Argos select Eppele, Greenwood

Toronto Argos second overall pick in the 2010 entry draft, Joe Eppele, meets his fans at the Argos...

Toronto Argos second overall pick in the 2010 entry draft, Joe Eppele, meets his fans at the Argos Draft Party on May 2, 2010. (DAVE ABEL/QMI Agency)

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 4:34 PM ET

Shomari Williams was selected first overall by the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Canadian Football League Canadian draft on Sunday.

“Shomari Williams is one of the guys who is most ready to play in the CFL right now,” TSN’s Duane Forde said. “He plays physically, has a great football sense and can contribute in various ways.”

Williams starred at rush end for Queen’s last season after three years as a linebacker at the University of Houston.

“I’m excited to be here, happy to be in Regina and happy to be a Roughrider,” Williams said. “I’m ready for camp right now.”

On Sunday morning, the Roughriders had acquired the first pick, and the eighth pick, from the Argonauts in exchange for the second pick, fourth pick and punter Jamie Boreham.

The Argos then flipped four picks — Nos. 4, 20, 24 and 25 — to the B.C. Lions for Nos. 3, 18, 26 and 30.

The Argos picked offensive tackle Joe Eppele second and linebacker Cory Greenwood third.

The Lions were thought to like receiver Shawn Gore, but instead took offensive lineman Danny Watkins fourth overall. Watkins is regarded as the best player available in the draft, but has a year of school left at Baylor and stands a great chance of being drafted by an NFL club next year.

Also taken in the first round were punter/kicker Rob Maver at No. 5 by the Calgary Stampeders; defensive lineman Brian Bulcke at No. 6 by the Edmonton Eskimos (after the Esks acquired the pick from Winnipeg in exchange for the ninth and 22nd picks overall); offensive tackle Kristian Matte at No. 7 by the Montreal Alouettes; and wide receiver Jordan Sisco at No. 8 by the Roughriders.

With the 11th pick overall, the Argos selected punter/kicker Grant Shaw from the University of Saskatchewan. The versatile Shaw was a West all-star at cornerback last season.

“It’s an amazing opportunity and overall great feeling that all my hard work and everything I’ve sacrificed over the years have led to this,” Eppele said. “It is great to be selected so high and to be able to come into such a great organization. My goal is to make an immediate impact and I plan to continue to work morning, noon and night to prepare for training camp.”

Said Argos head coach Jim Barker: “This is the guy we wanted. He has great size, athletic ability and intelligence and has played at the highest level of college football in the U.S. His skills suit either guard or tackle which makes him versatile. I’m excited to watch Joe’s development in the years to come.”

Eppele should help an offensive line that allowed a league-high 55 sacks in 2009. A 6-foot-8, 309-pound mountain of a man, Eppele’s stock was helped since other offensive linemen who might have been picked before him could wind up in the NFL. Eppele has acknowledged he is raw, and he did not excel in one-on-one drills at the CFL evaluation camp in March, but that was partly because he is not accustomed to playing a yard off at the line of scrimmage.

Greenwood, who played at Concordia, was the CIS defensive player of the year.

Both Eppele and Greenwood, at the least, will make an impact on special teams.

“We felt both Cory and Joe were critical to what we want to do,” Barker said. “Rather than wait on another team’s choice, we did what we needed to do to move up in the draft to get the players we wanted. Cory is extremely athletic, very physical and plays with great instincts and aggression. Cory plays linebacker the way linebacker is meant to be played.”

Greenwood, a Kingston native, said he was a big fan of Argos special teams coach Mike O’Shea growing up.

“It’s such a relief to finally know where I’m going to start and hopefully finish my professional career,” Greenwood said. “It’s been a long process and I’ve played my heart out, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Growing up in Kingston, I’ve followed the Argos and especially the career of Mike O’Shea. I can’t wait to work with him and the rest of the Toronto coaching staff.”

Boreham, on 91 punts in 2009 with Saskatchewan, averaged 42.2 yards. The man he would replace, Justin Medlock, averaged 42.3 yards for the Argos on 120 punts.

The Argos haven’t picked first overall since 1997, when they took centre Chad Folk, who had a solid career with the Boatmen that included two Grey Cup victories.

terry.koshan@sunmedia.ca


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