Stamps sitting pretty

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:27 AM ET

Even without the No. 1 pick, Jim Barker and the Calgary Stampeders hold the key to the CFL Canadian College Draft's first round.

By sitting on the third, fifth and sixth picks, the Stamps should be able to get a player they want, plus grab one another team covets and take a flier on one who still has college eligibility.

"Nobody knows what we're going to do," said the Stampeders general manager yesterday in the midst of arranging his draft board.

"The teams drafting behind us are trying to figure out where we're going and that's a good thing for us."

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have the No. 1 pick but may deal the selection before today's 11 a.m. draft, which will be broadcast live on CFL.ca.

Several teams have inquired about trading up, including the Edmonton Eskimos, who hold the No. 2 pick.

They all seem to be jockeying to take J.P. Bekasiak, a 6-ft. 6-in., 300-lb. defensive lineman from Toledo.

If Hamilton holds onto the pick and takes Bekasiak, the next player taken could be is Regina receiver Chris Bauman.

"It's hard to tell what Hamilton may do," Barker said. "We think they may go for the defensive lineman.

"Whatever Hamilton does, Edmonton may go the other way. So if Hamilton takes the receiver, Edmonton should grab the d-lineman."

That leaves some strong talent for the Stamps with three of the next four picks and, of course, Barker isn't tipping his hand.

Barker said the draft isn't all that deep but there are a few prospects who could help the team this season, although there isn't an offensive lineman ready to play immediately.

"It's the weakest offensive line group since I've been in the league," Barker said. "It's deep at receiver and not bad on the defensive line, more than it has been in a while.

"It's light on the o-line and in the secondary, which makes the top guys in that group more valuable than they otherwise would be."

Calgary acquired the third overall pick in the trade that sent left tackle Alexandre Gauthier to Winnipeg and picked up the fifth selection in a deal that sent right guard Taylor Robertson to Toronto.

Although the Stamps received Garrick Jones from the Blue Bombers and signed Bobby Singh as a free agent, they may try to replenish their offensive line with future picks.

They have the luxury of picking a player who won't be in the CFL this season after signing Jon Cornish, their top pick from last year.

Michigan State offensive lineman Mike Gyetvai, who will go back to school for his senior season, and defensive lineman Corey Mace, now with the Buffalo Bills, both fit into that category.

And with the off-season signings of receiver Ryan Thelwell, fullback Cory Hathaway and Singh, the Stamps have built decent Canadian depth.

"We're not pressured to make a pick to get a guy right now," said Barker, adding Cornish would challenge for No. 1 overall if he was available.

"If Jon would have said he was coming to Canada and been available in this draft, he would be the first one taken."


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