'Gades off on right foot

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:04 AM ET

The Renegades pretty much had to trade for Matt Kellett yesterday.

After allowing eight Canadian starters to slip away via free agency, there's no way they could afford ratio-wise to bring in an American kicker if Sandro Sciortino failed in his comeback from cancer. And there's no way they could settle for the type of kicking game -- both the punting and field goal tries -- they received from Pat Fleming and Sciortino last season.

Even good teams can't succeed by letting points slip away wide right, or by giving up unnecessary field position -- let alone those like Ottawa who should be in a fight for its life just to make the playoffs.

HAPPY TO LAND YEOW

That said, the deal with Montreal was just the first positive in a day that had more than one for the Renegades, considering the needy position they were in.

They would have happily snapped up Laval defensive lineman Miguel Robede with their first pick of the Canadian College draft, but since Calgary made him the No. 1 selection overall, the Renegades feel they scored significantly in choosing University of Akron linebacker Cam Yeow.

"Every play I saw with Cam (on film), he jumped out at you," coach and GM Joe Paopao said of the 26-year old, who stands 6-foot-1, 230 lbs. "He knocked guys around, and we didn't play that way as much last year.

"We talked to some NFL people about him, and the words they used were 'very passionate player.' He sure plays like that."

With Yeow, Jason Kralt and newcomer Brian Odie, the Renegades may start a Canadian linebacker this season.

Kralt first met Yeow at the B.C. Lions camp in 2001, which Yeow attended as a walk-on, and says the new Renegade's motor is continually running.

"I really enjoyed hearing the news," Yeow, a native of Surrey, said of being picked by the Renegades. "My agent, Scott Mitchell, had me expecting I'd go to Saskatchewan (which had three first-round picks) and I'm glad I get to go to Ottawa instead. I haven't been to Saskatchewan so I really can't knock it, but from what people tell me there's not a lot to do there."

The Renegades, who desperately needed a Canadian running back, were lucky that St. Mary's star Les Mullings was still available when they made their next pick, 20th overall.

Mullings, a 23-year-old who is listed at 6-foot-1, 228 lbs., still has a year of school eligibility, but he really doesn't want to use it.

"I'm more than ready for this opportunity," he said. "I want to go to camp and show what I can do. Hopefully, I can help the team in some way, whether it's catching the ball or running or returning ... I'll even play defence if they want."

In the fourth round, the Renegades also made what at least one insider called a very good pick: 6-foot-4, 228-lb. tight end Cory Hathaway out of Tulsa. Hathaway could also wind up being insurance at fullback.

"He can probably put a little more on his frame, but I like his measurables," said Paopao. "He has also taken some snaps on the (defensive) side of the ball. We were fortunate he was still available."

The Renegades' fifth-round pick was Gee-Gees defensive end Adrian Baird, a 6-foot-5, 245-lb., 25-year-old. Baird was very excited about being picked by Paopao.

"I'm familiar with the town and I'm looking forward to representing the Renegades," he said. "I definitely would prefer to make the team and pull on the jersey rather than go back to school (for his final year)."

"I know (Gee-Gees coach) Randy Fournier well and he recommended (Baird) quite highly," said Renegades defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall. "We think he has a lot of upside."

SRB PRODUCT

With their final selection, the Renegades chose 6-foot-2, 250-lb. fullback Lenard Semajuste, an Ottawa native (and Sir Robert Borden High School product) who has one more year left at Adams State.

Paopao said Semajuste's progress will be monitored, just as other "futures" like him.

"You try to protect guys, but it's not an exact science," said Paopao. "I think we now have 67 guys coming to camp ... we're going to be competitive."


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