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April 27, 2022

Elks OL David Beard Looks Back on Draft Night Experience

Every player has a draft story. Oftentimes happy, sometimes not, but never dull.

Take the tale of David Beard, for example.

It’s just past the dinner hour in Edmonton on May 12, 2015, and in his tiny condo, Beard is surrounded by family hoping this will be the night dreams come true for the University of Alberta offensive lineman.

TSN’s live coverage of the CFL Draft is on the television. Fifteen picks have already been made, and Edmonton is on the clock with the seventh pick in Round 2.

Beard’s phone rings. “Why am I getting a phone call right now?” he says to himself. “I’m trying to watch the draft.”

The six-foot-five, 300-pounder leaves the room to take the call. ‘Hello?’ It’s Rob Ralph. Director of Canadian scouting for Edmonton’s CFL franchise.

“He said, ‘Hey, we picked you in the second round,” Beard recalls. “I was absolutely floored.”

“I didn’t even see my (pick on tv) because it happened while we were on the call. I came back in the room and it was already over.”

And that’s how it is that Beard, then 22, actually missed the moment that he’d been working towards for half his life; from playing minor football with the Rams, then through high school at Bev Facey in his native Sherwood Park, and finally four years with the Alberta Golden Bears.

SURPRISE IN THE SECOND ROUND

Beard figured his name would be called at some point over that draft’s seven rounds. Maybe even by the Green and Gold, who had expressed interest. But to be picked high as No. 16? Never once did that cross his mind. Not even when his ringtone started vibrating.

He was not one of the 20 prospects included in the CFL Scouting Bureau’s final ranking for the 2015 draft class. Beard was unable to partake in the CFL draft combine because of wrist surgery, and he had just two years experience playing on the O-line, having converted from defensive lineman.

“In my opinion my draft currency was pretty low at the time,” says Beard. “Little did I know that there was a more long-term version from the (Edmonton) staff and I was obviously very grateful for that. I wasn’t expecting to go as high as I did, but I was very grateful I did.”

CARVING OUT A CFL CAREER

As Beard says, “the rest is history”. Originally planned to return to university for a fifth year with the Golden Bears, he surprisingly made the EE out of training camp and has been lining up on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium ever since.

He has appeared in 84 games over six seasons, including starting all 18 contests in 2018 and again in 2019 when he was named Edmonton’s Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman.

As he readies for his eighth year with the EE, Beard will be watching with the 2022 CFL Draft on May 3 with great interest. Edmonton is selecting first overall and has eight picks in total.

Does he have any advice for those aspiring pros who will be anxiously checking their phones for updates just as he was watching for on TV seven years ago?

“Enjoy the time with your family if you’re in a position where you’re fortunate enough to get drafted,” Beard says. “Don’t let the opportunity of being drafted and getting to try out for a team be taken for granted.”

Fans can tune into live broadcast coverage of the 2022 CFL Draft beginning at 6 p.m. MDT on TSN. For the latest draft night updates on the Elks, follow the team on social media.