CFL GMs always get what they want

Draft co-ordinator Kyle Walters (left) and general manager Joe Mack (seen during last year's CFL...

Draft co-ordinator Kyle Walters (left) and general manager Joe Mack (seen during last year's CFL draft, held Sunday, May 8, 2011) will be looking to add to the Blue Bombers' defensive depth in Thursday's CFL draft. (MARCEL CRETAIN/Winnipeg Sun Files)

Paul Friesen, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:10 AM ET

Another CFL draft, and another eight general managers who can’t believe their luck.

My favourite part of the Canadian college meat market is watching to see which GM is most dumbfounded at getting exactly what he wanted.

Somehow, a player he had tagged to go much higher miraculously went unclaimed until it was his turn to pick.

It’s the “I can’t believe he was still available!” syndrome, and as corny as it sounds, somebody trots it out every year.

If you watched the draft on the web (and who didn’t?), you saw the Edmonton Eskimos brain trust, led by GM Eric Tillman, giggling and high-fiving like school kids the moment the Blue Bombers made their first pick, third overall.

Incredibly, in choosing O-lineman Tyson Pencer, the Bombers missed a future star named Austin Pasztor, whom the Esks thought so highly of they were originally planning to take him at No. 2.

Tillman wound up trading that No. 2 pick to B.C., and still, by the grace of the football gods, or maybe Hugh Campbell, he landed Pasztor at No. 4.

The Bombers, meanwhile, traded up to select third, and wouldn’t you know it, GM Joe Mack had it pegged that just three players were bona fide, future starters — so he got one of them!

But if you think that was miraculous, you didn’t hear what happened in Montreal and Hamilton.

The Alouettes didn’t have a pick until No. 11. But somehow, well, we’ll let GM Jim Popp tell it.

“All the Laval guys were available, and we didn’t think they would be by the time we picked,” Popp told the Montreal Gazette.

Like running back Patrick Lavoie, whom Popp says he had listed among the top-five prospects.

Defensive-end Bo Adebayo fell all the way to the third round, 18th overall.

“I’m surprised he was still (available),” Popp gushed.

But the top prize this year has to go to head coach George Cortez in Hamilton, who had to take off his glasses and rub his eyes when he looked up to see Laval linebacker Frédéric Plesius still available — at No. 10!

“We had gamed the draft a lot of ways and that wasn’t one of the ways we gamed it,” a bewildered Cortez told the Hamilton Spectator.

“We had no idea that he’d be available then. We re-evaluated what we were doing and took him — and then it turned out the guy we were going to take, we got him, too.”

Oskee-wee-wee, indeed!

The Tabbies’ thievery continued all the way down in the fourth round, if you can believe that.

That’s where they stumbled upon Laval receiver Simon Charbonneau-Campeau, sitting there, untouched — like finding the Hope Diamond under the cushions of your couch.

“We were shocked that he was available,” Cortez said.

IZZY’S KIDZ

Speaking of diamonds in the rough, U of M Bison-turned-Chicago Bear Israel Idonije was in town again, Friday, marking the fifth year of his First Down program, aimed at keeping kids in class at Sister MacNamara School.

Has anyone done more, on and off the field, with a free agent NFL tryout than Brandon’s Idonije, who’s played eight full seasons with the Chicago Bears and helped disadvantaged kids from inner-city Winnipeg and Chicago all the way to Africa?

DELAY MEAN$ BUCK$:

On Thursday I estimated the cost of the new stadium delay at more than $700,000 in lost ticket revenue for the Bombers.

You can probably double that when you factor in the lost income from corporate suites.

I’m told $38,000 is a typical suite price (16 seats, $2,400 per seat), so 40 suites lost for half a season works out to another $760,000 the Bombers were counting on that won’t be there in 2012.

Combined with the regular tickets, that’s around $1.5 million off the books.

Now you know why they’re in such a hurry to move in.

 


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