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Pitt Meadows football star drafted twice in 3 days by both NFL and CFL

Giovanni Manu was selected by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Detroit Lions
Offensive lineman Giovanni Manu (right) was selected by the Detroit Lions in the fourth round of the 2024 NFL Draft and by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the fifth round of the 2024 CFL Draft. (Darren Hove Photo)

April was a big month for Pitt Meadows alumni Giovanni Manu, with the massive offensive lineman getting drafted not just once, but twice.

His name was first called in the fourth round of the 2024 NFL Draft, with the Detroit Lions snatching up Manu as the 126th overall pick.

READ MORE: Pitt Meadows athlete becomes first UBC player to be drafted to NFL

This marked a massive milestone achievement not just for Manu, but also for the UBC Thunderbirds and the entire U Sports organization.

In addition to being the first U Sports player to be drafted in the NFL since David Onyemata in 2016, Manu also became the first UBC player ever drafted by the American league.

Three days later, Manu’s name was called once again, this time by the CFL.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers picked up Manu in the fifth round, making him the 46th overall pick.

Only six picks earlier, the Blue Bombers chose another offensive lineman, Ethan Kalra from the Waterloo Warriors, with the team picking a total of four offensive linemen, which general manager Kyle Walters said was a main part of the team’s strategy heading into the 2024 Draft.

“On the offensive side of the ball, we’re projecting six Canadian starters, but we wanted to add some depth there,” said Walters.

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With Manu already being drafted in the NFL, he was an interesting choice for the Blue Bombers, which Walters defended by saying it was a ‘better safe than sorry’ decision.

“We’ll sit and wait, and wish him the best of luck down there, and if it doesn’t work out down there and he wants to keep playing football then it’ll be nice to have his rights. But again, it’s one that’s kind of a long shot,” said Walters.

“At a certain point in the draft, you’re like let’s take a hail mary.”

It was the same raw athleticism that drew the interest of more than a dozen NFL teams, that made Manu a highly-anticipated draft prospect for the Blue Bombers.

“For a big man like that to move as well as he did, that caught everybody’s attention,” said Walters.

“The NFL, like every single football league, is looking for NFL linemen. If you think you’ve found a big guy that might have a huge upside, they’re certainly willing to let him develop down there for sure.”

The Blue Bombers are coming off four consecutive Grey Cup appearances, having won their last championship back in 2021.

Brandon Tucker

About the Author: Brandon Tucker

I have been a journalist since 2013, with much of my career spent covering sports and entertainment stories in Alberta.
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