Wednesday, April 27, 2016

CFL Draft 2016 Team Preview: Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Picks: 6 picks, first selection is 9th Overall

2015 Draft Assessment: With the 2nd overall pick they addressed a glaring need at OL with Suhk Chung who started every game as a rookie. He was a pretty raw but should develop further in his second year. Pretty solid pick. Their second pick was at the opposite end of the quality spectrum. They passed on better receivers in favour of Addison Richards. While this was not as ridiculous as the not-forgotten Jade Etienne pick, it was a head scratching decision.  Richards first needs to stay healthy enough for us to know if he was actually worth the 10th overall pick. They also used this year’s first rounder pick to acquire Garret Waggoner in the supplemental draft. He showed well on teams but the team will hope he takes the next step into a contributor on defense given his high cost.

Potential Pipeline: DL Andy Mulumba (Kansas City), DL Christo Bilukidi (Baltimore), WR Stephen Alli (should he ever decide to return to football)

Current Strengths: The biggest boost to their national talent last season came in the form of Jamaal Westerman who was second in the league with 17 sacks. Newly added Keith Shologan with Thomas and Richardson for depth have them pretty good at D-line. Obviously adding an elite Canadian like Andrew Harris is a huge boost. O-line is starting to take shape with Chung and Goosen looking to be longterm contributors. Keeping adds good depth. They still view Neufeld as a starter… I maintain he’s a liability as a starter and his calling in life is being the 6th OL but a) that’s just my opinion and b) as an opposing fan I’m in favour of them starting Neufeld (particularly at tackle). They have really depth at DB/LB with the likes of Hurl, Sherman, Waggoner, Bucknor, and Briggs.  Kohlert, Richards and Bastien have them good at WR. Underrated but important spot: longsnapper Chad Rempel is among the best there is.

Current Needs: The starting line-up looks pretty good… the depth behind it in certain spots is concerning. They currently have just 24 Canadians under contract (which quite frankly reminds me of the Riders under Taman). Among that they currently have just 4 Canadian o-lineman under contract which is crazy! I get the sense 3 starting import OL is a possibility and they have the ratio flexibility to do it but still… 4! They would be wise to also add on the D-line given that they will be starting 2 Cdns there and that increases the depth need. I know the organization has faith in Richards and Bastien but neither have proven much so I would be looking to increase competition there.

Prediction: I don’t buy Walters saying “We’re keeping our 2 second rounders”. He and O’Shea are in win now mode so as much as he wants to say he’s building for the future, he knows he won’t have one if the team doesn’t do well this year. For that reason I see him trading up in the draft to land one top end player as opposed to 2 very good players. Unless Walters is completely loopy, his top pick will be used on the best available OL and I expect his second will go to a receiver.

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