It's NFL first for Argos pick

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:03 AM ET

Nick Kaczur is happy to be property of the Argos, but he doesn't want to give Toronto fans the wrong impression.

"I'm going to try it here first," the mammoth offensive lineman said from New England Patriots mini-camp yesterday after he was selected in the first round (ninth overall) of the CFL Canadian college draft by the Argos.

"I want to try to make it to the NFL. If not, I'll go wherever I can play (in the CFL) ... I haven't been paying much attention to (the CFL draft)."

In fact, the Brantford native had no idea he was the final pick of the first round in the CFL draft until a reporter called him yesterday afternoon. Kaczur's world changed Saturday when the New England Patriots drafted the 6-foot-4, 319-pound University of Toledo product in the third round (100th overall) of the NFL draft.

Kaczur can tell all his friends he is the only man on this planet who is property of the defending Super Bowl and Grey Cup champions. With many of the CFL's top prospects either NFL-bound or returning to school and the Argos not having any glaring needs after re-signing all of their starters from last season, they decided Kaczur was worth the risk.

"We're rolling the dice," Argos player-personnel director Greg Mohns said. "(Kaczur) was by far the No. 1 player on the draft board. When he sat there at that point of time, it was worth the gamble. We'll just have to see how the next few years play out for him in the NFL."

The Argos also kept their eye on the future with their second pick (11th overall) -- Kentucky linebacker Ray Fontaine, who plans to return to school next season.

"We have our entire team coming back, we don't have a pressing need," Mohns said. "(Taking the best players available) was our draft strategy."

The Argos' remaining five picks -- Laval defensive lineman Philippe Audet (14th), Western slotback/lineman Jeff Keeping (18th), Manitoba offensive lineman Tye Smith (35th), Queen's running back Bryan Crawford (44th) and Waterloo wide receiver Ian Forde (53rd) -- are expected to be in training camp this year.

The Calgary Stampeders, meanwhile, turned down trade requests for their first pick and snapped up Laval defensive lineman Miguel Robede. However, Robede has eligibility remaining at Laval and is considering a return to school in an effort to attract NFL draft interest and to finish his degree. He is expected to make his decision within a week.

The Montreal Alouettes made the most draft-day noise. They traded kicker Matt Kellett to the Ottawa Renegades for the fifth pick (Laval defensive back Matthieu Proulx) and then dealt safety William Loftus to the Edmonton Eskimos for receiver Terry Vaughn and a sixth-round pick.


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