|Kavis Reed, the new Head Coach of the Edmonton Eskimos speaks to media next to general manager Eric Tillman during a press conference at Commonwealth Stadium in December. The pair have their work cut out for them at Sunday's CFL draft. (Laura Pedersen/QMI Agency files)
The Edmonton Eskimos aren't officially No. 1, but they might as well be.
Thanks to a media leak all but locking up linebacker Hanoc Muamba for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers with the first-overall selection of Sunday's CFL draft (10:30 a.m., TSN), the Eskimos' pick at No. 2 looked extremely attractive to teams looking to wheel and deal on Friday.
"In essence, we've gone on the clock," said Eskimos general manager Eric Tillman. "We've had all kinds of calls and proposals."
Five or six different scenarios have crossed his desk on the eve of draft weekend. And it's not just about their top choice, either. The Eskimos also have the 10th and 13th-overall selections in Round 2 that have drawn attention.
"We've had teams that have called about the second pick, we've had teams that have called about the 10th pick, we've had teams that have called about 10 and 13, we've had teams that have called about two and 13 Ñ just about every (combination)," Tillman said. "I told (head coach) Kavis (Reed on Friday): ÔDon't you feel like Linda Blair in The Exorcist, my head was spinning with so many things to digest with what has come to us in the last 24 hours."
While the Eskimos aren't yet in need of an old priest and a young priest, they are compelled to add Canadian depth to just about every position other than the defensive line and kickers.
"It's like I joked with somebody (Friday), but they didn't laugh: when you've got as many needs as we do, you don't need to worry about filling specific needs," Tillman said.
"It's a multi-tiered decision. You factor in your need and the depth of the draft at certain positions."
It's pretty much what the team has already been doing throughout the off-season, which has been one of the busiest in Tillman's GM career Ñ except, perhaps, when he built an entire team from the ground up in Ottawa in 2002.
"We feel like we've upgraded our Canadian content over the last several months via trades and free agency," Tillman said. "The draft is clearly an integral component in terms of the overall plan of upgrading, so with three picks in the first 13, we need to add two or three players that we think can be part of the foundation for the next several years.
"When you have picks that are that high, you hope you can get guys that can address (current) needs and be building blocks for a successful foundation."
GLOVER LOVE: The Eskimos traded their sixth-round selection in next year's draft to Winnipeg in exchange for veteran defensive back LaVar Glover.
"This trade was 100% me facilitating the wish of our head coach," Tillman said of Reed, who worked with Glover as defensive co-ordinator in Winnipeg last season. "He liked him as a player, liked him as a leader. He wanted to have another veteran in the secondary."
A former West Division all-star, Glover missed the last six games of 2010 season with a season-ending groin injury.