6 marks the spot for Stamps
Wes Gilbertson, Calgary Sun
|U of C's Anthony Parker could be the Stamps' top pick in Sunday's CFL draft. (QMI Agency files)
It’s a pick-six.
If recent history is any indication, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Barring a last-minute swap, the Calgary Stampeders will make the sixth selection in Sunday’s CFL Draft, picking in a position that has produced future stars over the past two decades.
The Montreal Alouettes owned the sixth slot in 1998, gambling on an undersized receiver named Ben Cahoon. That name is now pencilled into the CFL record books, with Cahoon racking up more career receptions than any other pass-catcher in the three-down football ranks.
The Stamps seem interested in adding some soft hands in Sunday’s opening round, with Calgary Dinos slotbacks Anthony Parker and Nathan Coehoorn and former St. Francis Brown and current Harvard Crimson receiver Marco Iannuzzi likely at the top of their wish list.
It wouldn’t be the first time the Stamps snagged a receiver at No. 6.
They selected Kamau Peterson with the sixth pick in 2001, although he was wearing an Edmonton Eskimos uniform when he eventually blossomed into one of the CFL’s top homegrown talents. The Stamps also scored pass-catcher Jabari Arthur in 2007, eventually trading him to Winnipeg before he returned to the Red & White as a free agent last summer.
Winnipeg’s Brendon LaBatte (2008) and B.C.’s Dean Valli (2006) — both mainstays on the offensive line — were also snagged at sixth overall. Same goes for receiver Paris Jackson (2003), defensive lineman Adriano Belli (2000) and cornerback Davis Sanchez (1999), plus retired placekicker Sean Fleming (1992) and fullback Duane Forde (1991).
Although he has struggled with injuries, some would argue the Hamilton Tiger-Cats stole running back Jesse Lumsden with the sixth selection in 2005.
The history of the sixth pick isn’t the only reason for optimism at McMahon Stadium. Stamps supporters must also be satisfied with John Hufnagel’s draft success since becoming the boss 31/2 years ago.
Calgary’s GM/head coach has made four first-round selections during that span, and every one of them — kicker Rob Maver (2010), safety Eric Fraser (2009) and offensive linemen Dimitri Tsoumpas and since-traded Jesse Newman (2008) — made a major contribution in their rookie campaigns, although Fraser returned for his final season at Central Michigan before joining the Red & White last fall.
Offensive linemen Steve Myddelton, Jon Gott and Oamo Culbreath, linebacker Karl McCartney and defensive back Taurean Allen are also graduates of Hufnagels first three draft classes.
On Sunday, the Stamps will try to pen another success story.
Who knows? Maybe there’s another Ben Cahoon out there.