Lions ready to load up

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 7:56 AM ET

B.C. Lions are set to dominate the first round of today's Canadian Football League Canadian player draft.

Head coach and general manager Wally Buono will pick second, fourth and sixth overall - unless he gets a trade offer he can't refuse.

"I am getting other calls. There are a number of scenarios we would entertain," Buono said yesterday.

The six-round draft kicks off at 9 a.m. PDT via teleconference.

Buono and the league's other seven GMs will choose Canadian players from university teams in Canadian Interuniversity Sport, National Collegiate Athletic Association and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Edmonton Eskimos have first pick overall after trading quarterback Jason Maas to the last-place Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Lions acquired their extra first-round selections in deals with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Calgary Stampeders.

B.C.'s other picks are in rounds two, five and six. Buono said he hasn't seen as much depth and quality in the draft since 1992.

Defensive back Cesar Stephenson of Vancouver and slotback Mike Lindstrom of Abbotsford head the list of 22 draft-eligible UBC Thunderbirds.

North Vancouver offensive lineman Steven Valli and Burnaby kicker Luca Congi are among 18 Simon Fraser University Clan players ripe for the picking.

"There are a lot of B.C. kids in the draft that are very highly respected," he said. "But a lot of good players are not attending B.C. schools."

Atop that list is Delta defensive end Adam Braidwood.

The Washington State Cougar is a potential first rounder, but he also has National Football League aspirations.


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