Sam Hurl gets 12th overall pick
The Saskatchewan Roughriders are coming off a disappointing 2011 season, when they finished 5-13. Great seasons by a couple of key defensive players may have a lot to do with the team regaining winning ways this season.
The Saskatchewan Riders struck gold in the 2nd round of the 2011 CFL draft when they grabbed defensive back Craig Butler out of Western with the 12th overall pick.
Butler had no problem adapting to the pro game and was one of the few positives in what was mostly a negative season. The team is hoping the guy they took in the 2nd round with the 12th overall pick this year can be just as good and early indications are he might.
General Manager Brendan Taman traded up on draft day to grab University of Calgary linebacker Sam Hurl. It was a move he was more than willing to make.
“We had our eyes on Sam for a while. What we saw in him was a tough, smart, athletic playmaker. When we evaluated him, we saw a good football player,” said Taman. “We all had a feeling he was going to play a long time in the CFL.”
Hurl showed early in camp that the decision the Riders made to move up and get him was paying off as he started making an impression —one that continued right through the exhibition season making him give up his final two years of university eligibility with the Dinosaurs to play with the green and white. He says there was never a decision as to whether or not he would go back if the opportunity presented itself.
“I want to be here full-time. This is where I want to be,” said Hurl. “It’s been my dream to play pro football so when the opportunity presented itself to stay, I was taking it.”
As Hurl looks at his situation, he says the transition from playing in the CIS to being a CFL player has been a great one, but he knew that would be the case and he has done what he has had to do to make the impression he has.
“You have to move your feet at a way higher tempo and you have to think all the time,” explains Hurl. “I think that has been the biggest thing along with working hard and learning from guys like Mike McCullough and Shomari Williams who have been in this league for a while and can show me some of the secrets that have made them be an established player.”
When it came time to making the 53 man roster that would open the season, there was no doubt in head coach Corey Chamblin’s mind that Hurl would be on it.
“Sam’s been pretty impressive,” said Chamblin. “He’s a very quick learner and he’s playing more like a vet now than a rookie. He comes in here with a tremendous amount of energy and he comes out full-speed every day.”
Whether or not Hurl can make the same type of impact down the road that Butler did last year either short-term or long-term can’t be measured right now, but the early indication is that while the Riders are known for their 13th man in the crowd, they might also be known for the 12th man in the draft as both Butler and Hurl appear to be mainstay Canadians for this team for a long, long time.