Pall headlines Stamps' haul

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:40 PM ET

CALGARY - When the Calgary Stampeders hit the road for the first time this season, it will be an epic eight-night, two-game trip from Toronto to Montreal.

If it all works out as planned, Ameet Pall will have a homecoming against the Alouettes in the second half of the journey.

But even after the Stamps selected the defensive lineman in the first round (fifth overall) of Thursday’s CFL Canadian Draft, the Wofford College product wasn’t thinking that far ahead.

“It hasn’t hit me yet,” said Pall from South Carolina, where he’s putting the finishing touches on environmental studies and French degrees.

“It hasn’t hit me yet that I will be playing in the CFL. Maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow it will hit me that I’m suiting up in the CFL.

“Going back to my hometown will be something special. I have some friends with the Alouettes, so it will be fun to knock heads with them.”

While CFL teams jockeyed for position in a flurry of trades, the Stamps kept their first-round pick and got the player they wanted.

The Stamps expect to use two non-import defensive lineman as starters this season (Brian Bulcke and Corey Mace), so getting some extra help was key for GM-head coach John Hufnagel.

Pall was the player they targeted heading in, so Hufnagel is happy to get him.

“He does have excellent pass-rush skills at this young age,” Hufnagel said. “There are some things he needs to do to better himself in his game. We see him being a force for years to come.

“I’m not expecting him to come in and claim a starting job, but I’m not preventing that from happening. The players determine that.”

Among the eight players selected by the Stamps Thursday, two are defensive linemen, three are offensive linemen, two are defensive backs and one is a linebacker.

Three of those picks — Billy Peach, Bradley Erdos, and Adam Berger — have a year left of college and won’t arrive until at least next year.

With a wealth of picks, Hufnagel was able to trade away his second-rounder (12th overall) to the Saskatchewan Roughriders for a second-round pick next year and a third-round pick.

When Hufnagel made the 15th overall selection, the player he wanted at No. 12 was still there.

Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive back Keenan MacDougall missed all of last season with a knee injury, but Hufnagel hopes he can add some punch to the secondary.

“He’s a physical presence,” Hufnagel said. “If you disregard a player because he had a season-ending injury, you would be cutting a lot of people.

“We’re concerned about it. We don’t have a blind eye to it. He’s ready to go. We just hope the injury bug is gone.”

MacDougall is pumped to come to Calgary, and he can’t wait to get back on the field after recovering from what was deemed a torn quad muscle.

“I’m so excited,” MacDougall said. “Throughout the past couple of months, I’ve been in Saskatoon practising in pads again.

“You miss the game so much when you are deprived of it.

“I was going to practice every day and seeing everyone else do it. It was pretty hard.”

Although it’s unrealistic to believe any of the players selected will make an impact immediately, the Stamps hope Pall can aid a pass rush that left the team dead-last in sacks last season.

Pall plans on being ready to compete when camp opens.

“What got me selected in the first round was my pass rush,” Pall said. “I will come in, absorb and learn as much as I can.

“I will be ready to go when it’s time to punch in.”

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNIanBusby


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