The Calgary Stampeders selected Laval Rouge et Or defensive lineman Miguel Robede as the first overall pick in the 2005 CFL Canadian College Draft on Thursday.
It was largely speculated that the Stampeders would select McMaster Marauders all-star running back Jesse Lumsden as their top pick, but those plans changed when Lumsden signed a free-agent contract with the NFL's Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
Tom Higgins, senior vice-president of football operations and head coach of the Stampeders, said drafting Lumsden was never in his club's plans, but he elected to keep his cards close to his chest leading up to draft day.
Robede, a two-time Canadian Interuniversity Sport all-star, was the leader of Laval's defensive unit, which was the backbone behind the team's 2004 Vanier Cup championship. The Montreal native began his college football career at the University of Miami before transferring to Laval.
Scouting reports indicate the six-foot-three-inch, 288-pound Robede could step in as a backup defensive lineman in Calgary and see plenty of playing time with special teams. It's believed he has the potential to be a starter one day.
"Miguel Robede was by far in our minds the person who would have the biggest impact for us," said Higgins. "We added another strength to a strength area."
Calgary finished last season with a 4-14 record, but was highly-regarded for its defence and offensive line. Robede will have plenty of mentors to learn from on the Stampeders including Demetrious Maxie, Sheldon Napastuk and Garrett Smith.
Cam Yeow, a linebacker out of Akron, was chosen second overall by the Ottawa Renegades, while the Saskatchewan Roughriders selected two highly-touted offensive linemen with the third and fourth picks.
The Renegades were expected to choose a fullback to fill a void in their backfield, but instead snapped up Yeow. The six-foot, 224-pound native of Surrey, B.C., appeared in 23 games over two seasons at Akron.
Saskatchewan then took offensive linemen Matt O'Meara and Chris Best third and fourth overall, respectively.
O'Meara, a six-foot-five-inch, 280-pounder out of McMaster, was a key member of the Hamilton school's front seven that helped open up the field for Lumsden.
Best, considered by many football insiders as a sure-fire starter, likely won't be of immediate help for the Roughriders. The six-foot-five-inch, 305-pounder out of Duke is expected to go back to school in the fall.
Ottawa traded its No. 5 pick to the Montreal Alouettes, who selected Laval defensive back Matthieu Proulx.
Lumsden was eventually selected sixth overall by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Last season's recipient of the Hec Crighton Trophy as the top Canadian university football player, Lumsden impressed at the 80th annual East-West Shrine college all-star game on Jan. 15 in San Francisco, Calif.
He led the East with 41 rushing yards on five carries in a 45-27 win.
He was nearly unstoppable last year, setting the CIS single-season rushing record with 1,816 yards, single-season touchdown record (21) and career touchdown record (43). He also broke the Ontario University Athletics career rushing mark with 4,328 yards.
The six-foot-two-inch, 226-pound Lumsden has been timed consistently around 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
In Hamilton, Lumsden will be reunited with his former university coach Greg Marshall, now the bench boss of the Ticats.
Slotback Nathan Hoffart of the University of Saskatchewan was picked seventh by his hometown Roughriders, Kentucky running back Alexis Bwenge went eighth overall to the B.C. Lions and the defending Grey Cup champion Toronto Argonauts chose Nick Kaczur out of Toledo as the ninth pick to conclude the first round of the draft.
Kaczur, a six-foot-four-inch, 320-pound offensive lineman, was selected in the third round of Saturday's NFL Draft by the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.
Winnipeg and Edmonton were the only teams without first-round selections.
More selections from the 2005 CFL's Canadian Draft:
10. Calgary, Godfrey Ellis, OL, Acadia; 11. Toronto (via Calgary and Ottawa), Ray Fontaine, LB, Kentucky; 12. Montreal (via Winnipeg), Jeff Piercy, RB, Saskatchewan; 13. Montreal (via Saskatchewan), Thomas Whitfield, DB, Syracuse; 14. Toronto (via Hamilton, Ottawa and Edmonton), Philippe Audet, DL, Laval; 15. Hamilton, Fabio Filice, OL, McMaster; 16. Montreal, Philippe Gauthier, DB, Laval; 17. B.C., Pierre Tremblay, OL, Laval; 18.Toronto, Jeff Keeping, SB-OL, Western.
19. Calgary, John Comiskey, OL, Windsor; 20. Ottawa, Les Mullings, RB, Saint Mary's; 21. Saskatchewan, Matt Kudu, DL, Eastern Michigan; 22. Edmonton, Tim O'Neill, OL, Calgary; 23. Hamilton, Francois Brochu, TE, Boston College; 24. Montreal, Victor Cabral, DL, Georgia Southern; 25. B.C., Davie Lowry, LB, Alberta; 26. B.C. (via Toronto), Patrick Pierre-Louis, LB, UCLA.
27. Calgary, Kyler Jukes, DL, Regina; 28. Ottawa, Cory Hathaway, TE, Tulsa; 29. Winnipeg, Scott Mennie, LB, Manitoba; 30. Saskatchewan, Jean Olivier Gagnon-Gordillo, DL, Eastern Michigan; 31. Edmonton, Anthony Posteraro, K, Graceland; 32. Hamilton, Jeremy Steeves, DB, St. Francis Xavier; 33. Montreal, Mike Ray, K, McMaster; 34. B.C. , Sebastien Clovis, DB, Saint Mary's; 35. Toronto, Tye Smith, OL, Manitoba.
36. Calgary, David Hewson, DB, Manitoba; 37. Ottawa, Adrian Baird, DL, Ottawa; 38. Winnipeg, Martin Lapostolle, DL, Indiana; 39. Saskatchewan, Dustin Cherniawski, DB, UBC; 40. Edmonton, Robert Leblanc, WR, McGill; 41. Hamilton, Iain Fleming, SB, Queen's; 42. Montreal, Kurt Hundeby, OL, Saskatchewan; 43. B.C. , Nuvraj Bassi, DT, Oregon; 44. Toronto, Bryan Crawford, RB, Queen's.
45. Calgary, Brett Ralph, WR, Alberta; 46. Ottawa, Lenard Semajust, FB, Adam State; 47. Winnipeg, Ryan Bisson, OL, Northwood; 48. Saskatchewan, Ryan Gottselig, DL, Saskatchewan; 49. Montreal (via Edmonton), Adam Eckert, WR, Dickinson State; 50. Hamilton, Andrew Paopao, DL, San Jose State; 51. Montreal, Olivier Manigat, OL, Columbia; 52. B.C. Karl Ortmans, OL, Acadia; 53. Toronto, Ian Forde, WR, Waterloo.
with files from Canadian Press