Eskimos choose depth on their offensive line with their 2020 first round pick

Edmonton Eskimos GM Brock Sunderland speaks with 630 CHED on Feb. 11, 2020 after free agency opens.
Edmonton Eskimos GM Brock Sunderland speaks with 630 CHED on Feb. 11, 2020 after free agency opens. Dave Campbell/630 CHED

The Edmonton Eskimos held the fourth overall selection during Thursday’s CFL Canadian College Draft and selected offensive lineman Tomas Jack-Kurdyla from the University of Buffalo.

Jack-Kurdyla played 47 games for the Bulls over the last four seasons, making 40 starts at guard.

In 2019 the six-foot-three, 300-pound football player from Montreal was part of an offensive line group that earned an honourable mention for the Joe Moore Award which is awarded to the top-15 offensive lines in division one NCAA.

Listen below: Eskimos general manager Brock Sunderland on selecting OL Tomas Jack-Kurdyla with his first round pick.

“He was the highest guy on our board at that point, and that’s always been my philosophy is to take the highest player available no matter the position,” Eskimos general manager Brock Sunderland said. “Four-year starter at the University of Buffalo, he plays the position he will play here, so there’s very little guessing.

Story continues below advertisement

“We saw him do it at the highest level of college football at the NCAA at the position he will play here. Very durable, amazing character and off the charts as far as what we want in our locker-room.”

READ MORE: Hamilton Tiger-Cats focus on trenches with first round CFL draft picks

In 2019, Jack-Kurdyla started 11 games at right guard and helped the Bulls to a school record of 3,256 rushing yards and allowed just eight quarterback sacks.

Listen below: Reid Wilkins talks with the Eskimos 2020 first round pick OL Tomas Jack-Kurdyla.

In the second round (13th overall), the Eskimos selected Ottawa Gee Gees defensive lineman Alain Pae (six-foot-four, 238 pounds). Pae is a native of the Czech Republic and last played in 2017 when he recorded 25.5 tackles and six quarterback sacks in eight games for the Gee Gees, earning OUA All-Conference Rookie honours.

Story continues below advertisement

Pae tried to enter this year’s CFL Global Draft which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was able to earn a Canadian designation, making him eligible for Thursday’s CFL Draft.

In the third round (24th overall), the Eskimos picked Towson University linebacker Malik Tyne (six-foot-three, 235 pounds). Tyne played 43 games in four seasons.

In 2019Y, Tyne played 12 games, recording 19 tackles, nine quarterback pressures, two quarterback sacks, three tackles for a loss, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles. He was used primarily in blitz packages.

Watch below: Morley Scott and Dave Campbell break down the 2020 CFL draft

Guelph Gryphons defensive back Dotun Aketepe was picked in the fouth round (32nd overall).

Aketepe was selected as an OUA Second Team All-Star in 2019 after averaging five tackles per game and recording three interceptions (returning one for a touchdown) and one quarterback sack.

In the fifth round (41st overall), the Eskimos selected Fort Hays State kicker Dante Brown who twice was named the conference’s special teams player of the year.

In 35 games, Brown connected on 84 per cent of his field goal attempts while recording a 42.4 yard punt average.

Story continues below advertisement

The Eskimos in the sixth round (50th overall) took Wagner offensive line and Fort Erie, Ont., native Chris Gangarossa (six-foot-six, 305 pounds) who started the majority of his games at left tackle.

The Eskimos stayed along the offensive line in the seventh round (57th overall) picking Nicolas Summach from the University of Saskatchewan (six-foot-eight, 330 pounds). Summach played alongside Mattalind Riley who was selected seventh overall by the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

The Eskimos with their second pick of round seven (59th overall) selected York defensive end Rossini Sandjong (six-foot-two, 235 pounds).

In the eighth and final round, the Eskimos selected Carleton running back Mitch Raper.

With the 2020 CFL Draft now in the books, the league faces an uncertain future because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s not known yet when or if a season will be played this year.

Sunderland said in the meantime, he will continue to sign players but noted it’s a very strange feeling for him right now.

“It’s a unique period for us for sure, and it was nice having this because [it’s] something to do all day and for the past several months… [it’s been] something to focus on while we were in the isolation period,” he said.
Story continues below advertisement

“We spoke with all our people on our own conference call away from the league, and we all commented, ‘Geez, tomorrow, what are we going to do?’”

Listen below: Eskimos general manager Brock Sunderland speaks about his 2020 CFL Draft class and the uncertainty that lies ahead.