On Monday May 7, TSN aired the first two rounds of the Canadian Football League Draft and live streamed the final five rounds on their website.
Kris Robertson sat in front of his television to catch the first two rounds, perhaps more curious than anything to see who he might be competing against in the near future.
While Robertson knew he was going to get selected at some point, he was definitely not anticipating hearing CFL Commissioner, Mark Cohon, announce his name as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers second-round selection (11th overall) on national television.
“I didn’t expect to get drafted on TV. I was completely, completely, completely shocked,” said Robertson. “I was expecting to go in the third or fourth round, but to be drafted in the second round was like…whoa. It threw me off. It was
A native of Pickering, Ont., Robertson spent four seasons with the Concordia Stingers football team, becoming a force in the defensive backfield and in the kick return game. Robertson averaged 115.8 all-purpose yards per game last season as the team’s primary return man, while picking up four interceptions and returning two of them for touchdowns.
Robertson was one of three Stingers selected in the draft. Former Stingers punter Dumitru Ionita was selected 59th overall by the Calgary Stampeders, and defensive back/linebacker Paul Spencer was selected one pick later (the last one of the draft) by the defending Grey Cup champions the Toronto Argonauts.
Robertson’s name shot up the draft boards after an impressive showing at the national CFL Scouting Combine where he ran the fastest 40-yard dash (4.42 seconds), had the highest vertical leap (43 inches), and recorded the longest broad jump (10 feet, 5.5 inches).
Robertson credits the environment at Concordia, as well as people who moulded him, for teaching him valuable lessons during his four years as a Stinger.
“I would say the values of hard work,” he said. “You’ve got to work hard if you want something in life. Being at Concordia, there were numerous pro athletes around from the school, and they all worked hard. I was just following in the footsteps of other guys from the school that made it to the pro level.”
“All my coaches and my trainers, they prepared me for this point. My last year I had a really great defensive back coach in Mike White, and he pretty much got us ready for the pro level.”
The roads to one’s dreams are never without obstacles. Robertson fought through the adversity of having to watch from the sidelines for most of his first two seasons as a second-string player, but once he was given the opportunity to show his worth as a starter he never looked back.
Now he has a chance to establish himself as a professional athlete, and while the high selection represents the culmination of his life’s work, Robertson knows that it’s only going to get harder from here.
“I came from humble beginnings,” said Robertson, “I feel it’s a great accomplishment, but there’s still work to be done. I still have to make the squad; I still have to prove myself at the pro ranks.
“Getting drafted is a very nice feeling, and knowing that [Winnipeg] believed in me, but I know I still have a lot to prove.”