Esks call for Collier

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

Just like the Edmonton Eskimos, Anthony Collier got what he wanted.

With their first pick in yesterday's Ottawa Renegade dispersal draft, the Eskimos selected Collier, a gifted defensive end with the potential to be a long-term force on the line of scrimmage.

"My wife asked me (Tuesday night) where I wanted to go in the draft," explained Collier on the phone from Texas.

"And I said, 'My first pick is Edmonton ... because of the way the defence plays.'"

With 12 sacks over just three-quarters of last season, only Brent Johnson had more than Collier in the CFL in 2005.

Collier - a 26-year-old import - was the eighth overall pick among 51 players chosen yesterday.

The Eskimos also selected receiver Pat Woodcock, who might become the steal of the draft as he was selected in the fourth round after being a projected first-round pick.

The Green and Gold also selected three former Renegade draft choices - Israel Idonije, Shaun Suisham and L.P. LaDouceur - but not one played in Ottawa last year, as they are with NFL teams.

But the key to the draft is Collier.

"What intrigues us ... is that the motor runs," said Esks' coach Danny Maciocia of the six-four, 255 pounder.

"He's constantly flying around ... always around the ball."

That's almost an identical description of Rashad Jeanty, who left Edmonton for the Cincinnati Bengals this winter.

But even though Collier had an outstanding 2005 sophomore campaign, he's not guaranteed the starting spot that Jeanty held last fall.

"We're not going to give (away) any jobs on April 12," continued Maciocia.

With Joe Montford holding one of the rush-end positions, it means competition will be fierce for the other spot, with no less than four CFL veterans - Tim Fleiszer, Charles Alston, Antico Dalton and Collier - wanting the job.

Woodcock has his own battle to fight, trying to find a starting spot among a talented quartet of receivers.

After a great 2002 campaign for Montreal - 838 receiving yards and a Grey Cup-record 99-yard TD reception at Commonwealth Stadium against Edmonton - Woodcock has struggled to regain that form.

But Maciocia is hoping this will be a fresh start for the non-import speedster.

"He's a polished route runner," said the coach, "and I know he has the ability to play here and he's all of 29-years-old."

Woodcock could also become a fifth receiver, stepping ahead of Andrew Nowacki.

However, unlike Collier, who is set to be paid $66,000 this year, Woodcock's salary is reportedly $120,000.

The rich deal might explain why he dropped in the draft and could cause the Eskimos to want to renegotiate.

"I will be willing to look at all kinds of options," admitted Woodcock.

FINISH LINES: As for the other three selections, don't expect to see them at training camp next month. The Esks are hoping they will eventually land north of the border.

Suisham is the most intriguing of the trio.

"He's going to camp (with the Dallas Cowboys this summer) and his sole duty is to win the kickoff job," said Maciocia. "If things don't work out for him, there's a possibility he may surface here."

If that happens, the 24-year-old non-import could be the eventual replacement to Sean Fleming.

"But having said that, I think Sean Fleming has a lot of good years left in him," Maciocia stated.

Idonije just signed a $9 million US deal with the Chicago Bears. LaDouceur is a long-snapping prospect with Dallas.

'WHAT INTRIGUES US ... IS THAT HIS MOTOR RUNS.'

- Esks coach Danny Maciocia on Anthony Collier

ESKIMOS' PICKS

1. Anthony Collier - DE*

2. Shaun Suisham - K (NFL)

3. L.P. LaDouceur - Snapper (NFL)

4. Pat Woodcock - WR

5. Israel Idonije - DL (NFL)

*import


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