Canadian OL Dakoda Shepley chose Riders over pursuing NFL opportunities

Offensive lineman Dakoda Shepley says he sees a lot of similarities between Regina and his hometown of Windsor.

Shepley recently signed a two-year contract plus an option with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The Riders drafted Shepley in the first round, fifth overall of the 2018 CFL draft, even though he had inked an NFL undrafted free agent deal with the New York Jets.

“I was so pleased with the confidence that they had in me despite my decision to sign with the Jets. Even before I had come out for the five days I knew I wanted to be there,” Shepley said on 620 CKRM The SportsCage.

The 24-year-old was released by the Jets at the end of a strong training camp and spent the rest of the 2018 season as a free agent. He worked out for the Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears in December.

“There was an opportunity for me to try and keep playing in the NFL and go that route and I made the conscious decision to play for Sask this season because I wanted to be in Canada, I wanted to play for a team that wanted me there,” Shepley said.

“I’ve heard all this talk about Rider nation and I want to see what that’s all about.”

Saskatchewan brought Shepley to Regina for a five-day stint last October to practice, work out, watch film and spend the week learning the Riders offensive scheme. It was a chance to see how the team operates and where he might fit along the offensive line.

“I’m fine anywhere,” Shepley said. “I enjoy the right side, but if it’s the left side or the middle they want me I don’t mind.”

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