Bison lineman sure to go

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:36 AM ET

Brian Dobie has a good feeling about Riley Clayton's chances in today's CFL draft.

"I'm saying first round to the B.C. Lions," the University of Manitoba Bisons football coach proclaimed yesterday.

Clayton is a 6-foot-5, 305-pound offensive lineman who has spent three seasons with the Bisons. Despite having two years of CIS eligibility remaining, all indications are the 22-year-old Winnipegger will go sooner than later today.

"Riley really did himself well at the combine," Winnipeg Blue Bombers draft co-ordinator Bob Dyce said. "He performed well in both the run blocking and the pass blocking.

"Riley's definitely going to get drafted. It's just a matter of where."

Clayton said the Lions, Calgary Stampeders and Bombers have all contacted him, but he said the Lions seem to be the most interested.

That could be because Clayton worked with Lions O-line coach Dan Dorazio at last year's East-West Bowl and the two have kept in contact. Also, the Lions could use a few more talented O-linemen to protect quarterback Dave Dickenson.

B.C. has the second, fourth and sixth picks in the first round.

Clayton was busy yesterday studying for a phys-ed exam last night, so he was able to get his mind off the draft a little bit. After a sleepless night, he will assemble his fellow Bison O-linemen and family members at his home for today's draft, which begins at 11 a.m.

"We'll all huddle around the computer, eat some burgers, hang out and drink a few beers," said Clayton.

Other Bisons popping up on draft radar screens are defensive lineman Simon Patrick, slotback Blair Atkinson, linebacker Cory Huclack and defensive end Matt Harper.

"I guarantee Clayton's getting drafted, but I can't guarantee anybody else," said Dobie.

Patrick and Clayton were the only Bisons who attended last month's CFL combine, but Dyce feels Huclack and Atkinson could still get plucked.

"(Huclack) kind of reminds me of a poor man's Scott Coe," said Dyce. "He's just not quite as big or quite as fast, but he's very smart. So he makes up a little bit for the speed in knowing where to be."

Another Manitoban who could get a look today is Winnipeg linebacker Matt Harding, a two-time all-Canadian out of Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B.


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