Blue Bombers’ neg list QB Ian Book selected in NFL Draft by New Orleans Saints

Photo courtesy: Notre Dame Athletics

A future potential franchise quarterback for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers has kickstarted his NFL career.

Ian Book was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft at No. 133 overall. He was added to Winnipeg’s exclusive negotiation list in September 2019.

The native of El Dorado Hills, Calif. lacks prototypical NFL size at six-foot, 211 pounds but makes up for it with his athleticism. He was projected as a seventh-round selection or a priority free agent ahead of the draft, but the Saints coveted him enough to make him a fourth-round pick.

Book completed 63.8 percent of his passes for 8,948 yards, 72 touchdowns, and 20 interceptions in 45 games at Notre Dame. He also rushed for 1,517 yards and 17 touchdowns, showing off his 4.65 speed.

The 23-year-old won 30 games as a starter, breaking a school record set by former CFL Most Outstanding Player Tom Clements in 1974. He also led the Fighting Irish to the Rose Bowl against No. 1 Alabama in January, though they were defeated 31-14.

Book is no stranger to Canada as he spent four seasons throwing to Canadian megastar Chase Claypool. The Abbotsford, B.C. native was selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers and scored eleven touchdowns in his rookie season.

The Saints lost future first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Drew Brees to retirement this off-season following a 15-year stint as the team’s starting quarterback. Former No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston or the fleet-footed Taysom Hill will replace him as the starter, while veteran backup Trevor Siemian rounds out the team’s quarterback room.

Book will have plenty of talent to learn from as he looks to establish himself as an NFL quarterback.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.