May 4, 2013

Barker, Boatmen happy to be back in first round Staff

TORONTO — Perhaps the one disadvantage of winning the Grey Cup is the late selection you have in the CFL Draft. But for Argonauts GM Jim Barker, simply being back in the first round is a victory in itself.

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“We’re excited to be number eight because that means we won the 100th Grey Cup,” said Barker in a phone interview with

“So with the good, there comes a little bit of bad,” he added.

Another reason Barker and his staff don’t mind picking near the bottom of the first round might be the fact that they haven’t held onto their original first round pick since 2009 when they selected Etienne Legare with the second overall pick.

Since then, the Boatmen have either traded away their original pick or traded up to get into the draft’s opening round.

Needless to say, Barker is happy where he is in 2013 for the time being.

“We haven’t had a first round pick so it’s nice for us to have a first round pick this year,” said Barker.

“Anytime you have a first round pick it’s a good thing and we’re trying to maneuver around and this is a very interesting draft this year,” he added.

With a general manager like Barker, however, the possibility of a trade is always there. Never afraid to pull the trigger on a deal that can send shockwaves through the CFL, Barker has an interesting hand of cards to deal with in this year’s draft.

Following his first pick, the Argos will then pick again in the second round, but will have to wait until the fifth round where they have two picks to play with. After that, Toronto has the eighth pick in both the sixth and seventh round.

Barker addressed the likelihood of a trade on draft day.

“It’s a possibility, a lot of it depends on other teams and when you look at this year’s draft it’s not as deep as other drafts have been. The top end players are pretty good but it isn’t as deep,” he said.

“We have the fifth round picks that don’t have as much value as you might have had in other years but we’ll do a great job and hopefully come up with guys that we think have a chance to either play for us now or later.”

Heading into this year’s draft, Barker’s strategy is a simple one.

“We will do the same thing we always do. We’ll say ‘who has the best chance of making our football team” whether it’s this year, next year or the year after,” he admitted.

“My big philosophy is draft guys who you think have a chance to make your football team at some point. And if you don’t think he has a chance to make your football team, don’t take him.”