The Calgary Stampeders selected Laval centre Pierre Lavertu with the first pick overall in the CFL draft Tuesday night.
Calgary acquired the No. 1 pick 30 minutes before the start of the draft, sending offensive lineman Jon Gott, a five-year CFL veteran, to the expansion Ottawa RedBlacks. Gott has played for Ottawa offensive co-ordinator Mike Gibson with the Stampeders.
The Stampeders, who also had the No. 7 selection, acquired the rights to veteran centre Marwan Hage, who played 10 seasons with Hamilton before being taken by Ottawa in the CFL expansion draft in December. Hage announced his retirement last month.
Ottawa will also receive a conditional pick if Calgary trades Hage’s rights to another CFL team.
The selection of the six-foot-three, 300-pound Lavertu was surprising given Brett Jones was the CFL’s top rookie last year as a first-year centre with Calgary.
But the general sentiment is although Lavertu, of Quebec City, might not possess the most potential, he’s among the most pre-ready prospects in the draft.
The scouting report on Lavertu is he’s got a good frame and is strong enough to excel at the interior position while also being capable of making all the protection calls at the line of scrimmage.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers, as expected, selected Simon Fraser centre Matthias Goossen with the second overall selection. Like Lavertu, Goossen is regarded as a pro-ready prospect and addresses a need in the Manitoba capital with veteran Justin Sorensen signing this off-season with Edmonton as a free agent.
The Toronto Argonauts, acquiring the No. 3 spot from the Edmonton Eskimos, then took versatile Manitoba running back Anthony Coombs, who can be used as an effective runner and receiver. He can also play special teams returning kicks.
Ottawa dealt its way back into the first round at No. 4. First, the RedBlacks dealt disgruntled quarterback Kevin Glenn to the B.C. Lions for the fifth pick, then flipped selections with the Montreal Alouettes, who had the fourth overall selection. With that, the first-ever RedBlacks’ pick was versatile Montreal Carabins defensive back Antoine Pruneau.
Montreal followed at No. 5, taking David Foucault of the Montreal Carabins, a towering six-foot-seven, 320-pound offensive lineman. Foucault will attend a rookie mini-camp with the Carolina Panthers this week but hasn’t yet signed an NFL deal and is regarded as an athletic prospect who has tremendous potential.
Edmonton, taking Toronto’s first-round pick at No. 6, selected St. Francis Xavier receiver Devon Bailey. The six-foot-five, 202-pound Bailey is regarded as a physical player who competes effectively for the football.
With their second selection of the first, Calgary took versatile Concordia defensive lineman Quinn Smith at No. 7. The six-foot-two, 305-pound Smith impressed with at the CFL combine on both sides of the ball but last week announced he had tested positive for Stanozolol, a synthetic anabolic steroid.
And in keeping with the wild opening round, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats acquired Saskatchewan’s No. 8 selection to have the final two picks of the first round. The Ticats took Western Mustangs linebacker Bo Landry eighth overall before selecting Manitoba defensive lineman Evan Gill.
Landing Gill addresses a need for the defending East Division champions, who lost defensive linemen Linden Gaydosh (’13 first overall pick) to the Carolina Panthers last year then had Brent Urban, a ‘12 selection, go to the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth round of this year’s NFL draft Saturday.