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May 3, 2018

Draft Day fun for Dickenson

CALGARY, AB - JUNE 6, 2017: The Calgary Stampeders won their pre-season home game 23-18 against the BC Lions at McMahon Stadium on Tuesday night.

The biggest day of the off-season has arrived.

With the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on the clock first, the Stamps will be waiting until pick No. 8 to make their first selection of the CFL Draft.

“I don’t know who we’re going to get, but I think we’re going to get some good players,” said Stamps head coach Dave Dickenson.

“(With) our success, it seems like we’re always picking late, so we don’t always get the top guys on our list, but it’s still some good players.”

Good players may be an understatement.

In the past three years, the Stamps have snagged players such as Tunde Adeleke, Alex Singleton, Ante Milanovic-Litre, Juwan Brescacin, Pierre-Luc Caron, Lemar Durant, William Langlais, Andrew Buckley.

While there’s a lot of work involved, Dickenson agreed luck does play a part.

“We’ve had some tough luck, especially when it comes to offensive line, and then we’ve hit some gems,” he said. “I think that’s part of what it is. No one knows if it’s the right call until a couple years down the road. It’s fun though, because everyone has an opinion, you all get on board and then you get to see if all of your hard work was justified.”

For instance, Calgary was fortunate to have their guy available when they were on the clock with the sixth-overall selection in 2016.

“We fell into Alex [Singleton],” Dickenson admitted. “He was our top-ranked guy that year and the other people were scared off – he had a contract offer, I believe, from the New England Patriots out so we got lucky on that one.”

The draft gets underway on May 3 at 6 p.m. The Stamps have nine picks.

However, things can change quickly, as evidenced by the multiple trades made by other teams Wednesday, which re-shaped the order of the draft.

With that in mind, that Stamps staff has been working through all the possible scenarios to make sure they’re prepared for anything.

“We find the draft a lot of fun. A lot of work goes into it,” said Dickenson. “It’s almost like fantasy football where you think this could happen or that could happen and then ultimately it is fun when the day hits and it plays out. It’s very uncertain, a lot of things happen you don’t expect.”

When the Commissioner officially puts the Stampeders on the clock, it won’t be one person making the choice of which name to put on the card.

Every member of the staff will help finalize the decision.

“The good thing about our organization, we do allow input from lots of different people so all of our staff are on board with our decisions,” Dickenson explained.

Of course, Dickenson will be one of the staffers who will have a say in which player comes to Calgary.

“What I’m looking for with my guys that I’m visiting with is that football is important to them,” Dickenson said. “I like to see if they were multi-sport guys, if they were captains on their teams – those type of things can give you more than just what you see on a football field. I like to talk to them because I can see what kind of teammate they can be, whether they would fit into our system and our team, so for me, the interview is pretty important.”

The players the Stamps draft will get their first taste of the CFL at rookie camp on May 17, which is where Dickenson can really get a good look at his new recruits.

“The expectation is they come in, be themselves, work hard, and put in the extra time and then go perform when they get a chance in the games,” said Dickenson.

“The one thing about football is you don’t know until the pads are on and the lights are on.”