Argos go big with pick

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:15 AM ET

The Argonauts may have filled a gaping hole in their defensive line.

The Argos selected Dan Federkeil, a 6-foot-7, 285-pound product of the University of Calgary, fifth overall in yesterday Canadian Football League university/college draft of Canadian-born/raised players.

While Federkeil played predominantly at defensive end in university, the Argos are interested in converting him to an interior lineman. With the retirement of veteran Canadian defensive tackle Noah Cantor, the Argos need a big non-import in the middle. Federkeil will have a chance to compete for that position with sophomore Jeff Keeping, veteran Jeff Pilon (who was acquired in the Ottawa Renegades dispersal draft) and free-agent signing Matt Kudu.

The 22-year-old Federkeil has an outside shot at the National Football League. He has worked out for the New York Jets and is scheduled to work out for the Indianapolis Colts, who view him as an offensive lineman prospect.

"As far as what's happening with the NFL, that's definitely on the backburner," Federkeil said. "I'm trying to get through (economics) exams with the added excitement of the (CFL) draft. Definitely it's a great feeling to get picked so high."

Federkeil, who was voted the runner-up in the nation last year in the J.P. Metras Trophy voting for outstanding lineman, had been told by the Argos before the draft they liked him and wanted to convert him to an interior lineman.

"It's something I do have experience in playing in high school," he said. "It's similar to what I played in university. I was not a speed guy. I was a power guy. That should translate well to the interior line."

The Argos weren't sure Federkeil would be available at the fifth slot, but other teams had different needs.

"We like his size, speed, ability and potential," Argos general manager Adam Rita said. "He has got a lot of things that we like. He can run for a big dude."

With their second pick and 10th overall, the Argos took Leron Mitchell, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound cornerback from the University of Western Ontario. Mitchell is a raw prospect, having played organized football for the past three seasons after transferring home from the University of Texas, where he was on a track and field scholarship.

"We see a great athlete that can possibly play four positions," Rita said. "He has only played (two full) years of football. Plus, he can help us right away on (special) teams with his body type."

Mitchell, who is represented by agent Darren Gill, believes he can play at the pro level.

"I know there's going to be challenges, but I'm starting to understand more defensive schemes and how offensive co-ordinators break down defences," he said. "The game is coming more natural now."

The Argos' other picks included Obeb Cetoute (wideout, Central Michigan); Brian Ramsey (offensive lineman, New Mexico) and Clifton Dawson (running back, Harvard).


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