Can Con a priority for Esks’ Reed

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:28 AM ET

EDMONTON - They put the C in CFL.

Canadian content is the top priority of the Edmonton Eskimos’ Kavis Reed, as he sets to enter his first season as a head coach.

“It’s very important. We really have to address our Canadian depth as well as create competition for the guys that are currently on the roster,” Reed said. “That is vitally important. All the successful teams have depth to secure yourself against injuries and possible ratio catastophies, so we are going to be very vigilant about addressing our Canadian talent.”

Building a team around a strong Canadian core is an ideal shared by both Reed and Eskimos general manager Eric Tillman, who is in the midst of his first off-season with the Eskimos.

“It’s the only way to build a team, really, if you want to build it for sustainability,” said Reed, who is back to coach in the same city where he played from 1995-99. “I have been around long enough to know that we build teams for the long term through Canadian content and being smart with the draft is going to be the next step for us as well.”

But prior to the CFL Canadian Draft on May 8, the league is preparing for free agency to open on Feb. 16. Between those two dates, it’s a safe bet plenty more non-imports will be coming into Eskimos training camp in June.

“We’re still exploring,” Reed said of free agency. “Eric is always working the phones, always looking for opportunities for us to advance our roster, especially with the Canadian content.

“But right now our focus is going to start to turn to the evaluation camp, which is coming up in a month (March 3-4 in Toronto), and really look at the talent that’s there and really utilize the picks that we have.”

Edmonton will pick second and 10th overall in the first two rounds of the draft this year, while the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have the first selection.


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