Ottawa Redblacks select Blessman Ta’ala with first overall pick in 2023 CFL Global Draft

Photo courtesy: Hawaii Athletics

The Ottawa Redblacks selected Blessman Ta’ala with the first overall pick in the 2023 CFL Global Draft and immediately signed to a contract.

The six-foot-one, 291-pound defensive tackle was a standout at the CFL Combine, recording 29 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press along with a 5.22-second forty-yard dash, 30-inch vertical jump, eight-foot, five-inch broad jump, 8.06-second three-cone drill, and 4.69-second short shuttle.

“Blessman was a four-year starter at the University of Hawaii, and played productive football at a high level,” said general manager Shawn Burke in a statement. “We believe he can become part of our defensive line rotation, and gives us flexibility in how we use our roster. We’re extremely happy to welcome him to Ottawa.”

Ta’ala played 64 games over five seasons at the University of Hawaii, recording 142 total tackles and four sacks. He was a three-time All-Mountain West honourable mention with the Rainbow Warriors.

“First and foremost I want to thank God for this opportunity,” said Ta’ala. “I am excited to join the Ottawa Redblacks and I’m looking forward to meeting my new team. Blessed.”

The remaining selection in this year’s 2023 CFL Global Draft were as follows.

1 (1) Ottawa Redblacks — DL Blessman Ta’ala
1 (2) Edmonton Elks — K Dean Faithfull
1 (3) Saskatchewan Roughriders — P Adam Korsak
1 (4) Hamilton Tiger-Cats — LB Penei Pavihi
1 (5) Montreal Alouettes — DL Simon Lars Sandberg
1 (6) Calgary Stampeders — OL Isaac Moore
1 (7) B.C. Lions — WR Jevoni Robinson
1 (8) Winnipeg Blue Bombers — P Jamieson Sheahan
1 (9) Toronto Argonauts — K Alfredo Gachuz Lozada

2 (10) Ottawa Redblacks — OL Lucas Lavin
2 (11) Edmonton Elks — OL Kilian Zierer
2 (12) Saskatchewan Roughriders — DL Habakkuk Baldonado
2 (13) Hamilton Tiger-Cats — P Lou Hedley
2 (14) Montreal Alouettes — P Rhys Burns
2 (15) Calgary Stampeders — LB Lino Schroeter
2 (16) B.C. Lions — DL Junior Aho
2 (17) Winnipeg Blue Bombers — P Karl Schmitz
2 (18) Toronto Argonauts — LB Emmanuel Falola

Selections by country

Australia — 4
Sweden — 3
American Samoa, Great Britain, Germany — 2
Bermuda, France, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico — 1