Ottawa Redblacks select Fresno State OL Dontae Bull first overall in 2023 CFL Draft

Photo: AP/Gary Kazanjian

The Ottawa Redblacks have selected Canadian offensive lineman Dontae Bull out of Fresno State with the first overall pick in the 2023 CFL Draft.

The six-foot-six, 305-pound blocker redshirted his first year at Fresno State in 2017 but played seven contests the following season, starting one at right tackle. He became the club’s full-time starter at left tackle as a redshirt sophomore in 2018 and finished his college career with 33 starts over 41 games.

“This is an exciting moment for Dontae and the Ottawa Redblacks,” said general manager Shawn Burke in a statement. “He is coming off a strong collegiate career playing NCAA Division 1 football and will fit well with our group. We’re happy he chose to make the move to Ottawa and the organization is thrilled to have him.”

The native of Victoria, B.C. suffered a broken leg midway through the 2022 season and is still in the process of rehabilitating the injury back to full health. He took part in Fresno State’s pro day on March 30 and performed 20 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, a 25.5-inch vertical jump, and an eight-foot, three-inch broad jump.

Were it not for his injury, it is likely that Bull would have garnered interest from the NFL either as a draft pick or rookie minicamp participant. He is six months removed from surgery and recently told 3DownNation that his recovery is “farther along than most guys would be.”

“I’m very excited for the opportunity to be drafted first overall and to join a great organization like the Ottawa Redblacks,” said Bull. “I can’t wait to get on the field and show RNation what I’m all about.”

The Redblacks clearly consider rebuilding their offensive line to be a high priority as they invested their top two picks in last year’s draft at the position. Ottawa selected local product Zack Pelehos with the second overall pick in 2022 as well as Laval blocker Cyrille Hogan-Saindon in the second round.

John Hodge is a CFL insider and draft analyst who has been covering the league since 2014.