April 30, 2008
Esks set to draft local phenomTsoumpas flown into Edmonton on eve of draft
By JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media
Barring a last-minute change, the Edmonton Eskimos will select Dimitri Tsoumpas with the second overall pick in this morning's CFL draft.
The Green and Gold are so excited about the hulking Canadian offensive lineman that they plan to have him at Commonwealth Stadium today.
FLYING TO EDMONTON
The six-foot-four, 315-pound Edmonton native was scheduled to fly from Salt Lake to Seattle to Edmonton yesterday, arriving near midnight.
"It is pretty unreal to go there (to Edmonton) and play for the Green and Gold," said Tsoumpas on the prospect of playing for the Eskimos.
"You grow up watching them - pretty unreal."
Of course, there is the possibility something could go wrong with the Eskimos apparent plan.
Hamilton has the first overall choice in today's draft (10 a.m. start time).
It's widely speculated the Tiger-Cats will take safety Dylan Barker.
However, it's possible the Tabbies are leaning toward receiver Sam Giguere, even though he has signed with the Indianapolis Colts.
The more dangerous possibility for the Eskimos is Hamilton potentially trading the rights to the first pick.
Other CFL clubs are surely interested in Tsoumpas and could make Hamilton an offer it couldn't refuse.
But if all goes according to plan, the Eskimos will have a 22-year-old right guard who could become a key building block on the offensive line.
With 12-year CFL veteran Dan Comiskey on the roster, Tsoumpas could have an outstanding teacher on the field and in the locker-room.
What is already certain is that Tsoumpas has a level head on his shoulders.
Having already completed his courses at Weber State in Utah, Tsoumpas will graduate this spring with a degree in human performance.
"If football doesn't work out for me I'd be more along the lines of a personal trainer (or) strength and conditioning coach," he said from the Salt Lake City airport.
The long trip to Edmonton last night would have given Tsoumpas a chance to reflect on a hectic few days.
The former Strathcona High School product was bypassed in the NFL draft last weekend, even though seven to eight teams were showing an interest.
After the final round of the NFL draft, that interest dwindled to one West Coast-based NFL club.
But when it comes to post-draft priority free agents, only about 10% make the club from training camp.
So, Tsoumpas has put his NFL dream on hold right now to focus on the CFL.
COACH WON'T SAY FOR SURE
As for Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia, there is no confirmation he will take Tsoumpas today.
Understandably, Maciocia isn't getting ahead of himself when dealing with the media.
"We have three guys that we feel we can go with and we wouldn't be making a mistake," said the coach on who his top pick could be.
"So, Hamilton clearly picks before us - unless they make a deal here - so, we will get one of the three (players we want)."