The off-season is finally over in the Canadian Football League (CFL) as the Saskatchewan Roughriders are getting ready to head to Saskatoon, where they will call home during the preseason.
They will begin Rookie Camp on Wednesday at Griffiths Stadium.
Last week, the Roughriders selected eight players in the 2023 Canadian Football League Draft.
On Monday’s edition of the SportsCage, Head Coach Craig Dickenson made his weekly appearance on the show.
Earlier in the day, the team agreed to deals with six of their draft picks, including their first-round selection, defensive end Lake Korte-Moore and second-round pick Jaxon Ford.
Dickenson feels Korte-Moore is a versatile player who can help the Riders on their defence and the four groups on special teams. The former UBC Thunderbird’s ability to rush the quarterback was a selling point for the green and white.
“You can’t have too many of those guys.”
Al Ford was “Mr. Versatility” when he played for the Roughriders. His grandson, Jaxon will now have the opportunity to suit up in a green and white uniform like his grandfather after the University of Regina Ram product was taken by Saskatchewan in the second round. Dickenson described the Roughriders selection of Ford as an emotional highlight on Draft Night.
“You could hear it in his(Ford) voice, he was thrilled.”
With their third-round selection, the Roughriders grabbed York linebacker Matt Dean with the 21st overall selection. Another linebacker available at the time was the University of Regina Ram Josh White, but the Roughriders elected to go with Dean.
Dickenson said it was a close call between the two linebackers, but the Riders sensed that the York product was a better fit with the team’s plans at WILL linebacker.
White was selected by Ottawa with the 25th pick in the draft.
Versatility was one of the traits that attracted the Riders to running back Thomas Bertrand-Hudon. Dickenson said their fourth-round pick was one of the underrated players in the draft as he was nicknamed “The Train” at Delaware State.
“He does have some physicality, he’s a real smart guy.”
Saskatchewan felt they got some value with both of their seventh round picks, beginning with Queen’s offensive lineman Evan Floren. The Roughriders head coach thinks Floren brings some size and athleticism to the squad and was surprised that he was available when Saskatchewan had the 57th overall selection.
Linebacker Nick Thomas was the Roughriders second pick in the seventh round. Dickenson noted Thomas was a favourite of his during the interview process.
“A kid that would not give up.”
Saskatchewan’s remaining two draft picks from the 2023 CFL Draft will now pursue their NFL options.
Eighth-round pick Tavius Robinson signed a contract with the Baltimore Ravens this past weekend after the defensive end was selected in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
The New England Patriots took Riders sixth-round pick offensive lineman Sidy Sow in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft.