Joseph tops CFL dispersal draft
Quarterback Kerry Joseph will continue throwing passes to receiver Jason Armstead this season, only they'll be calling Saskatchewan home.
The Roughriders picked the former Ottawa Renegades players with the first and third overall picks in a dispersal draft conducted Wednesday by the Canadian Football League.
"Our fans have been waiting for a big splash, they have been waiting for the news," Roughriders head coach Danny Barrett said. "If today wasn't big enough, you need to get a bigger pool."
In all, 51 of 77 eligible players were plucked from Ottawa's roster by the league's other eight teams.
The CFL has mothballed the Renegades for a year, announcing on Sunday it has suspended the team's operations for the 2006 season.
"We feel like we've upgraded our club tremendously," Barrett said.
Saskatchewan entered the draft with the third overall pick and then swung a trade with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Wednesday to add the top pick.
Heading to Hamilton is import running back Corey Holmes, non-import safety Scott Gordon and the Roughriders' first-round pick in the 2007 Canadian college draft.
"We got Corey and all the things that he brings," Tiger-Cats general manager Rod Katz said. "But we also got Scott Gordon, who has started in this league and has a chance to come in and start for us.
"We deliberated long and hard what to do and we spoke with four teams about the pick, two that actually proposed trades. But we felt this was something that would definitely make us better."
Joseph, who reportedly is due $350,000 for the 2006 season, was one of the more sought-after players.
In 2005, he became just the third passer in CFL history to rush for more than 1,000 yards (1,006) and top 4,000 passing yards (4,466) in the same season.
"We lost some quality football players and I am sad to see them go," Barrett said. "But at the same time, I'm excited by what we are able to bring in."
Joseph will be No. 1 on the depth chart in Saskatchewan, followed by the inconsistent duo of Marcus Crandell and Nealon Greene.
It was believed Joseph's salary would pose a problem for the community-owned team, but dealing Holmes and Gordon obviously freed up some space under the league's $3.8-million salary cap.
"I'm looking forward to going there," Joseph said of Regina.
"You hate to see what happened in Ottawa. But we've got to move forward."
Winnipeg took offensive lineman Ibrahim Khan with the second overall pick, while the Calgary Stampeders chose non-import linebacker Cam Yeow at No. 4.
The Blue Bombers then acquired the fifth overall pick from Toronto and took offensive lineman Val St. Germain, an Ottawa native.
Rounding out the first round was defensive back Korey Banks (B.C.), defensive end Kai Ellis (Montreal) and defensive end Anthony Collier (Edmonton).
Among the veterans not chosen were receiver Yo Murphy, linebackers Jason Kralt and Donnavan Carter, offensive linemen Mike Sutherland, Sandy Annunziata and Chris Burns and defensive tackle Johnny Scott.
All now become free agents.
With training camps opening May 21, the CFL will focus on finding a new owner to bring Ottawa back for the 2007 campaign.
with files from Canadian Press