After months of speculation about what the Saskatchewan Roughriders would do with its first overall pick – the Green and White have selected offensive tackle Josiah St. John.
“When it came down to it, there was no reason to pass on a talent like St. John,” said assistant vice president of football operations John Murphy.
Murphy said St. John’s ability to compete at both tackle and guard could work wonders on the team’s Canadian to American ratio. And after a brief workout with the team on Monday, St. John sold general manager and head coach Chris Jones as well.
“Having the opportunity to see him move around a bit in person … and then actually talk to him on the side after it was over, getting to know him a bit more, that was the deciding factor,” Jones said.
However, the first overall pick himself said he didn’t expect to go where he did.
“I was really just as surprised as you guys were to be here today,” he told media from across the nation on a conference call Tuesday evening.
“There’s obviously pressure being number one, but I’m not really worried about it too much.”
St. John has not signed a contract with the Roughriders yet, but the team and St. John’s representation are working on that, according to Jones.
Still, St. John said he’s ready to get to work, earn a spot and meet his teammates.
“I’m really excited to get down there and get started, working towards contributing to the team early and winning a championship with Saskatchewan,” he said.
The Toronto native played college at the University of Oklahoma. He started four of seven games for the Sooners last season. According to the CFL, St. John is the first Oklahoma player to be picked first overall in CFL Draft history.
St. John is slated at 6’5″ tall and 305 lbs.
The Roughriders have a history of selecting offensive lineman in the CFL Draft. The Riders picked now-retired Ben Heenan the last time they had the number one overall pick in 2011. In 2013, they took another lineman, Corey Watman, who recently signed a free agent contract with the Toronto Argonauts.
In last year’s first round, the Roughriders took wide receiver Nik Demski. It’s the first time the team took a player that wasn’t an offensive lineman in the first round in the last five years.
RIDERS PICK BY PICK
1st overall – OL Josiah St. John (Oklahoma)
24th overall – DB Elie Bouka (Calgary)
26th overall – K/P Quinn van Gylswyk (UBC)
35th overall – DL David Onyemata (Manitoba)
36th overall – LB Alex Ogbongbemiga (Calgary Colts)
52nd overall – OL Alex McKay (Manitoba)
62nd overall – WR Joshua Stanford (Kansas)