Canadian receiver Terrell Jana was a prized ‘value’ pick for Riders in CFL Draft

Photo courtesy: UVA Athletics Media Relations

Terrell Jana’s loss was the Saskatchewan Roughriders gain.

Falling down the board in the 2021 CFL Draft cost the Canadian receiver money and the cache of being a first round pick, but Riders’ general manager Jeremy O’Day was happy to call his name.

“We drafted him, so we had him high, didn’t think that he would fall. We were quiet as the second round was going as he was falling down,” O’Day said in his post-draft videoconference.

“Our first and seconder rounders can come in and compete to play right away. That’s what you want to get out of it.”

O’Day used Saskatchewan’s second round selection, 17th overall to snag Jana. He was still the first receiver picked in the draft, but it wasn’t as high as many personnel men around the league felt he would go. Especially considering his statistics at the University of Virginia.

“Just has a knack for beating zones, good hands, and excited to get him. We felt there was good value,” O’Day said.

“We feel like he has the potential to be a slot receiver. He had a lot of slot play at Virginia, super productive in the ACC.”

With the Cavaliers, Jana made 123 receptions for 1,481 yards — 12 yards per catch — and five touchdowns in 49 games. His best season came in 2019 when he finished with 74 catches for 886 receiving yards and three touchdowns in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

“We liked our receivers before we went into the draft, and now we just added to that. We feel like we have very good receivers in a long lineup. Terrell will only add to that, he’s different from the receivers that we do have,” O’Day said.

The Riders currently have Canadians Justin McInnis, Brayden Lenius, Jake Harty, Mitchell Picton, and Kian Schaffer-Baker on the roster and now Jana is included. McInnis, Lenius, and Picton played in games for Saskatchewan as rookies during the 2019 season. Starting two Canadians from the group of pass catchers will be a ratio option for the green and white.

“It fell in line with the ability for us to change the ratio, if we need to on offence. We want to try to create flexibility for the coaches and allow us to make ratio changes,” O’Day said.

“We’re planning on switching our ratio and if you look at the talent group we have at receiver, we have the ability to go to two receivers if we feel like that’s the best way to go.”

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.