Edmonton Eskimos select DL Mathieu Betts in 1st round of 2019 CFL Draft

The Edmonton Eskimos war room before the start of the 2019 CFL Draft.
The Edmonton Eskimos war room before the start of the 2019 CFL Draft. Morley Scott/630 CHED

Before the 2019 CFL Draft started, Edmonton Eskimos general manager and vice-president of football operations Brock Sunderland joked with the media.

“Do you want to know who we are taking at third overall?” he asked.

After some playbook joking, it was determined it all depends on which players go first and second overall.

The Toronto Argonauts had the first overall pick and selected Calgary native and Oklahoma State offensive lineman Shane Richards on Thursday evening.

READ MORE: CFL Draft 2019: Toronto Argonauts take offensive lineman first overall

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats were next and picked Waterloo offensive lineman Jesse Gibbon.

The Eskimos, at third overall, selected Laval defensive lineman Mathieu Betts.

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READ MORE: Edmonton Eskimos with 8 picks in Thursday’s CFL Draft

Watch below: Some videos from Global News’ coverage of the Edmonton Eskimos.

Sunderland said Betts was the player he and the rest of the Eskimos’ football operations staff had their eye on.

“Pass rusher, pure football player,” Sunderland said. “The analogy we use is he’s a Canadian John Chick in his prime.

“He was the highest player on our board and we understand there’s some risk with the NFL but he wasn’t drafted, so that changes things.

“There’s no guarantee he’ll be here but [there’s] a little bit less of a chance that he sticks down there because he wasn’t drafted.”

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Listen below: Eskimos GM and V-P of football operations Brock Sunderland discusses the selection of Laval DL Mathieu Betts.

Betts recorded 21 tackles and nine quarterback sacks with Laval last season. The player recently signed a three-year contract in the NFL with the Chicago Bears.

The Eskimos will play the waiting game with Betts and already have Canadian Kwaku Boateng playing one starting defensive end spot.

Eskimos head coach Jason Maas said he feels his team has the Canadian depth at defensive end to give the team time to wait for Betts.

“Last year, Mark Mackie came in and made plays for us — he plays inside and outside,” Maas said. “We signed Andrew Marshall as a CFL veteran who’s been a guy on special teams, but whenever he’s been asked to play, [he] has been able to do it.  We have Gabriel Bagnell who we drafted last year. Kwaku has been a guy who’s done a good job in his career staying healthy.”
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Listen below: Eskimos head coach Jason Maas says he likes what Laval DL Mathieu Betts brings to the table.

In the second round, the Eskimos selected UNLV offensive lineman Kyle Saxelid, who hails from Elk Grove, Calif. He counts as national player because his mother was born in New Brunswick.

The rest of the Eskimos draft looked like this:

3rd round NO PICK

4th round (32nd overall) – Grand Valley State fullback Peter Cender (6’5, 222 pounds)

5th round (40th overall) – Manitoba Bisons receiver Shai Ross (6’0, 180 pounds)

5th round (41st overall) – University of Saskatchewan defensive lineman Evan Machibroda (6’3, 280 pounds)

6th round (50th overall) – Wilfred Laurier defensive back Scott Hutter (6’0, 195 pounds)

7th round (59th overall) – University of Calgary receiver Hunter Karl (6’1, 185 pounds)

8th round (68th overall) – McMaster University defensive back Eric Blake (6’1, 210 pounds)

Sunderland said overall he felt his team’s draft was successful.

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“Everybody is happy with their picks right now, but it has to unfold,” Sunderland said. “Obviously I project them to be active, probably on special teams immediately at minimum.

“Some of these guys will be on the practice roster, some will be going back to school.”