EDMONTON - For the third year in a row, the Edmonton Eskimos will have to watch as the first round of the CFL draft goes by.
Their first selection doesn’t come until the second round at ninth overall, after they traded the fourth-overall selection to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
The move brought back veteran offensive left tackle Joe McGrath, who left as a free agent only to return in time for training camp last season.
“We got Joe McGrath, we needed to go get Joe McGrath,” said Eskimos general manager Danny Maciocia. “Joe is young and Joe has got a lot of football left in him.”
Last year, the Eskimos drafted offensive lineman Gord Hinse and defensive lineman Dee Sterling in the 10th and 11th overall spots, respectively, while their top choice in 2008, Greg Wojt, joined the team after deciding to finish out his final year of college eligibility at Central Michigan.
“We’re light years ahead of where we’ve been in the past and we thought we had a pretty good draft last year,” Maciocia said. “There’s no reason why we won’t be good this year.”
Especially with what he calls the best draft class in five years that will be eligible to enter the league on May 2.
“If you take a look at the history of the draft, typically it’s people that draft well in the mid to late rounds that are the teams that are going to have success,” Maciocia said. “If you take a look at our football team right now, with the number of non-imports that we have we’re dealing from a position of strength.
“Obviously, we’d like to have a first-round pick but we don’t. The good news is that we have the second-round pick, which is really the ninth pick overall … and then we have two in the third-round. When you take a look at it, we’re still going to land some pretty good football players.”