EDMONTON - It was a crazy bit of business as new Edmonton Eskimos GM Eric Tillman picked off another blue chip prospect in the CFL Supplement Draft Monday morning.
“Sometimes in life you sit on a porcupine. Today we sat on a horseshoe,” said Tillman.
It was a wacky the way it went down with repercussions which carry through to next year’s draft.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers gave up their 2012 first round pick to select Kito Poblah, the six-foot-two 215-pound receiver from Central Michigan. No surprise there.
The Eskimos expected to get 6six-foot-one, 304-pound defensive tackle Ted Laurent from Ole Miss and were prepared to give up their 2012 first round pick to get him.
Everyone knew it was going to be Poblah and Laurent or vice versa and that both Winnipeg and Edmonton were both prepared to give up next year’s first round picks to get either one.
It’s inexplicable the other Western Conference teams failed to force the Eskimos to spend their first-round pick and allowed Edmonton to get Laurent with a second.
It’s unbelievable that Winnipeg didn’t bid a second-round pick for Laurent, which would have forced the Eskimos to use their 2012 first-rounder.
If the teams finished the season in the same drafting order this season, Edmonton would pick No. 1 overall next season because Winnipeg gave up their first round pick and Edmonton kept theirs. All Edmonton has to do is finish ahead of Winnipeg to benefit in some way next year. And they get Laurent.
And they still have their first pick.
How did it all go down?
Each player went through a separate draft process and that played into Edmonton’s hand.
Tillman woke up Monday to find out the order of proceedings was to deal with Poblah before Laurent.
“That almost certainly saved us from being forced to bid a 2012 first-rounder,” he said.
Montreal was first and they bid a sixth-round pick on Poblah. The process worked all the way down to B.C. offering their number one.
“Then we offered our No. 1 for Kito,” said Tillman.
“The Bombers were left to decide. Either let us have Kito Poblah or draft him. Wisely, in my opinion, they chose the latter.
“Honestly, we were incredibly lucky. Several clubs had passed in the third round, just assuming, I suppose, that like Poblah, Ted Laurent would be a first-rounder. Only a couple of teams were left to bid, since once you’re out of the process you can’t get back in.
“Montreal loved Ted, but they have already traded their 2012 first rounder to BC for Sean White. When we bid a second, the Als were knocked out of the process, and BC wasn’t allowed to use a traded-for first-rounder in the supplemental draft.
“Suddenly, after our second-round bid, only two teams were eligible to jump ahead of us.
“I got an e-mail from another general manager congratulating us on getting Ted in the second round. He admitted they made a mistake opting out early in the bidding process. Understandably, they just assumed Kito and Ted were going one and two, so they just passed.
“Fortunately, others did the same thing, and, in the blink of an eye, the dominos had fallen perfectly. We secured the rights to a first-round talent, and still maintained our 2012 first rounder, too.”
An interesting twist to all this was it was Tillman, an Ole Miss alumnus, who was instrumental in getting the process going to make Laurent eligible for the supplemental draft.
Laurent was born on New Year’s Day 1988 in Montreal but moved to Georgia at age 12.
The question now is when he’ll get him under contract.
“Over the weekend, I was in contact with Ted and his agent, John Owens. The NFL is still a very viable option for them but they are intrigued by our league, especially given Ted’s Canadian roots. Clearly our conversations will take on a much more serious tone now that we have drafted Ted. The NFL labour dispute may factor into their decision making process. Regardless of how this unfolds, we’re very hopeful Ted will be an Eskimo at some point in his career. It’s our job now to accelerate that timeline if possible by articulating the many advantages offered by playing in the CFL.”
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