The Bombers have had some pretty solid Canadian depth for a few years now (quite the accomplishment given their Taman/Mack history). But this offseason has been a tough one for them. Between retirements and free agency they lost 4 former 1st or 2nd round picks and 3 of their 7 Canadian starters. That’s quite the hit in one offseason. Definitely a need to re-stock the shelves. Having 2 top 5 picks is a good way to start that.
Picks: 9 picks, first selection is 4th Overall
2018 Draft Assessment: Immediate impacts were not huge but it could well be an important group as it develops. They traded out of the first round to get an extra first rounder this year. They then drafted 2 receivers in Rashaun Simonise and Daniel Petermann. Both showed promise in their first year and both could take a step forward in year 2 (particularly the athletic Simonise). Third rounder Arnaud Gendron-Dumouchel retired and the rest were mostly depth players. So beyond the WRs the returns were minimal. 2017 first rounder Geoff Gray finally signed after some time down south which is a boost.
Potential Pipeline: None. Though they do have DL Andy Mulumba, WR Stephen Alli and DL Christo Bilukidi should they ever decide to play football again which at this point is highly unlikely.
Current Strengths: What stands out is their Canadian offensive weapons. Obviously Andrew Harris is a beast. Add in guys like Demski, Wolitarski (who had a breakout season) , Petermann and Simonise and they appear pretty solid… plus their OC knows how to use them all. They also have a group of very solid special teams players like Thomas Miles, Chad Rempel and Mike Miller.
Current Needs: Losing 3 Canadian starters in a year is rough. They have Couture who is ready to step in and take one spot and the hope is Gray is ready as well. Regardless they will need to rebuild depth there as they are suddenly thin. Replacing Loffler is not quite as easy. Hecht is an adequate fill in but they should be looking for better. The thing is, they can start 6 Cdns on O (3 OL, RB and 2 WR) so really they only need 1 defensive starter which could be Jake Thomas. So while depth is needed at safety and D-line it’s not a burning need.
Prediction: I’ll be straight-up shocked if the Bombers don’t use one of their first rounders on an OL. Depending on how the top 3 picks go they could get the 2nd best OL in the draft (who that is is a judgment call). Guys like Jesse Gibbons, Shane Richards or Kyle Saxelid are possibilities. They may also use the benefit of a second first rounder to take a flyer on a guy with NFL interest like say Mathieu Betts. After that look for them to look to build depth at DL and more at OL.