Wednesday, May 11, 2016
ST. JOHN HAPPY TO BE A ROUGHRIDER
The Saskatchewan Roughriders new head coach/GM opened the CFL draft selecting Oklahoma offensive tackle Josiah St. John first overall. Landing the six-foot-six, 309-pound St. John is great news for Durant, who has suffered season-ending elbow and Achilles injuries the last two years.
Jones expects St. John to compete for a starting job immediately, something the Ajax. Ont., native is good with.
"I'm ready to be part of a team again ... and start working,'' St. John said during a conference call. "There's obviously pressure being No. 1 but I'm not going to worry about it too much.
"I'm going to go in there with a hungry mentality and a chip on my shoulder to perform to the best of my abilities and make sure I contribute to that team.''
A total of 70 players were selected over eight rounds.
St. John played two seasons with Oklahoma, starting four of 15 games he suited up for. He made all four starts in 2015 after dressing for eight of the Sooners' 15 contests the year before.
The communications major was the top available draft prospect, ranked fifth by the CFL scouting bureau. The top four prospects - Manitoba defensive lineman David Onyemata, Iowa receiver Tevaun Smith, Boston College defensive lineman Mehdi Abdesmad and Michigan State cornerback Arjen Colquhoun - are all on NFL rosters.
Jones has the job of rebuilding a Saskatchewan squad that's coming off a CFL-worst 3-15 record. He joined the Riders after guiding the Edmonton Eskimos to the 2015 Grey Cup title as their head coach.
Jones said he entertained offers for the No. 1 pick but felt his best option was taking St. John.
"It was a crazy two days,'' Jones said. "We considered all options.
"We're very excited to have St. John with us.''
The Montreal Alouettes, who've traditionally started five Canadian offensive linemen, took Laval guard Philippe Gagnon second overall. The six-foot-three, 317-pound native of Ancienn-Larette, Que., was a two-time CIS second-team all-star and had the most bench press reps (40) at the CFL combine.
"This was really special,'' Gagnon said. "Going to Montreal is kind of a dream (come true) for any kid playing football in Quebec.
"It's kind of the ultimate goal ... I'm excited for this new beginning.''
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats traded with B.C. for the No. 3 spot and took Grand Valley State offensive lineman Brandon Revenberg. The native of Windsor, Ont., wasn't listed on the CFL scouting bureau's final top-20 prospects list despite starting 39 collegiate games.
"I knew coming from a Division II school I wasn't that well known,'' Revenberg said. "I think the big thing for me was just getting my name out there.
"I got the call from (Ticats) coach Kent Austin and he just told me how he traded up for me and how I was going to be a Tiger-Cat. I was overwhelmed. I couldn't have been happier with the choice.''
The Toronto Argonauts, at No. 4, took Acadia receiver Brian Jones. The six-foot-four, 233-pound native of Enfield, N.S., had 45 catches for 630 yards and four TDs last season but is recovering from a broken bone in his wrist.
B.C. took Laval's Charles Vaillancourt fifth overall. The six-foot-four, 315-pound Vaillancourt was highly regarded for his strong all-around game and at No. 6 was the second-highest ranked offensive lineman.
Calgary selected Montana State linebacker Alex Singleton at No. 6. The six-foot-two, 233-pound Singleton is a California native who had signed previously with Seattle, New England and Minnesota in the NFL but was deemed eligible for the CFL draft after becoming a Canadian citizen.
Singleton is the third player to go in the CFL draft after attending an NFL training camp. The others are offensive lineman Wayne Smith (2004) and former Western defensive lineman Vaughn Martin (2011) who's now with Montreal.
Jason Lauzon-Seguin was the third Laval offensive lineman taken in the first, going No. 7 to the East Division-champion Ottawa Redblacks. The six-foot-four, 294-pound Pointe-Claire, Que., native has the potential to play tackle in the CFL.
Edmonton concluded the round by rolling the dice on Smith (Indianapolis Colts) at No. 8. The six-foot, 205-pound Toronto native registered 68 catches for 1,229 yards and 13 touchdowns the last two seasons at Iowa.
Edmonton continued that trend by taking Colquhoun (Dallas Cowboys) with the last pick of the second, 17th overall.
Winnipeg didn't have a first-round pick, forfeiting what would've been the second overall selection after taking Dartmouth linebacker/defensive back Garrett Waggoner in last year's supplemental draft.
Winnipeg had the first two picks of the second (Nos 9-10) and took Virginia defensive lineman Trent Corney and Simon Fraser offensive lineman Michael Couture, respectively. The six-foot-two, 254-pound Corney, an athletic player from Brockville, Ont., had 51 tackles and four sacks as a collegian while the six-foot-four, 294-pound Couture played all three offensive line positions with the Clan.
"We liked everything about Michael Couture,'' Bombers GM Kyle Walters said. "For Trent Corney, we loved his motor.
"We expect both to help us this year.''
Hamilton took Calgary running back Mercer Timmis of Burlington, Ont., in the second, 14th overall. Timmis's late great grandfather Brian, was a former player and coach in Hamilton who won four Grey Cups and is a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
With its second selection - coming at No. 24 in the third - Saskatchewan selected Calgary defensive back Elie Bouka (currently with Arizona Cardinals). One pick later, Ottawa took Abdesmad (Tennessee Titans).
Then in the fourth, Saskatchewan took Onyemata (fourth-round pick, New Orleans Saints) at No. 35.