TORONTO – Linden Gaydosh is used to being in control.
For four years, the Calgary Dinos’ six-foot-three, 314-pound defensive tackle routinely was able to impose his will on the football field. Then this off-season, the native of Peace River, Alta., had ultimate influence on his workout results before CFL officials as well as his conduct in the one-on-one interviews afterwards.
But now Gaydosh finds himself in unfamiliar territory. He has no control over where he’ll be taken Monday in the CFL draft.
“At this point it’s all out of my hands,” Gaydosh said. “That (indecision) has been tough.
“I really don’t know what I’m getting myself into and what’s going on just yet. I can’t wait until the draft when I know for sure.”
Gaydosh won’t have to wait long as he’s the decided favourite to go first overall. What city he’ll call home, though, still remains unclear.
Hamilton has the No. 1 selection and is certainly interested in Gaydosh, flying him in Friday for a meeting with head coach/GM Kent Austin and the club’s brass. That was a day after the Ticats sat down with Dinos linebacker Mike Edem, another projected first-round selection.
But at least three other clubs — Winnipeg and reportedly Toronto and B.C. — have approached the Ticats about trading for the first overall pick.
Austin said Friday he’s willing to listen to other GMs and wouldn’t be against trading the No. 1 selection if the right deal came along.
Gaydosh admits he’s flattered to be mentioned as a potential No. 1 pick and if he goes first overall he’ll enjoy allowing his family to revel in it. But he says it won’t consume him.
“I know it’s just an opportunity,” he said. “It’s not a guarantee.
“I met all the (Hamilton) coaches, watched some film and talked a bit about what my mindset was and what I thought I’d be able to do if I got the opportunity to play for them. But they really didn’t give me much of an indication of what they’re thinking so I’m going to have to wait and see what happens.”
CFL GMs are pretty much in agreement that this year’s talent pool isn’t an overly deep one. And with six of the seven top-ranked draft prospects either returning to school or having secured NFL opportunities, there’s significantly less impact players readily available.
Oregon linebacker Bo Lokombo was the top-ranked prospect by the CFL scouting bureau but he and Iowa offensive lineman Nolan MacMillan (No. 6) are returning to school. Regina defensive tackle Stefan Charles (No. 2) and McMaster offensive lineman Matt Sewell (No. 4) both signed with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, while Eastern Michigan defensive lineman Andy Mulumba (No. 5) signed with Green Bay and unranked C.O. Prime, a linebacker at Wagner College, joined the Indianapolis Colts.
Winnipeg currently has the second pick with Montreal having two selections (third and fifth overall). Saskatchewan is at No. 4 with B.C. at No. 6, followed by Calgary and Toronto before Ottawa completes the first round.
Edmonton’s first pick is scheduled to open the second round at No. 10 overall but GM Ed Hervey has said he’s willing to trade up to the first.
Gaydosh started the 2012 season as the second-ranked prospect for the CFL draft by the league’s central scouting. He earned a second straight West conference all-star nod after registering 13 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and a sack. When the CFL’s final draft rankings were released last month, Gaydosh finished at No. 3 behind Lokombo and Charles.
But Gaydosh certainly gave CFL scouts plenty to chew on leading up to the 2012 season.
He was a second-team All-Canadian in 2011 and attended the CIS East-West Bowl in London, Ont. The year before, he was named the defensive MVP in the Hardy Cup game and in 2009 received top rookie honours by the CIS, Canada West and University of Calgary. He capped his first collegiate season in the Vanier Cup, registering an 18-yard interception return in the Dinos’ heart-breaking 33-31 loss to Queen’s.
Gaydosh said while he’s not totally sure about what lies ahead, at least he has a sounding board. Former Dinos linebacker Sam Hurl was a 2012 second-round pick of the Saskatchewan Roughriders and has spoken to Gaydosh about life as a CFL rookie.
“He says I’ll be stepping into the best time of my life,” Gaydosh said. “He said he had a great year with Saskatchewan and probably the most fun he’s ever had.”
Still, Gaydosh realizes he faces a very big challenge making the jump from the CIS to the CFL.
“Adjusting to the game speed at this level will be huge,” he said. “It’s going to be a whole other step up, a whole lot faster.
“But I’m excited to step up and face that challenge.”
One challenge Gaydosh says won’t be difficult is living outside of Alberta.
“The only reason I stayed at Calgary was so my parents would be able to see me play there and catch a lot more home games,” he said. “With all CFL games being televised they’d be able to catch them at home as well as when I was Edmonton or Calgary.
“If I was to play out East, it wouldn’t affect me much at all.”
Four years at Calgary under Dinos head coach Blake Nill — a former CFL offensive lineman — has prepared Gaydosh for the pro game, he says.
“He runs pretty much a pro style program there,” Gaydosh said. “We’d often be there for six hours a day, starting with meetings, then do practice and have more meetings.
“Hurl said his transition from coach Nill’s program to the Riders wasn’t too bad. Coach Nill has that formula for success and it certainly works for him.”