Veteran quarterback Kevin Glenn and B.C. Lions pivot Thomas DeMarco were among the eight import players the Ottawa Redblacks selected in Round 1 of Monday’s CFL expansion draft.
The others include defensive lineman Motton Hopkins (Montreal), defensive end Jonathan Williams (Toronto), running back Chevon Walker (Hamilton), wide receiver Wallace Miles (Winnipeg), offensive lineman James Lee (Saskatchewan) and wide receiver Carlton Mitchell (Edmonton).
Ottawa general manager Marcel Desjardins said he took the top two quarterbacks available.
"It became a function of having two guys that we felt were the best quarterbacks available that were not going to be free agents," he said. "That's a key component for us.
"Obviously Kevin is very familiar with what we're going to want to do offensively, which is a bonus. And we also have a combination of veteran leadership and younger players so we have all the elements in place that we think are going to help us be a strong team, specifically at that position."
In Round 2, Ottawa picked up defensive tackle Keith Shologan, along with fullbacks Patrick Lavoie (Montreal), John Delahunt (Hamilton), linebacker James Green (Winnipeg) and offensive linemen Joe Eppele (Toronto), Alexander Krausnick (Edmonton), J'Micheal Deane (Calgary) and Matt Albright (B.C.).
Desjardins said he wasn't necessarily looking for offensive players.
"Our philosophy getting into this is to take the best players, it wasn't going to be a function of offence or defence," Dejardins said. "Really, we're sticking to that philosophy."
Argos lose Pottinger
In the third round, the Redblacks chose veteran centre Marwan Hage of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Also drafted were safety Eric Fraser (Calgary), linebackers Jason Pottinger (Toronto) and Jordan Verdone (Montreal), wide receiver Rory Kohlert (Winnipeg) and defensive linemen Justin Capicciotti (Edmonton), Zack Evans (Saskatchewan) and Andrew Marshall (B.C.).
The big question now is whether Hage, 32, who spent 10 seasons with the Ticats, will join the Redblacks or opt for retirement.
Regardless, Desjardins believes Ottawa has beginnings for a competitive squad in 2014 with the 24 players selected Monday.
"This is a solid foundation because it is the guys who have the experience in this league," he said.
Glenn, 34, spent the last two seasons with Calgary but was left unprotected for the draft by the Stampeders.
The 12-year CFL veteran appeared in 15 games last year, leading Calgary (14-4) to a league-best record.
Glenn will be reunited with Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell, who served as Calgary's defensive co-ordinator last season.
'We're sad to see Kevin go, but we're confident that our quarterback situation is in good hands with Drew Tate and Bo Levi Mitchell.'- Stampeders coach/GM John Hufnagel on losing QB Kevin Glenn
“Kevin has been a great contributor to our success the past two seasons and we wish him the best in Ottawa,” Stampeders head coach and general manager John Hufnagel said in a statement. “Kevin was a true professional on and off the field and I thank him for all the great things he has done for us.
“We’re sad to see Kevin go, but we’re confident that our quarterback situation is in good hands with Drew Tate and Bo Levi Mitchell, who benefitted a great deal from having been Kevin’s teammate these past two years.”
Glenn, a Detroit native, completed 223 of 335 passes (66.6 per cent) for 2,710 yards and 18 touchdowns with seven interceptions.
DeMarco, 24, spent the last two seasons with the B.C. Lions, completing 103-of-191 passes for 1,325 yards with 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions while replacing the injured Travis Lulay.
CFL teams protected one quarterback and 10 non-imports for the opening round. Ottawa was then allowed to select among those left unprotected as well as pending free agents but would only own exclusive rights to the free agents up until Feb. 15.
It's for that reason Desjardins said prior to the draft he didn't expect to select any potential free agents in the draft.
"To the players who are being selected today, you're moving to a great city with the excitement and buildup for CFL football is palatable, where you will be in good hands and things will be done right," Desjardins said before announcing the team's first eight picks.
The selection of Walker was an interesting one. Walker rushed for 656 yards as a rookie in 2012 but was supplanted in Hamilton's starting backfield by former USC star C.J. Gable.
Shologan, 28, is a native of Spruce Grove, Alta., and 2008 first-round pick who had spent his entire six-year CFL career with the Grey Cup-champion Roughriders.
Redblacks draft picks
|Matt Albright||OL||B.C. Lions|