On Wednesday morning, Kavis Reed wasn’t certain whether to retain the first overall pick in this year’s Canadian college draft — or trade him, knowing the Alouettes could use some immediate assistance.
The general manager’s dilemma was answered hours later, when the Als traded the selection to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in a multi-faceted transaction. And, in the process, Reed appears to have improved a team that went 3-15 last season, missing the Canadian Football League playoffs for a third straight year.
Montreal reacquired veteran non-import guard Ryan Bomben along with American receiver Jamal Robinson. The teams also swapped first-round draft choices. The Tiger-Cats now will select first overall Thursday night — but the Als get the second overall draft choice.
Relinquishing one spot, but getting two warm bodies in return, should earn the much-maligned Reed some kudos as he heads into his second year of trying to rebuild the team.
“When we looked at it, this is a situation where we had a need on the offensive line. This gives us a chance to solidify the offensive line from a (Canadian) perspective,” Reed told the Montreal Gazette Wednesday night. “We also feel strongly that, at No. 2, we’re going to get a solid contributor.”iPhone transfer software
The 30-year-old Bomben, 6-foot-4 and 295 pounds, spent five seasons with the Als after being selected in the fourth round (31st overall) in 2010. But former Montreal GM Jim Popp traded him to the Ticats on the night of the 2015 draft for a pair of picks, including the eighth overall selection, which the Als used to take offensive-lineman Jacob Ruby, no longer with the team.
Bomben, a Burlington, Ont., native, was ecstatic over the opportunity to return home at the time. It’s uncertain how he views this latest development; he failed to return a telephone message.
Bomben, an East Division all-star the last three seasons with Hamilton, is heading into the final year of his contract. It’s believed he’s one of the league’s highest-paid offensive lineman, earning approximately $200,000.
Bomben’s addition probably means the Als will move right-guard Kristian Matte to centre, where he would replace 35-year-old veteran Luc Brodeur-Jourdain. Although Brodeur-Jourdain remains in the team’s plans for now, according to Reed, he’ll most likely serve as a backup.
The 25-year-old Robinson, meanwhile, spent the final month of last season on the Ticats’ practice roster after spending parts of two seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars. At 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, he’ll provide Montreal’s quarterbacks with a much-needed large target.
“He’s a very explosive receiver who goes and gets the ball,” Reed said. “We get a receiver who can come in and not only provide quality depth, but push to be a contributor right away.”
Along with trading first-round picks, the Als acquired Hamilton’s fourth round (34th overall), seventh round (56th overall) and the negotiation-list rights to NFL quarterback Alex Tanney. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Tanney just signed with the New York Giants after being released by Tennessee.
The Als relinquish their picks in the fourth round (31st overall) and sixth round (44th overall) this year, along with a second-round choice in 2019.
Montreal has nine total draft choices this year, including two in each of the third, fourth and seventh rounds.
The trade also means the Als should actually use the second overall choice to select a player.
Heading into the draft, there’s no definitive favourite to go first overall although it’s believed receiver Mark Chapman, offensive-lineman Trey Rutherford and defensive-back Godfrey Onyeka are at the top of most teams’ boards.
It’s believed the Ticats will select Central Michigan’s Chapman. He not only appears ready to contribute as a rookie, he would also replace the recently released Andy Fantuz.
That would leave the Als free to choose between Connecticut’s Rutherford and Wilfrid Laurier’s Onyeka. Most CFL teams select offensive-linemen early, knowing quality secondary players, along with receivers, can be found later in the process.
Rutherford has size, strength and mobility on his side along with versatility; he can play a variety of positions. And Onyeka might have been the best player at the league’s March national combine. He ran the fifth-fastest 40, timed in 4.664 seconds.
Either pick would make sense. Matte and left-guard Phil Blake both are 32. Onyeka would provide an option at safety behind Chris Ackie. He can also play cornerback and would give the Als flexibility there besides Tevaughn Campbell and Michael Carter.
“Onyeka matches up with Ackie in terms of dimension, speed and length,” Reed said. “He’s a great cover guy, a legitimate defensive-back that can play.
“We have to develop a smart roster. All too often we listen to the noise around us and you try to make the sexy pick. It’s just that, a pick that will have name or positional appeal. You don’t want to get too cute and end up making a mistake.”
Earlier Wednesday, the Ticats acquired the sixth overall pick from Edmonton while British Columbia, which has the third overall choice, added the seventh overall from Winnipeg.
Notes — The Als, very quietly, have released veteran Canadian safety Daryl Townsend, who spent seven seasons with the team, mostly as a special teams contributor. The 32-year-old was recovering from an ankle injury. … Montreal has signed Woody Baron, a 6-foot-1, 270-pound defensive tackle from Virginia Tech who spent time with the Dallas Cowboys.
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