TORONTO — The results are in from Thursday’s first ever CFL European Draft, as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats selected Le Mans, France native and defensive lineman Valentin Gnahoua with the first overall pick.
The 6-foot-1, 235-pound linebacker out of Le Mans, France had a strong all-around performance at the CFL Combine presented by New Era in March, including a 31.5-inch vertical, 4.47-second shuttle and 24 reps on the bench press.
“I’m very excited,” said Gnahoua. “Very proud. It’s been a long journey for me. I’m ready to go.”
Linebacker Thadric Hansen of Flensburg, Germany went to Winnipeg, while the Alouettes took running back Asnnel Robo out of Cayenne, France to round out the top three picks.
For Robo, being drafted by Montreal hits close to home after previously playing for the Montreal Carabins.
“For the past four years Montreal has been like my hometown, so to be able to stay here and play professional football, it’s amazing,” said Robo. “With my friends, with my closest family, with the guys on the team, I have good relationships with everyone here so it’s pretty fun to have a lot of people around me.”
Four of the nine players selected are from France, while Germany was also well-represented with three players.
Thursday’s draft gives teams exclusive rights to their respective selections. The draft saw nine of 18 draft-eligible prospects chosen in one round, consisting of all global players who participated in last month’s combine in Toronto. The selection order was determined by a weighted lottery.
To review the ‘global’ player testing result from combine, click here.
The 2019 CFL Draft takes place on May 2, followed by training camps which are set to open on May 19. The 2019 season begins on June 13 when the Saskatchewan Roughriders face off against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Fans can stay up to date on all the non-stop action at CFL.ca, follow the 2019 season from around the world, and join us at a game. The 107th Grey Cup presented by Shaw will be played at McMahon Stadium in Calgary on Sunday, November 24.
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