Alberta advantage

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

The Edmonton Eskimos went trolling for a new recruit in Calgary.

Meanwhile, the Calgary Stampeders thought they'd take a flyer on an unseen product about to ply his trade in Edmonton. Such is the way things go in the CFL Canadian College Draft.

With their third-round pick, the Eskimos opted to bolster their list of prospects on the offensive line by taking the University of Calgary's Tim O'Neill, a six-foot-three, 271-pound guard.

O'Neill cut his draft-day celebrations short in order to prepare for a final exam in Roman history last night, but was feeling fine after some earlier conversations with Esks' offensive line coach Bill Macdermott.

"He did give me a few little hints that they were interested," said O'Neill. "I talked to other teams but I didn't know where I stood. I figured if I was still there, Edmonton would take me."

A move from the defence to the O-line in his sophomore season with the Dinos certainly improved O'Neill's chances of making the CFL, but how fast he'll be wearing green and gold is up in the air.

IMMEDIATE IMPACT?

"Will he have an immediate impact? Only time will tell," said Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia. "We tell ourselves that we've got to give anybody we draft three years.

"I'd be surprised if we have to wait three years to see if this guy's a player or not.

"We think he's a player."

As the draft entered its final stage, the Stampeders decided to use their last pick on Brett Ralph, who will be joining the Alberta Golden Bears this fall after short stints at Wyoming and Boise State.

Ralph, who grew up in Raymond, watched both of his brothers play in Edmonton before - Brock with the Eskimos and Dustin with the Bears.

The Eskimos used their fourth-round choice (31st overall) to get Graceland University punter Anthony Posteraro, who averaged 39.8 yards per kick last season.

Maciocia hinted that with the abundance of Canadian content in other positions, he's open to the possibility of using an import spot on Posteraro and leaving veteran Sean Fleming responsible for only the placekicking chores.

"I hope to fit right in and I'm looking forward to learning from Sean and the coaching staff," said the Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., product.

"I think it would be great to be groomed by Sean for a couple years on the ins and outs of the league."

With their fifth-round pick (40th overall), the Eskimos grabbed wide receiver Robert Leblanc, who had 30 catches for 486 yards and four touchdowns for McGill in 2004.

After wrapping up his final exam in biochemistry, University of Alberta Golden Bears' linebacker David Lowry got the call telling him he's been selected by B.C. in the third round (25th overall).

Lowry, who was the top defensive player in the Canada West conference last season, thought the Esks or Ottawa might snatch him up, but he's got no qualms about going into the Lions' den.

PLEASANT SURPRISE

"It was a pleasant surprise," said Lowry.

"I had actually talked to them at the East-West Bowl last year and they called (Wednesday) and asked me a whole bunch of questions.

"They did ask me about my plans and they know full-well that I want to go back to the U of A. I'm still going to go to camp and see how it goes, but I know I would regret not being a part of the opportunity that the Bears have next season."


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