Checking Down: Toronto aiming for all-Canadian O-line?

TORONTO — With the CFL Draft officially done with, the off-season is creeping to an end. What’s left between now and the beginning of training camp?

Jim Popp and Marc Trestman put together an all-Canadian O-line in Montreal, and after the selection of Mason Woods 10th overall by the Argonauts, could the same thing be happening in Toronto? Meanwhile, the Eskimos have fortified their O-line with a big name from down south.

All of that and more in this week’s Checking Down:

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BC | Calgary | Edmonton | Saskatchewan | Winnipeg | Hamilton | Toronto | Ottawa | Montreal


Johany Jutras/

McMaster’s Danny Vandervoort joins the Lions after being picked third overall (Johany Jutras/

– The highest-drafted receiver since Anthony Parker in 2011, Danny Vandervoort was so excited to learn he was drafted that he accidentally hung up the phone on his new bosses (Chris O’Leary,

– For Dakota Brush, getting drafted was a promise fulfilled for his late mother Teresa. Matt Baker of has more on Brush’s story and his path to the CFL (Matt Baker,

– A week after becoming available, former Lions defensive end Alex Bazzie has returned to the NFL, signing a deal with the Carolina Panthers (Farhan Lalji, TSN).

– Lions GM Wally Buono says rush end, safety and left tackle are all open season coming into training camp (TSN 1040).


International O-lineman Colin Kelly could start at tackle after signing with the Eskimos on Tuesday (

– The Eskimos have reportedly added undrafted running back Johnny Augustine (Justin Dunk, 3 Down Nation).

– Tony Washington and Joel Figueroa could have some competition at tackle from recently-signed international Colin Kelly (Dave Campbell, CHED).

– In addition to the Kelly signing, the Eskimos also announced they’ve released Alex Hoffman-Ellis, Jabari Hunt, Donnie Baggs and Mike Dubuisson (

– The Eskimos announced Tuesday in their annual general report that the team posted a profit exceeding $1.4 million last season (The Canadian Press).

– Eskimos’ first round selection Nate Behar is among three draft picks heading to New York Giants rookie mini-camp (Justin Dunk, 3 Down Nation).


Johany Jutras/

Stamps third round pick Tunde Adeleke was the fastest player at the CFL Combine (Johany Jutras/

– While the Stamps didn’t take an O-lineman until the fifth round, GM John Hufnagel was able to find plenty of athleticism in Sunday’s draft (Daniel Austin, Calgary Herald).

– When Adam Laurensse was playing corner at the University of Calgary, throwing to his side of the field was a mistake. Larensse now gets to stay close to home after being drafted by the Stampeders (George Johnson,

– An all-star from the Arena Football League, Randy Colling comes to the Stamps with an unusual set of credentials for a CFL draft pick (Daniel Austin, Calgary Herald).


Matt Smith/

Chris Jones engineered his second draft as general manager of the Riders on Sunday (Matt Smith/

– Cameron Judge’s linebacker coach at UCLA says the Riders’ second overall pick has the ability to play both middle and outside linebacker (Murray McCormick, Regina Leader-Post).

– Eddie Meredith says he understands why people are questioning him being picked in the fourth round, but the 6-foot-6, 315-pound offensive lineman says he’s committed to returning to football (Ian Hamilton,

– The Riders’ quarterback competition is down to four members after G.J. Kinne announced his retirement this week (Regina Leader-Post).


Iowa Hawkeyes Athletics

The Bombers made Faith Ekakitie the first overall pick of the draft on Sunday (Iowa Hawkeyes Athletics)

– For Faith Ekakitie, there was no suspense heading into Sunday night’s draft. The Bombers’ first overall pick says he and the Bombers agreed on a contract the day before the draft (TSN 1290).

– With so many familiar faces, from Matt Nichols to Mike O’Shea, this year’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers are the picture of stability (Paul Friesen, Winnipeg Sun).

– Bombers GM Kyle Walters says there’s no ‘patting each other on the back’ in Winnipeg as his team still has plenty left to accomplish (Ed Tait,


David Moll/University of Calgary

The Ticats selected Calgary defensive lineman Connor McGough with the fourth overall pick (David Moll/University of Calgary)

– Ticats GM Eric Tillman says he believes Connor McGough will validate his fourth overall selection much like Brandon Revenberg did last year (TSN 1150).

– As an 18-year-old high school student in Enugu, Nigeria, Kay Okafor knew nothing about the sport of football. Now, six years later, he’s a Hamilton Tiger-Cats draft pick (Ben Andrews,


Johany Jutras/

Argos general manager Jim Popp continues to build on the team’s Canadian content (Johany Jutras/

– An all-Canadian O-line allowed Jim Popp and Marc Trestman to free up roster flexibility elsewhere in Montreal. The same could be unfolding in Toronto following the selection of Mason Woods 10th overall (Frank Zicarelli, Toronto Sun).

– The fifth linebacker taken in the CFL Draft, Argos’ seventh-round pick Justin Herdman is already aiming to prove he should have been the first LB off the board (Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press).


Johany Jutras/

Former Eskimos running back Shakir Bell rushed for 425 yards in four games in 2016 (Johany Jutras/

– Marcel Desjardins says the REDBLACKS achieved their biggest goal in Sunday’s draft, which was to add depth to the O-line and D-line (TSN 1200).

– The REDBLACKS are stirring up some competition at running back, reportedly adding former Eskimo Shakir Bell on a one-year deal (Justin Dunk, 3 Down Nation).


McMaster Athletics

McMaster’s Fabion Foote adds even more depth to the Als’ defensive front (McMaster Athletics)

– While the Alouettes were already deep in Canadian content on the D-line, first-time GM Kavis Reed says that’s no reason to shy away from a player like Fabion Foote (Herb Zurkowsky, Montreal Gazette).

– After trying to make it in the NFL this off-season, Fabion Foote says he’s grateful for a new opportunity in Montreal (Herb Zurkowsky, Montreal Gazette).