With his most recent voyage of discovery behind him, Danny Maciocia was back in the office yesterday.
The rookie Edmonton Eskimos' head coach didn't leave many stones unturned on his latest search for talent.
Maciocia attended a free-agent camp at Quebec City's Universite Laval last Thursday before moving on to the annual CFL evaluation camp in Ottawa.
The last two forays to the Laval free-agent camp netted running back/return man Mike Bradley and fullback Mathieu Bertrand.
"We worked out a few people," said Maciocia of his foray into Quebec City.
"There was some talent there but nothing that really stood out or grabbed your attention.
"I wasn't saying to myself, 'I've got to have that guy.' It's not like every year that you go you're going to find a player or two."
Maciocia and Co. will also be looking for a few good men when the Canadian college draft rolls around next month. McMaster running back Jesse Lumsden and Toledo offensive lineman Nick Kaczur are being touted as the top picks in this year's lottery.
Both Lumsden and Kaczur have NFL aspirations and neither attended the Renegades-hosted combine.
After eyeballing the 40 or so players who did show up in Ottawa, the general consensus among CFL coaches and evaluators is this year's talent pool isn't all that deep.
"There's an OK crop of players but there's nobody that you're going to go ga-ga over," Maciocia observed. "That's my take on it."
Unless the Esks can trade up in next month's Canadian college draft, the Green and Gold won't make a selection until the third round.
Desperate for help along the defensive line, the Esks surrendered their first- and second-round picks to the Ottawa Renegades in exchange for non-import tackles Clinton Wayne and Patrick Kabongo midway through last season.
"It's not one of those years where we have to trade up because we have to get a guy," Maciocia opined. "We got (Wayne and Kabongo) for our first- and second-round picks next month and this draft doesn't have two players like that. I am not going to cry about the fact that we only start picking in the third round. I'm very happy with the two guys we got."
While the A.J. Gass to Ottawa story appeared to be gathering steam a couple of weeks ago, Maciocia reiterated that reports of an imminent deal involving Gass are unfounded.
"Anything could happen with him or a few other guys around here," said Maciocia. "But right now it's absolutely dead.
"The trade market is dead, at least as far as the Edmonton Eskimos are concerned."
LATE HITS: According to Maciocia, the Esks currently have the maximum 68 players under contract ... Maciocia has concluded his search for a defensive line coach but has yet to agree to terms with that individual.