No post-draft regrets for Sunderland, Eskimos brass

EDMONTON — Every general manager and scouting department has their own philosophy when it comes to the Draft.

Brock Sunderland is no different.

The Edmonton Eskimos GM believes that if you aren’t elated with your picks minutes after the selection is over, something hasn’t gone to plan.

“If you finish a draft and you’re not happy with your pick, you did something really really wrong,” Sunderland told a group of media on a post-Draft conference call. “This is kind of the honeymoon stage where you get them and we’re thrilled.  Ask all the other eight right now I’m sure they’re gonna say the same thing.

“So we’re we’re very excited hopefully you guys can come in and develop into some key stalwart players.


The Esks kicked off their Draft with the fourth overall selection where they took offensive lineman Tomas Jack-Kurdyla. Jack-Kurdyla started as a true freshman at Buffalo and in four seasons (2016-19), he appeared in 47 games (40 starts) at guard.

In 2019, the Bulls offensive line was earned an honourable mention for the Joe Moore Award, which is awarded to the top-15 offensive lines in the NCAA.

In the second round, they took Alain Pae, a defensive lineman who moved to Canada from the Czech Republic. Pae moved to Canada to attend the University of Ottawa in 2017 where he appeared in eight games recording 25.5 tackles and six quarterback sacks. He was named to the OUA Conference All-Rookie Team. In his home country, Pae played for the Prague Lions and in two seasons he recorded 46 total tackles, five quarterback sacks, and eight quarterback pressures.

“The size and athleticism”, Sunderland said simply when asked about what jumped out about Pae. “We always say that even if you weren’t evaluating them, he would jump off the film you would notice some that somebody that you want to look at”.

Despite bringing aboard an offensive-minded head coach this year in Scott Milanovich, the focus remained on the defensive side of the ball through the next few rounds as Sunderland looked to stock the cupboards with Canadian depth.


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» A team-by-team look at the 2020 Draft

First, linebacker Malik Tyne was selected 24th overall in the third round after a tenure at Towson University. From 2015 to 2019 he appeared in 43 games recording 75 total tackles, eight-and-a-half quarterback sacks, four forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries.

Defensive back Oludotun Aketepe was the Eskimos fourth round selection. He attended Guelph from 2016 to 2019 appearing in 26 games recording 87.5 total tackles, two quarterback sacks and eight interceptions, including one for a touchdown. He was named a Second-Team OUA All-Star in 2019.

The Esks closed out the second half of the draft focusing on the offensive line and even shored up their special teams by adding placekicker Dante Brown.