Draft Day in the Den
For new BC Lions Head Coach Mike Benevides, this is as close to “having his cake and eating it too” as he is ever going to get. Not only does he get the privilege of inheriting a Grey Cup winning team he also managed to acquire the second overall pick in the CFL draft.
The Lions started draft day holding the 4th and 7th picks in the first round. After some last minute deals went down with the Eskimos, the Leos were holding the number two pick, which they used to select DT Jabar Westerman from Eastern Michigan.
The Lions retained their 7th pick, a selection that landed them OL Kirby Fabien from the University of Calgary.
Rounding out the draft for the Black and Orange were OT Matt Norman from the University of Western Ontario and LB Jordan Verdone also from the U of Calgary, teammate of Fabien
With GM Wally Buono orchestrating his draft day wizardy, the Lions were able to grab Westerman, who many believe was the top defensive prospect in the draft. He has a fine family pedigree of professional football with older brother Jamaal a Linebacker for the Miami Dolphins. Westerman, a 6’2” 285lb non-import Defensive Tackle, had 26 tackles and 4 sacks along with impressive evaluation camp numbers.
Kirby Fabien, a 6’6” 290lb Offensive Tackle, was a rock for the Dino’s having started every game the last 2 seasons.
Among his many attributes, coach Benevides is impressed with his reach and body length. “But what you really like about him is — because I want intelligent football players — Kirby is a guy that steps in right away and he knows everything.”
While Fabien has been selected as, and will progress as a Tackle, Matt Norman may be asked to switch from Tackle to Center. Norman was an absolute steal with the 22nd pick overall. At 6’7” and 315lbs Norman was projected to go much higher in the draft, after anchoring the O-Line for the UWO Mustangs.
This impending switch hinges on the fact that the Lions will eventually have to replace multiple-time CFL All-Star Angus Reid.
Jordan Verdone & Alex Ellis
With their last selection BC picked up Jordan Verdone with the 37th pick. The Lions actually forfeited their 6th round pick by selecting Alex Ellis in the 2011 supplemental draft. Verdone has been a stellar LB for the Dino’s, while standing at only 5’11”, he makes up for inches with a fierce tenacity which lead his college coach, Blake Nill, to call him “a bulldog”.
Look for Verdone to make a noise both as a Linebacker and on special teams this year.
If Coach Benevides went into the draft with the idea of getting bigger on both sides of the ball, mission accomplished.
Next mission is to get the lads to camp and start planning a late November trip to Toronto.
Any other questions about the BC Lions just comment below, and I’ll hit you back.
Cheers – The Bartender