May 13, 2014

Morris: Lions get some security on draft day

There were plenty of players available in the CFL draft that the B.C. Lions could use, but none were capable of filling the position the team needed most.

Lacking a second quarterback with CFL experience the Lions dealt the fifth overall pick in Tuesday’s college draft to the Ottawa REDBLACKS for Kevin Glenn. It’s a move that brings some security to B.C. as starting quarterback Travis Lulay recovers from off-season surgery on his throwing shoulder.

The trade also unites Glenn, a 13-year veteran who has thrown for more than 39,000 yards and over 200 touchdowns, with Khari Jones, the Lions new offensive co-ordinator and quarterbacks coach.

“As a coach I’m not looking for a backup quarterback,” Jones said. “I’m looking for potential starting quarterbacks.

“With this move I think we got better in that respect in that we have more potential starting quarterbacks.”

The Lions lost backup quarterback Thomas DeMarco to Ottawa in the expansion draft and veteran Buck Pierce retired. B.C. signed Steven Jyles but the seven-year CFL veteran, who sat out the 2013 season, decided to pursue a business opportunity in the U.S.

The Lions were looking to draft an offensive linemen but changed direction after the Calgary Stampeders took Pierre Lavertu of Laval with the first overall pick _  obtained in a trade from Ottawa _ and Winnipeg selected Matthias Goossen of Simon Fraser University second overall.

“We looked at a lot of options before we made the trade,” said Wally Buono, B.C.’s general manager and vice-president of football operations. “You have to value what’s in the draft to what you believe you are going to get, and then what a veteran quarterback can give you.

“We tried to make some trades to maybe move up in the draft that didn’t occur. Then we made an evaluation of the fifth pick in comparison to a veteran quarterback who can help us win. When it was all said and done we decided that the best for this football club at this time was to get Kevin Glenn.”

Glenn is happy about coming to B.C.

“To be honest I didn’t know if anything would actually happen,” the 34-year-old told Vancouver reporters in a telephone interview from his home in Detroit.

“To give up a first-round pick shows a team really wants you. That’s what I was kind of excited about.”

Glenn spent the last two seasons in Calgary and led the Stampeders to the 2012 Grey Cup, which they lost to Toronto. He also played three seasons in Hamilton (2009-2011), five in Winnipeg (2004-2008) and three in Saskatchewan (2001-2003).

A graduate of Illinois State, Glenn has played in 219 CFL games, competing 2,982 out of 4,806 passes for 39,418 yards, 222 touchdowns and 151 interceptions. He has 38, 300-yard games and has a 81-72-1 record as a starter.

Ottawa selected Glenn in the first round of the expansion draft but then signed Henry Burris to a three-year contract and named him as starter.

A frustrated Glenn asked the REDBLACKS to be released, then sought a trade.

“I was excited about the Ottawa situation,” Glenn said. “Within a month or two later that situation had totally changed.

“The way the situation came about just didn’t sit well with me. That’s in my past now. You live and you learn. It’s about how you get over these kind of obstacles.”
Jones and Glenn were teammates in Winnipeg in 2004. The pair were together in Hamilton for three years with Jones as a coach and Glenn a player.

“I think he will fit in very well,” Jones said. “He’s a worker. He’s a guy that has always produced when he’s got the chance to get on the field.

“He’s had a long road and been a lot of places. I think the other quarterbacks will benefit from having him here. Travis will have someone to talk to and rely on and a guy with experience.”

Lulay suffered a partial dislocation of his right shoulder that sidelined him for the final seven weeks of the last season. He did play in the West Division semifinal loss to Saskatchewan.

Lulay finished the year completing 224 of 347 passes for 2,841 yards, 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

The Lions also have quarterbacks Chris Hart, Jarrett Lee and John Beck signed but none have CFL experience.

“You look around the league,” said Jones. “It’s a tough league to play 18 games as a quarterback.

“We know where Travis stands. We know who Kevin is.”

Glenn believes he can bring a veteran presence and leadership to the Lions.  He also likes the way the B.C. franchise operates.

“This from top to bottom is a professional organization,” he said.

“From top to bottom it is ran very well. I am excited to be part of it. I know it’s ran right.”

With their other picks the Lions selected T-Dre Player, an offensive lineman from Northwestern State and Pascal Lochard, a fullback from Laval, in the second round; linebacker Casey Chin from SFU in the third; defensive lineman David Menard from Montreal in the fourth; wide receiver Alex Fox from Bishop’s in the fifth; defensive lineman Dylan Roper from SFU in the sixth; and running back Guillaume Bourassa of Laval in the seventh.