Esks eye lineman

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:35 AM ET

To the Grey Cup winners go the spoils.

The Edmonton Eskimos will pick first overall in today's Canadian Football League draft of university/collegiate players born or raised in Canada. Edmonton received Hamilton's pick, the first overall, in the deal that sent quarterback Jason Maas to the Tiger-Cats a few days after the Esks won the Cup.

The Eskimos reportedly are interested in Washington State University defensive end Adam Braidwood. The 6-foot-4, 265-pound B.C. native had 58 tackles and 13.5 sacks in his collegiate career. Braidwood, however, has National Football League aspirations and hopes to be selected in next week's NFL draft or signed as a free agent.

B.C. has the second, fourth and sixth picks in the first round and, if the Esks pass on Braidwood, the Lions may take him. He is considered similar to their own Brent Johnson, the Kingston native who emerged as a starting rush end last year, led the CFL in sacks and was voted the top Canadian.

Saskatchewan has the third pick overall and might be eyeing Lafayette linebacker Andrew Brown.

The Argos have the fifth pick, but want to move up.

"We tried for the No. 1 pick and couldn't there, so we're working down the list," Argos general manager Adam Rita said yesterday. "We've been at this for a while. Trade talks are on-going."

"I'm hoping (to move up), but I've got a lot of draft scenarios for Adam to explore," said Argos director of player personnel Greg Mohns. "We're basically talking to every team ahead of us (in the draft order)."

The Argos could certainly use Braidwood or University of Calgary defensive lineman Dan Federkeil, following the retirement of Noah Cantor. Federkeil is listed at 6-foot-7, 285 pounds and might also be eyeing the NFL.

The Argos need a linebacker following the loss of backup Ray Mariuz to Hamilton via free agency. Among the better prospects are Brown, McMaster's Jason Pottinger and Laurier's Jesse Alexander.

The intriguing prospect in the draft is Western Ontario receiver Andy Fantuz, voted the top player in Canada last year. The 6-foot-4, Chatham native finished his four-year career as the all-time leader in Canadian university football with 41 TD receptions.

"He's got that magic," said one team personnel official. "He catches all the important ones."


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