Hamilton Tiger-Cats give up first-round choice to add pair of national players


Published May 2, 2022 at 10:30 pm

Versatile offensive lineman Kyle Saxelid (No. 56, front centre) has been acquired by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. (Canadian Football League photo)

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats anted their first-round choice to add seasoned national players on each side of the ball, while also moving up in the CFL Global Draft.

On the eve of the regular Canadian college draft, which is slated for Tuesday night, the Tiger-Cats swapped with the Edmonton Elks. Hamilton will get offensive lineman Kyle Saxelid, linebacker Grant McDonald and the No. 2 selection in the global draft. Edmonton received the Nos. 8 and 28 selections in the draft, as well as the No. 9 overall global draft selection.

Both Saxelid and McDonald entered the league as second-round draft choices.

“I’d like to welcome both Kyle and Grant to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats organization and to the city of Hamilton,” assistant general manager and director of Canadian scouting Drew Allemang said. “Any time you move your first pick in the draft, you’re looking for significant value in return. And I believe we achieved that today with both players as well as the global draft pick.”

Saxelid, 27, dressed in 29 games, including 16 starts, for the Elks, over two seasons. He also saw action at both tackle and guard. The six-foot-eight, 301-pound native of Elk Grove, Calif., was originally selected in the second round, 12th overall by Edmonton in the 2019 draft from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he was a starting left tackle. Saxelid is rostered as a Canadian since his mother, Cheryl Fraser, was born in New Brunswick.

McDonald, 22, saw action in all 14 games with the Elks in 2021, registering 16 special teams tackles. The six-foot-three, 235-pound native of Tsawwassen, B.C., was chosen No. 14 overall by the Elks last season. McDonald previously played at the University of Calgary, where he helped the Dinos win the Vanier Cup in 2019.

That season, McDonald was the defensive most valuable player when the Dinos defeated the McMaster Marauders in the Mitchell Bowl national semifinal. He also had a touchdown reception in that game.

The global draft takes place at 12 noon on Tuesday. The main draft is at 8 p.m.

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