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Hamilton Tiger-Cats bolster Canadian talent in CFL Draft

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats selected Queen’s University defensive lineman Anthony Federico with their first pick, 17th overall, in Tuesday night’s Canadian Football League Draft.

The 24-year-old Federico played 23 games over three seasons (2017-22) at Queen’s, recording 87 tackles, 34.5 tackles for a loss and 20.5 sacks.

Hamilton selected Guelph receiver Kiondre Smith in the fourth round (37th overall), Guelph linebacker Jared Beeksma in Round 5 (46), Concordia defensive back Khadeem Pierre in the sixth round (55), Laval offensive lineman Nicolas Guay in Round 7 (64) and UBC linebacker Jaxon Ciraolo-Brown in the eighth round (73).

Smith played three seasons (2018-22) at Guelph where he made 50 receptions for 612 yards and five touchdowns.

CLICK HERE to see all the 2022 CFL Draft picks.

Beeksma played four seasons (2017-22) at Guelph where he recorded 77 tackles, three sacks, one fumble recovery, three interceptions and six pass breakups.

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Pierre earned RSEQ Rookie of the Year honours in 2017 with Concordia, and was named a RSEQ All-Star and U-Sports All Canadian in 2017.

Guay was named a U-Sports Offensive First Team All-Star and RSEQ Offensive All-Star in 2021 while playing at Laval.

Ciraolo-Brown played 17 games over three seasons (2018-22) at the University of British Columbia where he made 77 tackles, one forced fumble, four interceptions and four pass breakups.

Prior to joining the Thunderbirds, the Hamilton native played at Cathedral High School.

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Hamilton used two of their three picks in Tuesday’s CFL Global Draft to select punters.

After the Montreal Alouettes made Syracuse University defensive end Kingsley Jonathan (Nigeria) the first overall pick in the noon-hour draft, the Ticats selected Australian punter Bailey Flint second overall.

Flint played for the University of Toledo in the NCAA where he was a two-time nominee (2020, 2021) for the Ray Guy Award as U.S. college football’s top punter.

Hamilton added to its special teams unit in the second round when they chose punter Blake Hayes from the University of Illinois 10th overall.

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Like Flint, Hayes is a native of Melbourne, Australia, and holds the Fighting Illini’s all-time record for punts inside the 20-yard line, punt yardage and punting yard average.

Hayes was the Big Ten punter of the year in 2019 and made the All-Big Ten First Team that season.

Flint and Hayes will compete against Joel Whitford for the right to be Hamilton’s starting punter.

Whitford appeared in 12 games in his rookie season in the CFL last year and sported a 45.1 punting average with Hamilton.

The Tiger-Cats rounded out the Global Draft by choosing defensive tackle Ralfs Rusins with the final pick, 27th overall.

Rusins is from Carnikava, Latvia and recorded 141 tackles, six sacks and one forced fumble in 37 games at Liberty University.

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The Ticats acquired offensive lineman Kyle Saxelid and linebacker Grant McDonald, as well as the second overall selection in the Global Draft from Edmonton in exchange for the No. 8 and No. 22 overall selections in the CFL Draft and the ninth overall pick in the Global Draft.

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“Any time you move your first pick in the draft, you’re looking for significant value in return and I believe we achieved that today with both players as well as the global draft pick,” said Drew Allemang, Assistant General Manager and Director of Canadian Scouting of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Saxelid, 27, started 16 games at tackle and guard for the Elks between 2019 and 2021 while the 22-year-old McDonald made 16 special teams tackles while playing in all 14 regular-season games with Edmonton in 2021.

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