Sit­ting pretty

Bombers’ GM Wal­ters sit­ting in good po­si­tion head­ing into CFL draft

Cape Breton Post - - Sports | Sports Scoreboard - BY DAN RALPH

Kyle Wal­ters isn’t fret­ting be­cause of the NFL draft.

On Satur­day, Mon­treal na­tive Justin Se­nior, an of­fen­sive line­man from Mis­sis­sippi State Univer­sity, went in the sixth round, 210th over­all, to the Seat­tle Sea­hawks. Af­ter­wards,

Laval tight end Tony Au­clair of Notre-Damedes-Pins, Que., (Tampa Bay), Man­i­toba of­fen­sive line­man Ge­off Gray of Win­nipeg (Green Bay) and UCLA de­fen­sive line­man Eli Ankou of Ot­tawa (Hous­ton) signed as free agents.

All four were highly re­garded prospects for the CFL draft Sun­day night.

Se­nior fin­ished atop the CFL scout­ing bureau’s fi­nal top20 prospects list last month ahead of Ankou and Gray. Au­clair, who’d been ranked as high as No. 2, was sev­enth.

Now, CFL teams must de­cide if they’ll wait for Se­nior, Au­clair, Gray and Ankou not knowing when — or if — they might come to Canada. And GMs will­ing to take a flyer on them must fig­ure out which round to pull the trig­ger.

Wal­ters, the Win­nipeg Blue Bombers’ GM, owns four of the draft’s first 23 picks, in­clud­ing the first and sixth over­all. Wal­ters said Mon­day he still has a clear idea of who he’ll take No. 1 if he holds on to the pick.

“It (CFL draft prepa­ra­tion) doesn’t change a whole lot,’’ Wal­ters said. “You still have to do your prep work based on the information you have . . . it (NFL draft) kind of played out.

“You’re just back to the same old, ‘Well, if we draft one of these guys when are we go­ing to see him?’ It’s an or­ga­ni­za­tional phi­los­o­phy, ev­ery­one is dif­fer­ent.’’

Wal­ters said Se­nior, Au­clair, Grey and Ankou all fig­ured in his think­ing for the first-over­all pick. But so too have other play­ers.

“When you go through the draft process you go over ev­ery pos­si­ble sce­nario,’’ Wal­ters said. “The sce­nario was, ‘If we draft insert one of those names here, yes they’re a good foot­ball player but how does he fit in? Are we pre­pared not to see him for one year, two years, three years or four years.’

“You have a dis­cus­sion about each and ev­ery one.’’

Wal­ters said he’s very con­tent to se­lect play­ers at No. 1 and No. 6 but is will­ing to lis­ten to trade of­fers.

“You never say never,’’ he said.. “It would have to be a real good of­fer.

“We like where we’re at, we know we’re go­ing to get two real good foot­ball play­ers in the first round. As of now I haven’t heard any­thing but those trades gen­er­ally don’t hap­pen un­til the day of the draft.’’

Saskatchewan has the sec­ond over­all pick, fol­lowed by B.C., Hamil­ton, Ed­mon­ton and Win­nipeg be­fore the Lions se­lect again at No. 7. Cal­gary and Grey Cup-cham­pion Ot­tawa com­plete the first round.

Toronto makes its first se­lec­tion to start the sec­ond round at No. 10 over­all while Mon­treal’s ini­tial pick comes two spots later. A to­tal of 71 play­ers will be drafted over eight rounds.

Wal­ter said the ‘17 draft class will of­fer teams with some in­trigu­ing choices.

“I have a feel­ing this year when a team calls a name, cer­tain clubs will look at their board and go, ‘Wow, I didn’t see that com­ing,’’’ he said. “Not that it’s right or wrong . . . they (prospects) are so even and there’s no real sep­a­ra­tion.”


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