Picks: 6 picks, first selection is 2nd Overall
2014 Draft Assessment: It would have been pretty much impossible for Kyle Walters to draft worse than Joe Mack did. So considering the bar was set low and the draft class was weak, Walters did alright. For only the 2nd time in 3 years the Bombers decided it might be a good idea to draft an OL and took Matt Goosen (2 OL in 3 years in insanity no wonder their line was embarassing). They also got special teamers Jesse Briggs and Derek Jones. They only made 5 picks though and started with the worst Cdn talent base in the league so they still have a ways to go.
Potential Pipeline: DL Christo Bilukidi (Cincinnati), DL Andy Mulumba (Green Bay), WR Stephen Alli (med school/not playing football)
Current Strengths: To Winnipeg’s credit the quality of their Canadian talent has come a long, long way. A lot of that has been thanks to the emergence of some very unlikely players. The combination of Matt Bucknor and Teague Sherman gave them reliable Cdn options on D. Julian Feoli-Gudino had pretty much been given up on but suddenly developed some chemistry with Drew Willy. He and Rory Kohlert give them receiving options. Lirim Hajrullahu is another guy them came out of nowhere to be a pretty solid player. Adding Dominic Picard to youngster Matt Goosen and vet Chris Greaves should help stabilize the interior of O-line (not like it could get any worse). Walters obviously believes that Sam Hurl can be a starting MLB in this league (he is certainly paying him like one). Remains to be seen how that will go but Hurl is a good addition and they have built in depth with Jesse Briggs.
Current Needs: The addition of imports Stanley Bryant and Marc Dile and Cdn Picard will certainly improve that dreadful O-line. That said, now is not the time to get complacent. Gotta keep building it up. Picard is better than what they had but at his age and playing level is not a permanent fix. The Cdn OL depth currently consists of Pat Neufeld (who regular readers will know I think has the blocking ability of a wet napkin), a rookie and a converted D-lineman.
How they choose the structure their ratio this year will also dictate another need. We know they will be starting 3 OL, 1 WR, 1 MLB and one DB/LB (Bucknor or Sherman). To fill the remaining spot they could start 2 Cdn WRs or a Cdn DT. They will need to build depth at whichever option they choose. The offseason acquisition of DL Ivan Brown and trade of Cory Watson would tell me they are leaning towards DL.
Taking an O-lineman second overall last year worked out so well Walters is likely to do it again with the top quality OL up for grabs. Danny Groulx would be my guess. With two second round picks look for Winnipeg to grab a receiver (likely Nic Demski unless he is nabbed sooner than expected and they default to Addison Richards) as well as a DL like Maxx Forde.It might be tempting for Winnipeg to use their 3 early picks to either trade up or down but Walters strikes me as a very conservative guy whose preference will be to hold onto his picks.