Roughriders get their man

Saskatchewan Huskies offensive lineman Ben Heenan was the No. 1 overall selection in Thursday's CFL...

Saskatchewan Huskies offensive lineman Ben Heenan was the No. 1 overall selection in Thursday's CFL Draft. (REUTERS)

KIRK PENTON, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:50 PM ET

Ben Heenan going first to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Thursday’s CFL draft was pretty much a slam dunk for GM Brendan Taman.

Heenan is a big farm boy from nearby Grand Coulee, Sask., who starred for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. Taman didn’t have much of a choice to go out on a limb. In fact, Riders CEO Jim Hopson officially announced they were taking Heenan six hours before the draft began, likely much to the chagrin of TSN, which was airing the first two rounds. Hopson presented Heenan with a Riders jersey at the Huskies’ annual fundraising breakfast in Saskatoon on Thursday morning.

“It means a lot to be selected here by the Riders, and for it to be announced the way that it was was really awesome,” Heenan said.

It was after pick No. 1 where the fun really began. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers were hoping to move up from eighth to third to grab Eastern Michigan defensive end Jabar Westerman. In fact, they had a deal in place with the owners of the No. 3 pick, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, to get Westerman.

However, the B.C. Lions weren’t about to let the Blue and Gold swoop in and steal the object of their affections. The defending Grey Cup champs traded the fourth, 14th and 38th picks to the Eskimos for No. 2 and No. 20 overall.

Then they plucked Westerman, much to the chagrin of the Bombers.

“I knew (the Lions) were interested, but I didn’t know I was going to end up there because a lot of teams were saying they really wanted me,” said Westerman, whose older brother Jamaal plays for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. “But at the same time B.C. was lower down in the draft, so once they traded up that’s when I kind of figured that they were going to try to get me.

“It felt great. To go this early is just something … wow. Right now I’m kind of choking up. I’m kinda speechless about this whole situation.”

The Bombers still went through with the deal to get the third overall selection from the Ticats, giving up the eighth and 13th overall selections, and they went off the board a bit to grab Washington State Cougars offensive lineman Tyson Pencer.

The Eskimos got the man they wanted at No. 4, Virginia offensive lineman Austin Pasztor, and the Calgary Stampeders did the same at No. 5, snagging defensive lineman Ameet Pall.

Edmonton grabbed speedy Wilfrid Laurier receiver Shamawd Chambers, who has an NFL tryout scheduled for next weekend with the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Lions finished off the first round by taking Calgary offensive lineman Kirby Fabien.

THE DRAFT

Round 1

1 Saskatchewan

Ben Heenan, Saskatchewan OL

2 BC via TOR Via Edm

Jabar Westerman, E. Michigan DL

3 Winnipeg Via Ham

Tyson Pencer, Washington State OL

4 EDMONTON via MTL Via BC

Austin Pasztor, Virginia OL

5 Calgary

Ameet Pall, Wofford College DL

6 Edmonton

Shamawd Chambers, Laurier WR

7 BC

Kirby Fabien, Calgary OL

Round 2

8 Hamilton via SSK Via WPG

Courtney Stephen, N. Illinois DB

9 Toronto

Cleyton Laing, Iowa State DE

10 Hamilton

Frederic Plesius, Laval LB

11 Montreal

Pactric Lavoie, Laval RB

12 Saskatchewan Via Cal

Samuel Hurl, Calgary LB

13 Hamilton Via WPG

Carson Rockhill, Calgary OL

14 Edmonton Via BC

Justin Capicciotti, Simon Fraser DL

Round 3

15 Calgary Via Ssk

Keenan MacDougall, Sask. DB

16 Winnipeg via TOR

Johnny Aprile, Queen’s WR

17 Hamilton

Amaud Gascon-Nadon, Laval DL

18 Montreal

Bo Adebayo, Western Kentucky DL

19 Calgary

Billy Peach, Jacsonville Uni. OL

20 HAMILTON Via BC Via EDM

Michael Atkinson, Boise State DL

21 Winnipeg

Christo Bilukidi, Georgia StateDE

22 BC via Hamilton

Matthew Norman, Western OL

Round 4

23 Winnipeg via SSK

Rene Stephan, Harding LB

24 Toronto

Herve Tonye-Tonye, N. Colorado LB

25 Hamilton

S. Charbonneau-Campeau, Sherbrooke WR

26 Montreal

Lance Milton, UBC DB

27 Calgary

Bradley Erdos, Simon Fraser OL

28 Toronto via EDM

Quincy Hurst, Manitoba WR

29 Winnipeg

Jake Thomas, Acadia DL

30 Calgary via BC

Adam Berger, Simon Fraser DB

Round 5

31 Calgary via WPG via SSK

Mike Filer, Mount Alison OL

32 Toronto

Luke Wilson, Rice TE

33 Hamilton

Daronn Palmer, Simon Fraser SB

34 Montreal

Bryn Roy, Texas A&M Commerce LB

35 Saskatchewan Via Cal

Kevin Regimbald-Gagne, Sherbrooke LB

36 Edmonton Eskimos

Hasan Hazime, Akron DE

37 BC via WPG

Jordan Verdone, Calgary LB

38 Edmonton Via BC

Ryan King, Saint Mary’s LB

Round 6

39 Saskatchewan

Ismael Bamba, Sherbrooke WR

40 Toronto

Aaron Crawford, Saint Mary’s LB

41 Toronto via HAM

Shea Pierre, Windsor DB

42 Montreal

Kaynan Parker, Oregon State DB

43 Calgary

Jordan Spence, E. Oregon Uni. DL

44 Montreal via EDM

Ryan White, Bishop’s OL

45 Calgary via WPG

Wilkerson Desouza, Toronto LB


Photos