The Saskatchewan Roughriders may have to wait for their first selection in the 2018 CFL draft, but they weren’t willing to let any other team grab him.
With the 5th pick in the draft, the team looked to UBC and grabbed offensive lineman Dakoda Shepley.
The 23-year-old turned heads at the combine when he finished amongst the leaders in all categories and led all players in the bench press with 27 repetitions.
Assistant GM John Murphy says he was too good to pass up despite the fact he will start his pro career trying to latch on with the NFL’s New York Jets.
“Athletic ability and the chance that when he gets here he can compete at any spot.” Murphy said. “If the NFL thinks highly enough of him to give him a shot, we think he can work out for us too.”
Murphy added they weren’t going to let the fact that Shepley has NFL aspirations shy away from their decision.
“The NFL has a chance to get the best players in the world. If he turns out to be one of those, than god bless.” Murphy declared. “If you start letting that affect your draft and other teams take better players and you take lesser players because that player might be in the NFL, you won’t be here for too long.”
Shepley admits he didn’t think he would be taken where he was considering he is looking to play south of the border.
“Honestly, I didn’t expect to get chosen as high as I did given the current situation I have with the NFL.” Shepley said from New Jersey. “Hearing my name called by Saskatchewan was certainly a surprise, but a good one. I’m happy to be a part of Rider Nation.”
The Riders had four other picks on the night. They were:
- linebacker Micah Teitz from Calgary—a 2017 Canada West all-star and someone who specializes in play on special teams
- defensive lineman Mathieu Breton from Bishops — the 6 foot 7, 274 pound Breton had 22 solo tackles, eight assists, two sacks and a forced fumble for the Gaiters last year
- defensive lineman Tresor Buama-Mafuta. The 24 year old went to school at St. Mary’s University. In his final season, the 6-foot-3, 315 pounder had 17 tackles, seven assists and 1.5 sacks during his final campaign of football
- offensive lineman Christopher Smith from York University. The 24-year-old is 6-foot-6, 290 pounds and played 32 games over four seasons. The Riders feel they may have gotten a steal with this selection.
All with the exception of Shepley are expected to be at training camp in Saskatoon in just a couple of weeks. The Riders first exhibition game is in Edmonton May 27.
Meanwhile, one Regina Rams player was taken. Running back Atlee Simon was chosen with the 50th overall pick by the Calgary Stampeders. There were no University of Saskatchewan Husky players taken.