBLE OF PICKING DT DAVID ONYEMATA
MURPHY: "At that point in the draft, not a gamble at all. Two other teams texted afterwards and that's what they were trying to do in that neighbourhood, was to go get him. You see with (Alouettes and former Chargers DL) Vaughn Martin, it's several years later, but Montreal used a mid- or late-round pick to get him years ago but here he is several years later and he's still here. He'll play in the CFL this year. It doesn't hurt that Onyemata's playing with the New Orleans Saints so I'll get to see him all the time when I'm at home. I think that was a good opportunity for us at that stage of the draft. Had there been a guy who could have competed on special teams for us, we probably would have gone for that guy but we were able to get him when we did."
HAPPY WITH THE DRAFT?
MURPHY: Yes, especially for not being able to move around with the selections that we had. We didn't have second or third round picks but we were still able to come out of it with guys we had high opinions of. Looking at the guys who might be able to join us one day, I thought we did a good job. Especially going into the waning hours before the draft, when it came down to it, there was no reason to pass on a guy like St. John. I thought a couple of guys fell to us where it was very advantageous for us to take them. The kicker/punter was the best special teams guy available in the draft so the two Calgary guys will help us when they can join us. And a late-round guy like McKay will be able to come in and compete. You've seen what Picton and Vonk have been able to do the past few years and we expect McKay to come in and challenge in that way as well."