Stamps take a gamble

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:26 AM ET

Check back with us in a few years for some analysis on how the Calgary Stampeders 2007 Canadian draft went.

It may be several CFL seasons before the Stamps reap the rewards of this class if they do get these players at all.

Of the eight picks general manager Jim Barker called out yesterday, only three will be in next month's training camp.

Still, Barker believes the Stamps snagged the two best players available, plus filled a major need with their three picks in the first round.

"We're happy with all eight picks," Barker said afterwards. "Things really fell the way we wanted. If you would have just let us pick eight guys from the top, it would be close to this."

Hamilton made University of Regina receiver Chris Bauman the first overall selection, then Edmonton went off the board and took Concordia kicker Warren Kean with the second selection.

The Stamps took Michigan State left tackle Mike Gyetvai third, Wilfrid Laurier linebacker Justin Phillips with the fifth pick and Akron receiver Jabari Arthur sixth.

The Tiger-Cats were able to get the defensive lineman they wanted, J.P. Bekasiak, with the fourth overall pick.

The Stamps looked to the future with Gyetvai and Arthur, who will return to school for their senior seasons and could be NFL draft picks next year.

"Because of where we are with Canadian talent, we could fill our pipeline," Barker said. "We thought Mike Gyetvai was the best player in the draft. We may see him here, we may not.

"People said last year we would never see Jon Cornish and he's here now."

Cornish, a running back who was Calgary's first pick last year, signed Monday to give the Stamps depth on offence.

Phillips is a linebacker similar in style to Scott Coe and was needed as a backup because Marc Mitchell retired in the off-season.

With the next three picks, the Stamps again gambled on future prospects, taking Boston College receiver Kevin Challenger, University of Alberta defensive end/long-snapper Patrick MacDonald and U of C basketball player Henry Bekkering.

Challenger has a year left at school and could draw NFL interest, MacDonald has signed with New Orleans and Bekkering may never turn to football because he could eventually play pro basketball overseas in Europe.

Still, Barker didn't want to pass up on Challenger when he fell to them in the second round and crossed his fingers he could get MacDonald and Bekkering with later picks.

"When Kevin Challenger fell, we actually were surprised," Barker said. "If Arthur went first, second or fourth overall, we would have taken Challenger with the sixth overall pick.

With the last two picks, the Stamps went for more depth at positions of need, selecting Queen's linebacker Ian Hazlett and McGill receiver Greg Hetherington.

Of the eight Calgary picks, four are receivers and Barker is gambling one of them emerges into a star.

The chances are good.


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