The 2013 CFL Canadian College Draft has come and gone and it will likely be sometime before the BC Lions see what they got from this year’s group of picks. Some are projects, some may look south of the border. Let’s take a look at the newest members of the Pride as we try and learn a bit more about them.
Hunter Steward – Offensive Lineman – Liberty University of Lynchurg, Virginia. (1st pick, 6th overall)
Heading into the draft, the Lions were looking to address their non-import offensive line depth. The club saw three of its top choices plucked by other clubs by the time their pick came up, and rather than take a risk on a player that was drawing interest from the NFL, the club went off the board somewhat to select Steward, a 6’7” 290 pound lineman from Liberty where he will return next season to complete his final year of collegiate eligibility. The Lions project that Steward; a converted defensive lineman, could develop into a tackle in the CFL, but they will have to wait until 2014 to make that assessment.
His coaches say:
• Very athletic
• Plays with a lot of energy
• Is still learning the position, but is going to be a great football player.
Seydou Junior Haidara – Wide Receiver – Laval University (2nd pick, 12th overall)
Widely regarded as one of the best receivers available in the draft, the Lions selected Haidara with their second pick of the day. At 6’1” 215 pounds, he’s a big bodied receiver who the Lions feel can play multiple positions in the offense, be it wideout, slot or tight end. Head coach Mike Benevides added that Haidara was also at the top of the class in special teams where his career will likely begin with the Lions if he impresses enough at camp, giving him a chance to hone his skills under an already solid set of receivers. If that doesn’t work out, he still has another year of CIS eligibility left.
Haidara speaks about his experience at the CFL Combine.
Bo Lokombo – Linebacker – Oregon (3rd pick, 21st overall)
With their third pick the Lions certainly rolled the dice a little bit, taking Abbotsford native Bo Lokombo, who plays for a solid program in Oregon and is already drawing interest from NFL teams. It may be awhile if ever, before the Lions see Lokombo in black and orange,
Being a local product the Lions have seen a lot of Lokombo and the club simply felt that at that time in the draft, there was too much upside to pass up taking the chance.
With Adam Bighill and Solomon Elimimian in place, the Lions have time to watch the Lokombo story play out, and if it ends up in their favour, they probably drafted one of the best prospects in this year’s class. He and DL Stefan Charles (who was drafted by the Eskimos) were consistently at or near the top of the prospect rankings. Lokombo will be returning to Oregon for another season, with his sights set firmly on next year’s NFL draft when he will be eligible for selection.
Matt McGarva – Defensive Back – Windsor (4th pick, 33rd overall)
The Lions dipped into some family genes with their selection of DB Matt McGarva of Windsor. McGarva’s brother, Sean is a Community Relations coordinator for the club. With the loss of Cauchy Muamba in the off-season, an aging secondary and the departure of Byron Parker, defensive back was another area the Lions were hoping to address.
At 6’0”, 191 pounds, the Surrey native is a hometown product who lists himself on his Twitter account as an “avid BC Lions fan”, so he should be thrilled with today’s events. He was named a second team all-Canadian in 2011 after finishing the season with 48 tackles for the Lancers. He went on to earn his second-straight OUA all-star nod last fall in his final year of eligibility with Windsor, despite playing just four games.
McGarva is a fitness nut and will “cut his teeth” on special teams according to Lions DB coach Mark Washington as the club tries to groom him for a non-import spot in the secondary one day.
Matthew Albright – Offensive Lineman – Saint Mary’s (5th pick, 42nd overall)
The Lions went back to the offensive line with their 5th pick of the day; selecting 6’5” 295 pound Matthew Albright from Saint Mary’s. Winner of a Russ Jackson award in 2012, presented to the player best exemplifying the attributes of academic achievement, football skill & citizenship, Albright played tackle for the Huskies and was named a conference all-star in 2012. His offensive line with the Huskies gave up just 10 sacks last year in 8 games and averaged a league best 201.4 yards a game.
Matt Walker –Defensive Back – UBC (6TH pick, 50th overall).
The Lions stayed local with their next pick selecting UBC’s Matt Walker, who had an impressive invite camp with the Lions in April. Walker will get a taste of the CFL at training camp this season, but will likely return to UBC where at 21, he still has three years of eligibility left.
Walker played high school football in Vernon & from there went to University of Saskatchewan Huskies as a WR. He played one season with the Bratislava Monarchs in Slovakia in the spring 2011 In the fall of 2011 he came to the Okanagan Sun about 4 games in as a WR but transitioned to DB in his 2nd game. Walker played in one exhibition & 1 regular season game in 2012 for UBC before an ACL tear ended his season. He fully rehabbed the injury and is back at full speed (4.59 40 at April e-camp).
(Thanks to Heather Foster for the info on Matt).
Cameron Thorn –Defensive Lineman – Guelph (7th pick, 58th overall)
With their final pick in the Lions added a natural defensive lineman who they hope to covert to the offensive line, selecting Guelph’s Cameron Thorn. The Ontario native also possesses ability as a long-snapper, a valuable commodity in the CFL.
This past season the 6-foot-5, 290lb fourth year player appeared in eight regular season games for the Gryphons and racking up 19 tackles, and one sack. In 2012, Thorn played in the East West Bowl at Western University on the West Team.
More Draft Coverage:
- CFL.ca Draft Board
- BCLions.com Draft Coverage
- BC Lions getting good at rolling the dice. (Lowell Ullrich, The Province)
- Linden Gaydosh selected first overall (TSN.ca)
- Behind The Scenes At The CFL Draft (Kate McKenna – TSN.ca)
- Looking Ahead: Recapping the CFL Draft (TSN.ca)