Tuesday, April 25, 2017

CFL Draft 2017 Team Preview: Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Thanks to trading a QB they didn’t want for a starting DB and a first round pick, the Bombers are benefiting from both the Argos’ idiocy and futility and have picks #1 and 6 in the draft. When you consider that this team used to have Brendan Taman as a GM (who avoided 1st round picks like the plague) and Joe Mack (who would have been better off trading away his picks rather than using them), they’ve certainly come a long way.

Picks: 7 picks, first selection is 1st Overall

2016 Draft Assessment: Arguably had the biggest haul from the 2016 draft class despite not having a first round pick. They used their 2 second rounders on a quality OL in Logan Couture (who adds to a very strong, young talented core they are building) and an impact player in DL Trent Corney. But the biggest win for them came when they were able to nab Taylor Loffler in the 3rd Round who was a CFL all-star in his rookie season. It was the steal of the draft in retrospect.

Potential Pipeline: DL Andy Mulumba (Kansas City), they also have WR Stephen Alli and DL Christo Bilukidi should either ever decide to play football again.

Current Strengths: Pretty solid across the board.  They have some talented young OL (Goosen, Chung, Couture, etc…) Their oldest Cdn OL is 28. That’s an enviable position. They have the aforementioned Loffler (an all-star in his rookie campaign). Also have guys who would be starters regardless of passport like Andrew Harris and Jamal Westerman. They have good depth at most position. They have also assembled a really strong group of special teamers (something their coach holds near and dear).

Current Needs: Only two glaring needs. One is that they don’t have a Cdn back-up for Andrew Harris (who at some point will start to show some wear from his heavy workload, year in, year out). They have the ability to adjust their ratio if need be so it’s not a massive issue. The other need is a quality WR. Feoli-Guidino continues to exceed expectations but at best he is a token WR. Aside from him its been a parade of high picks who never panned out: Jade Etienne, Rory Kolhert and the Addison Richards (who is supposedly Guidino’s depth). Another strong WR would help add depth behind Guidino and allow for easier ratio adapting if Harris goes down.

Also, they probably need to look at some DL depth. Jake Thomas is alright but they could certainly do better than a Thomas/Brandon Tennant combo at DT.

Prediction: Given the luxury of picking any player they want at #1 it would seem to make the most sense to take a lineman (as a I don’t see a player outside the trenches worthy of the #1 pick). They have pretty solid OL depth for a team that starts 2 Cdn OL so that leaves DL as the logical place to go (barring a trade which I wouldn’t rule out). Eli Ankou makes the most sense to me. He helps solidify the Cdn DT spot and could push to start there. With their second pick look for them to target a receiver. I doubt Vandervoot falls that far but Nate Behar should be there for them. I could see them target an RB like Johnny Augustine in round 2.

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