The defending champs watched their fair share of talent walk out of the door this off-season. Future Hall of Fame quarterback Henry Burris called it a career. Big play wide receivers, Chris Williams and Ernest Jackson departed as free agents. Travon Van, Kienan LaFrance, Abdul Kanneh, the list of former Ottawa Reblacks is now long and distinguished. With the eighth spot in the 2017 CFL draft, management was able to address some of those losses.
Ottawa Redblacks Draft Recap
A pair of offensive linemen book-ended the Ottawa’s eight picks in this years draft. In between there were three running backs, two defensive linemen and a receiver. It was clear that replacing Van and LaFrance was the emphasis of the Redblack’s management. Of course, with the recent signing of former Edmonton Eskimo, Shair Bell, it remains to be seen which, if any, of the three drafted running backs will make it to the regular season roster.
Here is a pick by pick breakdown of the picks:
Round 1: OL Evan Johnson, Saskatchewan (9th overall)
Johnson comes in as a 6’4″, 297-pound offensive lineman out of Regina. He played for years for the Huskies playing mainly from the tackle position. At the CFL combine, he clocked the second fastest time in the 40 yard dash with a time of 5:308. He’s got solid technique and a flare for putting his defensive counterparts on the turf. Also present is his ability to stretch out and make blocks down the field when necessary.
Round 2: RB Anthony Gosselin, Sherbrooke (18th overall)
While he’s listed as a running back, Gosselin’s value will come from his special teams skills and his ability to catch passes out of the tight end position. He will more than likely not see too many offensive snaps. Although, his blocking ability may earn him a few trips to the field in short yardage situations.
Round 3: DL Eli Ankou, UCLA (26th overall)
Drafted in the third round, the Redblacks selected Ankou despite being scooped up in the NFL draft by the Houston Texans a week prior. While the people of Ottawa will be wishing the best for their native son during training camp, they will also not be too disappointed should he fail to make the Texans roster. Houston’s loss will be their gain. Ankou did not boast huge numbers in his time at UCLA managing 92 total tackles along with 1.5 sacks in his time as a Bruin.
Round 4: RB Louis-Philippe Bourassa, Montreal (35th overall)
Bourassa is listed at 6’3″ and 251 pounds. He will be mixing it up with Bell, Mossis Madu Jr, and the rest of the Ottawa running backs in camp. Not likely he will make the final roster. He is likely heading for the practice roster, or waived all together.
Round 5: DL Mathieu Dupuis, Montreal (44th overall)
The Dupuis family is no stranger to professional sports. Mathieu’s brother Pascal played in 871 games in the NHL and won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Look for younger brother to try and forge his own name in the sports world.
Round 6: REC Austen Hartley, Calgary (53rd)
Last season with the Calgary Dinos, Hartley accumulated 806 yards on 52 receptions with five touchdown catches.
Round 7: RB Ed Ilnicki, Alberta (62nd overall)
In his time with the Golden Bears, Ilnicki carried the ball 495 times for 2,577 yards and 17 touchdowns. He ended his time in Alberta as the record holder in receptions with 174 total. He’s also second receiving yards (2,357) and caught 13 majors.
Round 8: OL Jordan Filippelli, Calgary (71st overall)
According to his biother, Filippelli was the only Dino offensive lineman to start every game for Calgary in 2016. In 2015, he was named a Canada West All-Star.
Main Photo: Anthony Gosselin at the Eastern Regional Combine presented by adidas. Photo credit: Briana Thicke