Ottawa Redblacks sign six from CFL draft, including second-rounder Daniel Okpoko

Photo: AP/Denis Poroy

The Ottawa Redblacks have signed six players from their 2024 CFL Draft class, including defensive lineman Daniel Okpoko, linebacker Dawson Pierre, receiver Jahquan Bloomfield, defensive back Yani Gouadfel, linebacker Zachary Philion, and tight end Russell Dixon.

“We are excited to add these six players from our draft class,” said general manager Shawn Burke in a statement. “We are excited for them to showcase their talents at training camp.”

Okpoko was a full-time starter at San Diego State University this past season where he made 23 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, one sack, three pass knockdowns, and five quarterback hurries. The six-foot-four, 274-pound defender was born in Lagos, Nigeria but raised primarily in Saskatoon, Sask. This year’s eleventh overall pick is also the cousin of University of Manitoba product and longtime NFL defensive lineman Israel Idonije.

Pierre, Ottawa’s third-round pick, made 81 total tackles, three interceptions, one sack, and one forced fumble over 23 career games at Concordia University. The six-foot-two, 219-pound native of Longueuil, Que. was named an RSEQ all-star at safety in 2022 but is expected to play linebacker at the professional level.

Bloomfield caught 33 passes for 665 yards and three touchdowns during his collegiate career at the University of Louisiana at Monroe and Prairie View A&M University. The six-foot, 188-pound target was born in Nepean, Ont. and primarily raised in Châteauguay, Que. before moving to Katy, Texas for high school.

Gouadfel, the team’s sixth-round pick, recorded 26 total tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions, one fumble recovery, and six pass knockdowns this past season at Bishop’s University. The six-foot-three, 200-pound native of Mitry-Mory, France qualified for national status by completing his degree at the U Sports level.

Philion, who was selected in the seventh round, made 98 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss, four sacks, 11 pass knockdowns, two interceptions, and one forced fumble over 27 games at Concordia University. The six-foot-one, 221-pound defender is the son of four-time East Division all-star defensive lineman Ed Philion.

Dixon made three catches for 28 yards over seven games at the University of Connecticut in 2022 and was supposed to play for the CJFL’s Edmonton Wildcats in 2023, though he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. The six-foot-three, 230-pound native of Edmonton is committed to Carleton University for the upcoming season, making him an option for the Redblacks starting in 2025.

The Redblacks have a bye during the first week of the 2024 regular season before hosting the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Thursday, June 13 at TD Place Stadium.