The Edmonton Eskimos were in the exact same predicament as every other CFL team on Monday. The Ottawa REDBLACKS selected 24 players (eight imports, and 16 non-imports) in the 2013 Expansion Draft.
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The Eskimos, like everyone else, lost three players and will now have three holes to fill before training camp in 2014.
General Manager Ed Hervey would rather not have lost anybody to Ottawa but at the end of the day, it’s about making the REDBLACKS as competitive as possible from day one.
“This is about the big picture of the CFL and all of us have a hand in that.” Hervey said.
The REDBLACKS selected import wide receiver Carlton Mitchell, non-import offensive lineman Alex Krausnick, and non-import defensive end Justin Capicciotti.
Mitchell had nothing short of a cup of coffee with the Eskimos. He was signed on Oct. 15 and played the final two games of the regular season. He caught six passes for 69 yards. At the moment, the impact of Mitchell’s loss to the team is non-existent.
In Capicciotti, the second round pick in the 2012 CFL Draft will give the REDBLACKS a solid non-import option at the defensive end position. For the Eskimos, Capicciotti gave them some depth.
He was an unheralded run-stopper, but was seen more as a contributor on special teams to the Green and Gold.
The club is very high on 2013 sixth-round pick Elie Ngoyi, who Hervey feels can make an impact on his defensive line at some point.
The most significant loss is the selection by Ottawa of offensive lineman Alex Krausnick who started nine games at centre for the Eskimos in 2013. Knee injuries affected his play, but he was looked upon as an up and comer to an offensive line that had some trouble last season. You could tell by Hervey’s comments that the loss of Krausnick stung the most.
“When you talk about the offensive line, clearly depth is something that we are working on and we will continue to work on,” Hervey explained.
“But that said, you can only protect so many and we’re okay in that regard in that we understand the process but again, we are not going to dwell on it.”
The protected lists were kept private by the CFL which raised some eyebrows by many fans and media across the country. It didn’t bother Hervey who brought a more unique perspective to the table.
"I was a player during the last expansion draft (2002). I did not want to know,” Hervey said. “Instead of having three players, who were affected by today, you could have 40 affected by today and I don’t think any of us wanted to deal with that.”
With the draft now in the past, Hervey says he can put the focus on re-signing his free-agents which he is confident there will be some news on that front very soon.
Welcome back Ottawa, nice to have you back.
Dave Campbell has been on the Eskimos beat since 2004. He’s entering his seventh season as the Eskimo colour analyst for 630 CHED broadcasts. He also hosts The Points After Show, an openline post-game show. Follow Dave on Twitter @Dave_CHED.