Wednesday, April 23, 2014

CFL Draft 2014 Team Preview: Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Picks: 6 picks, first selection is 2nd Overall

2013 Draft Assessment: Predictably awful. The Bomber franchise spent years lamenting how Taman traded away anything resembling a top draft pick and then when Joe Mack started keeping the picks and using them they lamented the bad choices he made. They used last year’s second overall pick on DL Andy Mulumba, which talent–wise was a fine pick but everyone knew he was NFL bound and after seeing significant playing time in Green Bay I doubt he will be seen back in Canada anytime soon. Toss in major injuries to other 2013 picks like Kris Robertson and Mike DiCroce and the fact that Stephen Alli doesn’t sound like football is even in his future and that leaves Carl Fitzgerald as the only thing Winnipeg has to show for 2013. All of the sudden Taman’s “trade it away policy” while in Winnipeg doesn’t look so bad by comparison. Also consider that the only good thing they have done draft-wise in the Joe Mack era (Henoc Muamba) left for the NFL.

Potential Pipeline: DL Christo Bilukidi (Cincinnati), DL Andy Mulumba (Green Bay), WR Stephen Alli (college/med school)

Current Strengths: Cory Watson… seriously I’m struggling to find something else positive to say. It's sad when the new expansion team has better Canadian content. The addition of Donovan Alexander and Graig Newman likely strengthen the safety position that Cauchy Muamba currently occupies in a less than mediocre manner. (Side note: but I find it ironic that Newman bolted from the Riders to get more playing time and may end up being the 3rd string safety in Winnipeg).

Current Needs: They have just 27 Canadians under contract which doesn’t give them a lot of room for error in finding the 20 that will make the roster. Simply put, you name it, they need it. It’s just a matter of which are the top priorities. They would be wise to put OL at the top of that list. Their big attempt to shore up that less than stellar group was the acquisition on Pat Neufeld and quite frankly if they are crazy enough to start him at tackle then great news for opposing defences and bad news for Willy. Either way they need to improve along the OL and have a good chances to do so at #2.

Priority 2 should be linebacker. The departure of Muamba leaves 1 Cdn LB on their roster. Even if you count Newman as an LB, 2 simply is not enough for a team. They will also likely be looking for a WR. There was talk at one point of them thinking 3 Cdn WRs was a possibility but then they ditched Poblah and Etienne (neither are starting material but at least provide depth). Even if the plan is to start Watson and Kolhert (as I expect) they will need more depth there.

Last but not least they may want to think about looking for a placekicker given that they only have 1 on the roster and he has never attempted a kick at the pro level. Unless O’Shea just plans on calling fakes in every kicking situation.

The second overall pick will be used on an O-lineman.  Under normal circumstances Winnipeg would go with David Foucault who is the more highly rated prospect, but this is a franchise that, based on previous drafting futility and the lack of a second round pick, can’t risk the NFL interest Foucault has drawn. They will likely look for a far safer option in Matthias Goosen. The remaining picks will likely be a mix of LBs, WRs and maybe a kicker. Above all new GM Kyle Walters will be looking to make solid picks to distance himself from the mockery that Joe Mack brought to the draft.

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