Big Ben fills void

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:58 AM ET

The Calgary Stampeders upgraded their quarterbacking yesterday with the signing of former NFL prospect Ben Dougherty, just hours after releasing Mike Souza.

Dougherty was a starter the last two seasons at Florida A&M and was projected to hear his name called as high as the fifth round of the NFL draft.

Despite an impressive showing at the NFL combine, the 6-ft. 3-in. Dougherty, 25, was passed over.

Stampeders GM Jim Barker, who had Dougherty on his neg list, said the athletic pivot has scads of potential.

"He's a career 65% completion guy," Barker said. "He's very accurate and has very good mobility for a bigger guy. The reason he's probably not in the NFL is he lacks arm strength.

"I thought he would be in the draft and he was a guy I was expecting for next year.

"When he didn't get drafted ... all along our plan has been to bring a young guy in to learn the game. We needed to let these guys here compete, which we did, and now we wanted to bring in a young guy and he was the best of those available."

Dougherty, an Elma, Wash., native, is a former teammate of B.C. Lions QB Casey Printers, the CFL MVP last season. According to one source, Dougherty was overlooked by the NFL because of his association with agent Drew Rosenhaus.

Souza saw action in five games last year, completing 33 of 66 passes for 425 yards, with three INTs and no TDs.


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