Faith Ekakitie wants to live up to the expectations of a first overall pick.
Winnipeg selected the six-foot-two, 304-pound Iowa defensive lineman No. 1 in the CFL draft Sunday. The move wasn’t a surprise as the 24-year-old Brampton, Ont., native had agreed to terms with the Blue Bombers before being taken.
“Being the first overall pick is a great honour,” Ekakitie said during a CFL conference call. “It does add a little bit of pressure because I don’t want to let any of my family or close friends down and most of all I don’t want to let myself down.
“My goal is to come in and be the best player I can. Hopefully that’s being an all-star in the league and if not, then I just have to continue following God’s plan for my life.”
Top prospects garner NFL interest
A total of 71 players were selected over eight rounds.
Ekakitie surged atop the draft board after four top prospects garnered NFL interest last weekend. Mississippi State offensive lineman Justin Senior of Montreal was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks before UCLA defensive lineman Eli Ankou of Ottawa, Manitoba offensive lineman Geoff Gray of Winnipeg and Laval tight end Antony Auclair of Notre-Dame-des-Pins, Que., signed as free agents with Houston, Green Bay and Tampa Bay, respectively.
Winnipeg took Gray eighth overall while Ankou went in the third round to the Ottawa Redblacks. Auclair was taken in the fourth round by Saskatchewan while Edmonton selected Senior in the fifth.
Senior, Ankou and Gray claimed the top three spots in the CFL Scouting Bureau’s final top-20 prospects list for the draft while Auclair was seventh. Ekakitie finished fifth.
Blue Bombers coveted Ekakitie
“Faith Ekakitie is the player that, quite honestly, we had our eyes on for some time now,” Winnipeg GM Kyle Walters said. “He’s athletic, physical inside, and has the character which we covet in this…