If it worked brilliantly once, so why not again? For the second straight year, the Calgary Stampeders have used their first selection in the CFL Draft to take someone who is new to being an actual Canadian.
Last year, the Stamps picked up newly minted Canuck Alex Singleton with their first-round pick, and the Thousand Oaks, Calif., native had an outstanding rookie season, becoming the team’s starting middle linebacker early in the campaign.
This year, the Stamps once again went ‘American’ with their first-round pick, taking Randy Colling, an enormous defensive tackle who has already played four years in the Arena Football League and whose hometown is listed as Arcade, N.Y.
Both Singleton and Colling qualify as nationals because they obtained Canadian citizenship and were able to enter the draft after their normal eligibility years. In 2014, the CFL changed the CBA so that all Canadian citizens are considered national players, thus paving the way for Singleton and Colling to get an edge over their fellow Americans trying to break into the CFL.
This strategy wasn’t available to the Stamps — or anyone in the CFL — just a few years ago.
Collins’s father was born in Hamilton, and his side of the family is from Ontario. His dad ended up settling across the border but it wasn’t until coaches with the Cleveland Gladiators heard about that that he considered becoming a full-fledged citizen.
The Stamps thought so highly of Colling and had worries they wouldn’t get him that they traded up with Winnipeg to get the sixth pick in the draft. It’s no wonder the Stamps are interested just by looking at these numbers — 6-foot-5, 313-lb.
Unlike Singleton, Colling will hardly be considered a rookie when he arrives in Canada because he’s already been an all-star with the Gladiators. He graduated in 2011 from Gannon University and went to some mini-camps in the NFL before finding his niche in the Arena game.
At 26, Colling is three years older than Singleton and is actually only two years younger than seasoned veteran Junior Turner, who would be the projected starter at defensive tackle once he returns from a torn ACL suffered at the Grey Cup. Colling is also older than both Quinn Smith and Derek Wiggan, who are heading into their fourth and third years with the Stamps.
Colling signed a futures deal with the Buffalo Bills back in 2014 and that organization tried to switch him to offensive line, which is something the Stamps could opt to do down the road as well. The switch certainly worked well for veteran tackle Dan Federkeil, who was a force as a defensive lineman during his college career.
Right now, the Stamps have some solid depth at the defensive tackle position when it comes to Canadians, and they seem to always need national help along the offensive line, so it would seem natural to look at that move — eventually.
Overall, the Stamps picked up eight players in the draft, and they addressed some losses this off-season in doing so. With Simon Charbonneau-Campeau retiring, they needed some help at receiver, so they used their second pick to take Julan Lynch from the University of Saskatchewan and used their eight-round pick to grab Richard Sindani from the University of Regina.
With defensive back/special teamer Adam Berger leaving via free agency, the Stamps added Tunde Adeleke out of Carleton University with their third-round pick and Adam Laurensse from the Calgary Dinos with their seventh-round selection.
In the middle rounds, the Stamps picked up Simon Fraser running back Ante Milanovic-Litre and offensive lineman Felix Gacusana Jr. as well as Sherbrooke defensive lineman Alexandre Gagnon.