Holding three picks in the first round, Wally Buono and the BC Lions were in an enviable position on draft day. The Lions could afford to make a move and they did just that, when they traded their third pick of the first round (6th overall) as well their second round selection (13th overall) for Hamilton’s second selection of the first round (3rd overall). With the obtained pick, Wally Buono chose perhaps the best athlete in the draft, hometown talent Jamall Lee.
Let’s take a look at Lee and the rest of the players the Lions selected in the draft.
RB Jamall Lee – Bishop’s
The trade with Hamilton ensured Wally would get his man, and that was running back Jamall Lee from Port Coquitlam, BC. The Bishop’s running back impressed scouts and evaluators at the CFL E-Camp earlier this year, and the Lions feel he is a good enough athlete to play either as a tailback or perhaps be converted to a receiver. Lee put his speed on display when he broke the E-Camp record for the 40, recording a 4.39 time.
The son of former CFL rushing champion Orville Lee, Jamall had a great college season in 2008. Among his accomplishments:
- CIS’ leading rusher with 1202 yards on 182 carries
- Set a new QUFL single-season record for carries (breaking his own record, set in 2007)
- QUFL All-time leading rusher with 4,296 career yards (4th all-time in CIS)
- Set a QUFL record (2nd all-time in CIS) with 391 yards rushing Sept. 19 at McGill
- Led QUFL with 10 touchdowns
Drafting Lee may have been a bit of a gamble for the Lions. He’s currently attending mini camps for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers who he signed a free agent deal with last week after going unpicked in the NFL draft. If the gamble pays off the Lions got a very talented athlete, and a potential star for their offense in the future.
LB James Yurichuk – Bishop’s
The Lions went back to Bishop’s University for their next pick and chose linebacker James Yurichuk with the fourth overall pick. Yurichuk was ranked lower by most scouts, but the Lions saw something they liked in the 6’2″ 222 pound player who has started every game in the last two seasons for his team, and was named team captain in 2008.
Bishop’s coach Leroy Blugh had these points to make about his player:
- Great athlete, relentless to the football, strong knowledge of the game.
- Moves well in pass and run at LB. Solid special teams contributor.
- Young upcoming linebacker with the ability to start early in career
- Will be an immediate contributor on special teams
WR Matt Carter – Acadia
The Lions added to their Canadian depth at receiver when they selected wide receiver Matt Carter out of Acadia with the 5th overall pick in the draft. A four year starter at Acadia, the Kelowna BC native was a 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 AUS All-Star. At 6’2″ and 212 pounds, Carter has a knack for coming down with the ball and was a major weapon on the Axemen’s offense the last three seasons.
His head coach at Acadia, Jeff Cummins described his player as a clutch receiver. “ Matt is very coachable and works at his craft as a receiver and has gotten better every year. He has been our primary receiver for the last two seasons and when we need a big play we go to him”. “Matt has very good quickness, understands windows and works very hard to the best. He runs good routes and uses his stem quite well at the beginning of routes. Matt has consistently made big plays for Acadia throughout his career and will eventually do the same in the CFL.”
OT Matt Morencie – Windsor
When the Lions picked at the 21st position in the 3rd round, they must have been pleasantly surprised when the 3rd ranked offensive lineman in the draft was still available. Windsor’s Matt Morencie was projected to go on the first round in the final CIS rankings. A key contributor to a strong Windsor offensive line, Morencie was a 2007 and 2008 East West Bowl Participant and a 2nd and 1st team OUA all-star in 2007 and 2008 respectively.
Morencie is determined to make his new team comfortable they made the right choice. “I have an extensive skill set and am able to play a number of positions on both sides of the ball. I am passionate about the game and excited about the possibility of playing at the CFL level. Someone will be getting a player who is intensely committed to the game and interested in making himself the most proficient player possible.”, he told CFL.ca.
The selection of Morencie adds another solid young Canadian talent to group that already includes Lorne Plante and Justin Sorenson, and perhaps signals the start of a changing of the guard along the offensive line.
DB Tang Bacheyie – Kansas
The Lions went back to the defensive side of the ball in the 4th round selecting Kansas defensive back Tang Bacheyie. Bacheyie is described as a physical player, who can also provide decent run support from the secondary. “He’s a very physical kid. He’s a good-sized guy. He will hit you and tackle you well. He can run, but he’s a strong run-support type guy.” said his defensive coordinator Clint Bowen.
DL Jonathan Pierre-Étienne – Montreal
With their final pick of the draft, in the 5th round, the Lions selected DL Jonathan Pierre-Étienne. Pierre-Étienne played for Rutgers Scarlet Knights in the NCAA from 2005-2007. has had to overcome a language barrier and a hip problem which had some questioning if he may have to give up the game.