Roughriders open to trades for 1st pick in CFL draft

April 15, 2016 - 5:21pm Updated: April 18, 2016 - 7:42am
Roughriders mini camp in Florida April 2016.
Submitted by Bob Pringle
Roughriders mini camp in Florida April 2016.

The Roughriders are open for business when it comes to their first overall pick in the CFL Draft, but will only trade it away if it makes sense long term.

Assistant vice president of football operations John Murphy told The Green Zone that they’ve received “three or four” calls recently about the pick, but there are a lot of intangibles to consider if they were to keep it or trade it.

The biggest one being which players are getting looks from the NFL and who will actually be available if they are drafted into the CFL.

Murphy said if there was a player that captivated the front office enough they would draft him, forgoing some of the other things they might want, like a second-round pick. He emphasized that success in the CFL comes from strong Canadian talent.

“[The] critical factor of any organization that wants to be competitive for a significant period of time is your Canadian content has to be able to develop and flourish and become a really important part of your team.”

Team happy with Durant’s progress

Perhaps the even bigger question than if the Riders will keep the draft pick is when Darian Durant will play his first game of the season.

John Murphy couldn’t say if Durant will be ready to start for the team’s first pre-season game on June 11, adding this season comes with an odd start: a first-week bye.

Not in doubt is Durant’s eagerness.

“He wants to be on the field as soon as possible,” Murphy said.

The club is optimistic with Durant’s progress, but they don’t want to put too much on him too soon.

“Most importantly we want to him to be active for as much of the 2016 campaign as possible, so whatever that strategy becomes … that’s the direction we’re going to take.”

Overall, Murphy says he and the coaches are happy with the steps they’ve seen from Durant from February to April.

If Durant continues at that pace, they think he’ll be ready to go early in training camp.