Cameron Wake is probably the most notable example.
A player who's gone from the CFL to the NFL, and become a star. Wake didn't get much of a shot in the NFL at first, but he's proving why that was a mistake. After being cut in his first year with the Giants, Wake signed with the CFL two years later. He was named rookie of the year and defensive player of the year and after two seasons, he signed with the Dolphins in the NFL. All as he's done there is become one of the dominating pass rushers in the entire league, knotching double digit sacks in two of his four seasons.
The Patriots have signed a guy that could very well become the next Cameron Wake. We've already covered Armond Armstead here at PatriotsLife but an interview with the Toronto Argonauts GM by Mike Reiss really got me even more excited about this guy.
“I don’t think it’s very often that an NFL team can get a first-round pick without using a first-round pick" was the eye catching quote here.
The GM also goes on to say that he expected Armstead to be the highest paid player to come out of the CFL. That's certainly true as Armstead's contract reflects the high level of interest of the Patriots and how they feel he can be a strong contributor, as he was given $655k guaranteed. Very high for a player signed to a reserve/future contract like him.
Here are a couple highlights from the interview, you can read the full thing at the link above.
Did anything stand out to you from a Patriots perspective in their pursuit, or was it more standard business?
“It came down to which team had the most to sell, and what Armond was looking for. I think this year, being on a Grey Cup champion, we went out last year and traded for Ricky Ray – one of the top quarterbacks in the league – and I think Armond saw how important it was having a team that was going to compete to win Super Bowls. There were a lot of teams that were after him. I think he sifted through and it came down to – obviously money to an extent, but I think there were a lot of other factors for Armond. He’s young, he knows he’s going to make plenty of money, and I think being involved in a winning organization is very important to him. I know he was looking very, very closely at four or five teams that were right there, and he made the decision that was best for he and his family.”
What type of player are the Patriots getting?
“They’re getting a 6-5, 280-pound active player who plays very smart. He plays with great leverage. He’s an above-average pass-rusher who plays the run well. He’s a solid all-around player, a phenomenal young man. As good a player as he is, he’s a better person. I think at a young age – he was 21 when he came up here – I think he grew a lot just living in another country on his own. I think his maturation level is going to be higher than if he were to come off a university campus. Not only a great player, but a fantastic person; he’ll be great in the community.”
Can you describe how Armond was utilized on defense with the Argonauts?
“He was used for us both as a nose guard – he’s obviously not Vince Wilfork, that’s not what he does, he’s not a two-gap player in a 30 front – and 3 technique [outside shade on the guard]. He played on the edge some in the 30 front but not much. It wasn’t that he couldn’t do it, it’s that we didn’t play a lot of 30 front. He was moved around inside and was mainly an inside player for us. He ended up being named All-CFL as a rookie, which is very rare.”
Watch Armstead's highlights here