Roughriders happy with choices in CFL draft

Roughriders happy with choices in CFL draft — but top pick still has eyes on making the NFL.

Riders top pick Cameron Judge still has eyes on the NFL, will attend Texans training camp

UCLA linebacker Cameron Judge was selected second overall by the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the 2017 CFL Draft. (The Associated Press)

Unlike the NFL draft, which takes a few days, the CFL draft is done in just a few hours.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders made nine selections over the eight round process, shoring up their depth on the offensive line — but when it comes to their top pick, Cameron Judge, the jury is still out on whether he will be with the Roughriders when training camp kicks off at the end of May.

Despite efforts to trade down in the draft, the Riders claimed Judge second overall, behind Winnipeg pick Faith Ekakitie.

Riders' head coach and general manager Chris Jones described the UCLA linebacker as very athletic and someone who could give them plenty of options.

"He's a guy that can come in and compete right away special teams wise," said Jones moments after making the pick.

Judge, who was born in Montreal, said it was nice to hear his named called that early in the CFL draft after being passed over in the NFL draft last week but Judge still hasn't got the NFL out of his system.

"I don't have too many expectations, I'm just going there, work hard like I do and just let it play out however it does."

He will attend a Houston Texans rookie camp next weekend, so the Roughriders are, for now, his fall-back plan.

"If things don't work out (in Houston) It's nice knowing I have somewhere to go," said Judge.

"If I don't make a team (NFL) I'm definitely coming up there to play and prepared to give it everything I got, be fully committed to this team."

Riders' boss Chris Jones described their draft night as 'solid.'

When Jones was asked about Judge's plans, he didn't want to comment other than to say they did their homework and look forward to getting him here.

With their second round pick, the Riders selected offensive lineman Dariusz Bladek from Bethune-Cookman.

Jones said Bladek was their highest-rated guard that could come right now and felt fortunate to get him in the second round.

Riders Draft Local

The Roughriders made at least one dream come true when they selected University of Regina Rams receiver Mitch Picton.

Picton's name was called in the fifth round, thirty-seventh overall. He was with his entire family at his Regina home and said he was thrilled when he heard the news.

He was a CIS first team All-Canadian in 2016 with eleven touchdowns and more than 800 yards receiving.

He was a go-to-guy for his cousin, Hec Crighton winning quarterback, Noah Picton.

University of Regina Rams receiver Mitch Picton says he is thrilled to be part of the Roughriders organization. He was drafted by the Riders in the fifth round Sunday night.

Mitch Picton still has university eligibility remaining but his goal is to make the Riders this year.

"Going back there is not a bad option but that's not what I came here to do," said Picton at Mosaic Stadium Sunday night. Picton is one of the very few players who has played in the new facility.

"I'm going to do everything I can to make the football team, it's been my dream ever since I started playing ball and that's what I intend to do."

Rest of the Riders Picks

• Cameron Judge (LB) - UCLA - 1st round

• Dariusz Bladek (OL) - Bethune-Cookman - 2nd round

• Antony Auclair (TE) Laval -  4th round 

• Eddie Meredith (OL) Western - 4th round

• Mitchell Picton (R) Regina  - 5th round

• Danny Sprukulis (OL) Toronto - 6th round

• Alexandre Chevrier (LB) Sherbrooke - 7th round

• Emmanuel Adusei  (DT)  Carleton - 7th round

• Marc Glaude (OL) Montreal - 8th round

The Roughriders training camp starts May 28 in Saskatoon.