No Jesse claims

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:07 PM ET

Calgary Stampeders brass haven't exactly been glued to the tube this weekend, monitoring Jesse Lumsden's chances in the annual NFL draft. First off, McMaster University's star tailback is a longshot to get picked at all while his draft fate won't likely affect how Calgary -- owners of the No. 1 pick in Thursday's CFL Canadian college draft -- feels about the talented tailback.

Lumsden went untouched yesterday through the NFL's opening three rounds and isn't expected to have his name called today.

Lumsden's CFL stock will rise or fall depending on whether he is drafted or signs afterward as a free agent with one of four NFL clubs that have shown interest. The more lucrative Lumsden's U.S. deal is, the easier it will be for CFL teams to pass him over.

Tom Higgins, Stampeders head coach/vice-president of football operations, said Lumsden, 22, is a fine prospect but doesn't really fit into the team's plans.

"I don't think it changes our minds all that much," Higgins said of the lengthy NFL selection process that carries over into today.

"It's going to be interesting if he's a late draft or a high-priority free agent and if he were to sign, you know you're not going to have him at the start of training camp."

The Stampeders already have import Joffrey Reynolds entrenched at the starting tailback spot while several CFL teams have called inquiring about a trade for the No. 1 pick.

Calgary could beef up its Canadian talent by dealing the first pick for valuable homegrown receivers, offensive linemen or defensive backs or for multiple draft picks.

At least one club is keen on acquiring the rights of the Hec Crighton trophy winner, even though Lumsden may never play in Canada.

Hamilton is reportedly the most interested in acquiring Lumsden, who was recruited to McMaster by current Tabbies head coach Greg Marshall. Marshall would love to be reunited with Lumsden, while Saskatchewan and Ottawa are also interested.

"We have heard from all but three CFL teams," Higgins said.

"That's a pretty good number but obviously no offer's been good enough to tweak our interests to give it up."

Although Higgins is reluctant to reveal his draft plans, the No. 1 pick is obviously up for grabs should a sweet enough offer land on his desk.

"We're playing this one close to our chest," Higgins said.

"We hope other teams will step up and say, 'We don't know what you're thinking but we'll gladly give you two players for that pick,' or something that helps us and fills a need."

Although Lumsden could fit well in the backfield of another CFL club, Higgins said the 6-ft. 2-in., 225-lb., Canuck's progress would be hampered in Calgary.

"The biggest challenge is that I equate Jesse's position very similar to the Canadian quarterback," Higgins said.

"Usually your American counterpart has an advantage because he's played twice as many games. Also, it's very unfair if you have a Canadian quarterback as your No. 3. The media and the fans' pressure for him to play is so great it makes it uncomfortable for that young man to have a chance to be successful and learn the trade.

"I see almost the same thing with Jesse in that his forte is what Joffrey Reynolds does for us. Are we going to sit Joffrey Reynolds so Jesse Lumsden can play? That's how you have to look at it."


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