Greenwood happy to be Toronto-bound

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:29 PM ET

Cory Greenwood figures he owes the Argos, in a big way.

Im going to come and play my heart out, Greenwood said early Sunday evening from Kingston.

For them to do what they did behind closed doors making the trade to make sure they could pick me, it really means a lot.

The Argos knew they were guaranteed of drafting a blue-chip prospect in the Canadian Football League draft on Sunday. After all, its hard to screw up when you own the No. 1 pick. But for head coach Jim Barker and general manager Adam Rita, selecting first in a deep draft, and then eighth, was not good enough.

So, Rita and Saskatchewan Roughriders GM Brendan Taman put their heads together and came up with a trade in which the Argos would get the second and fourth picks overall from Saskatchewan in exchange for the first and eighth picks. Also coming Torontos way was homebrew punter Jamie Boreham.

With that swap done, though, Barker wanted to be sure he could get the players he coveted. So he sent the fourth pick and several others to the B.C. Lions for a handful of picks, including No. 3.

Instead of getting just one of Shomari Williams, Joe Eppele and Greenwood the three players most teams had atop their draft boards Barker could now had two, knowing that Williams would wind up in Saskatchewan at No. 1.

To go 1 and 8, with the way things are with the NFL with question marks in terms of who was going to be there, we just felt it was critical that we could get two guys who can come and help us right away, Barker said. The trades gave us an opportunity to control our own destiny.

Eppele, a hulking offensive lineman, was chosen second, Greenwood third.

Trade talks between the Argos and Roughriders had been underway for a while, and the players involved were told Friday night what was going on.

Mr. Barker called me and told me to keep it hush-hush, Greenwood said with a laugh. It was not easy.

Barker doesnt think Eppele or Greenwood, an agile linebacker, will be in the starting lineup on July 1 when the Argos open the 2010 regular season in Calgary against the Stampeders. Because the nuances of pro football arent learned in just a couple of weeks of training camp, drafted players rarely can make the adjustment quickly enough to knock a veteran out of a job.

You never draft a guy expecting him to start, Barker said. You draft guys in the first or second round, hoping to eventually change the ratio. With Eppele, we get a guy who has the experience in terms of having played at a high level and he has the athleticism you want.

Cory Greenwood will compete with Jason Pottinger and Kevin Eiben, and give us a great threesome of Canadian linebackers. It gives us good depth and he will bring good things to special teams.

But Eppele, who travelled to Toronto on Saturday via Pullman, Wash., (where he began his day at 5 a.m.), Seattle and Minneapolis, has different ideas. If hes a fast learner, he would be welcome on an offensive line that gave up a CFL-high 55 sacks in 2009. Hell push Mark DeWit and Chris Van Zeyl, among others, for a backup job.

I plan to come in and make an impact for sure, immediately, Eppele said. Its something I am going to work to do. Im not going to stop until I accomplish that.


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