I can't believe it

Lions head coach Wally Buono is happy with the selection of offensive lineman Justin Sorensen in...

Lions head coach Wally Buono is happy with the selection of offensive lineman Justin Sorensen in the draft. SUN MEDIA/Marcel Cretain

PAUL FRIESEN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:20 AM ET

If we learned one thing during this week's CFL draft, it's that every team's front office is stocked with geniuses.

All eight teams improved themselves so dramatically, every one of them should be in the Grey Cup game this year.

At least, that's the impression you get from the comments of GM's and personnel types around the league.

Reminds me of a guy who used to work in the toy department here at the Sun, who'd trot out the same line every time he made a pick in one of our hockey drafts.

"I can't believe he was still available," he'd say.

Sounds just like the drivel coming out of Wednesday's draft.

Take the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who chose safety Dylan Barker with the first pick overall, receiver Samuel Giguere with the eighth.

"I have a smile on my face because I'm ecstatic," Hamilton president Scott Mitchell told the Hamilton Spectator. "We got the two top players in the draft. If you had asked us a week ago if we felt we could get Giguere and Barker together, people would have said we were crazy."

Out west, in Cowtown, they were proudly riding two different horses: offensive linemen Dimitri Tsoumpas and Jesse Newman.

"We've selected the two best players, in our rating system, in the draft," Stampeders boss John Hufnagel declared. "To be in a position to acquire both was something we just couldn't pass up."

Trouble is, B.C.'s Wally Buono was basically saying the same thing about the O-lineman he chose two picks later.

"Guys that are 6-foot-6, 320 pounds, that can play at that level just don't come around every day," Buono said of Justin Sorensen. "To pass on him would have been a mistake."

Here in Winnipeg, draft co-ordinator Bob Dyce described No. 6 pick Brendon LaBatte, an O-lineman, as "the one man in Canada West, or even CIS, that dominated at his position."

Then there was Dyce's appraisal of third-round pick Daryl Stephenson, a running back who was hurt this past season.

"If this was 12 months ago, everyone would be talking about Daryl being in the first round," Dyce said.

Over in Montreal, guess how the Als felt about linebacker Shea Emry, the seventh pick?

"On our board, if he wasn't 1A, he was 1B overall," chirped assistant GM Marcel Desjardins. "We were happy he continued to drop."

In Saskatchewan, GM Eric Tillman said his first picks were "two potential all-stars," while Edmonton boss Danny Maciocia bragged that lineman Greg Wojt "is going to be special in this league."

But the runaway winner of this year's "I can't believe he was still available" award goes to Toronto personnel boss Greg Mohns.

On receiver Mike Bradwell, chosen 13th overall: "We were shocked that he fell into our laps," an ecstatic Mohns said. "We had him draft-rated for the first round."

On third-round pick Jean-Nicolas Carriere: "We were pleasantly surprised that Jean-Nicolas was still available."

On Delroy Clarke, chosen 29th overall: "Clarke was the second-highest rated defensive back on our draft board."

On Round 5 selection Richard Zulys, whom Mohns described as a hidden gem whose draft position fell because of a shoulder injury. "We did our homework and received a medical report last night that clears Richard to play."

On final-round selection Mark Dewit: "We were very surprised that Mark was still available in the sixth round. We immediately changed our late-round strategy and returned to our original draft philosophy -- take the highest-rated player from our board that is still available."

What's Mohns using, a Ouija board?

To all this, I have just one thing to say.

I can't believe these guys are still trying to snow us.


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