The Saskatchewan Roughriders selected offensive lineman Mattland Riley, with their first pick, seventh overall, at the 2020 CFL Draft,
From Melfort, Sask., Riley spent the past four seasons at the University of Saskatchewan and played his final season at left guard.
Riley is a two-time Canada West All-Star and U SPORTS first-team all Canadian. He participated in the U SPORTS East-West Bowl in 2018 representing the West.
The six-foot-three, 300-pound lineman helped the Huskies win the Hardy Cup in 2017, bringing the trophy back to the USask for the first time in a decade.
“If you were telling me this yesterday (Wednesday), I probably wouldn’t have believed it. I’m really excited. Obviously, I am a Saskatchewan boy so it means a lot,” Riley said.
“My phone is just going off right now from all of my friends back in Melfort. They’re super excited.”
As to where he will fit in on the team’s offensive line, Riley said he sees himself has an interior player.
“Centre or guard. It just really depends on how I fit in during training camp and I hope to bring the same kind of attitude I played with in college,” Riley said. “That’s playing mean, playing physical and being smart.”
Roughriders’ vp of football operations, Jeremy O’Day, said the team felt it needed to add depth to its offensive line and believes Riley was a good fit.
“After we watched the tape over a long period of time, we just felt really comfortable with what Mattland brings to the table,” O’Day said.
“He’s well-coached, he comes from a good school … and more important than him being a local kid, he’s a very good football player.”
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O’Day said he isn’t in a rush to add Riley to the opening day lineup and is preaching patience, but is leaving it up to him to force his way onto the team.
Despite the uncertainly of the 2020 CFL season due to the coronavirus pandemic, Riley is keeping positive and staying ready.
“The excitement hasn’t quite warned off yet so I’m still extremely happy,” Riley said. ‘Of course, it’s sad, the possibility of training camp being bumped so far back.”
“Obviously, you’re wishing him the best in the NFL, but if it doesn’t work out, we’ll see if there is an opportunity for him to come here.”
O’Day said he likes all of the picks, and expects them to help the team down the road.
“We picked players in all the areas that, when we went into the draft, we thought could add depth” O’Day said.
“Overall, as for the whole draft, we picked a pretty good variety of players.”
The Roughriders finished the 2019 season with a 13-5 record — enough for first place in the West Division.
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