The Ottawa Redblacks plucked receivers Wallace Miles and Rory Kohlert and veteran Canadian fullback/linebacker James Green from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Monday’s three-round expansion draft.
"You never like to lose anybody off your team and it is what it is," said Bombers GM Kyle Walters Monday afternoon. "It’s part of the deal... every team is going through the same thing right now with players they had and fit into their scheme somehow and are now part of Ottawa."
Miles (6-1, 193, North Carolina AT &T) joined the Bombers in October of 2012 and spent most of his time developing on the practice roster. But in two starts near the end of 2013 the 24-year-old Atlanta native flashed some of his upside, pulling in 10 passes for 142 yards and a TD. Those numbers included a six-catch/100-yard performance against the Toronto Argonauts on Oct. 24th. He had been on several media mock Bomber protected lists prior to the draft.
In the second round, the first featuring Canadians, the Bombers lost Green, which was a bit of a head scratcher. A 30-year-old Calgary product, Green led the Bombers in special teams tackles with 20 but never started for them. He’s 30-years-old and a demon on special teams, but his departure is hardly crushing for Winnipeg.
And in the third round the Redblacks grabbed Kohlert (6-2, 212, Saskatchewan), who finished fourth on the club in receiving yards with 493 yards on 45 catches and three TDs. Kohlert is scheduled to become a free agent in February and was the only player in that situation of the 24 the Redblacks selected.
"It really became function for trying to find the best fit for what we were trying to do moving forward," said Redblacks GM Marcel Desjardins in conference call after the draft. "Obviously, we had limited selections with all the teams but probably moreso with Winnipeg. That’s why we went in that direction.
"Green is a player who is going to be able to come in here right away and contribute on special teams. He’s proven he can do it… he fits right in with what a typical CFL non-import fullback-slash-special teamer is all about. He’s tough, he brings some grit. Wallace is just a guy who jumped out for us on film and somebody would fit in real well with what we were trying to do and that’s spread the ball around and get some big guys in there who can run."
Two other ex-Bombers were also selected by the Redblacks in the first round: quarterback Kevin Glenn (Calgary) defensive lineman Moton Hopkins (Montreal).
The Redblacks also added promising pivot Thomas DeMarco of the B.C. Lions, DL Jonathan Williams (Toronto), RB Chevon Walker (Hamilton), WR Carlton Mitchell (Edmonton) and OL James Lee (Saskatchewan).
The second round also saw the Redblacks grab O-linemen Joe Eppelle (Toronto), J’Micheal Deane (Calgary) and Matt Albright (B.C.), defensive tackle Keith Shologan (Sask), fullbacks John Delahunt (Hamilton), Alexander Krausnick (Edmonton) and Pat Lavoie (Montreal).
In the third and final round Ottawa also selected, in addition to Kohlert, centre Marwan Hage (Hamilton), defensive linemen Justin Capicciotti (Edmonton), Zack Evans (Saskatchewan) and Andrew Marshall (B.C.), linebackers Jason Pottinger (Toronto) and Jordan Verdone (Montreal) and safety Eric Fraser (Calgary.
What the expansion draft did do, it would seem, is clear up the QB picture a bit more league-wide. Now that the Redblacks have selected both Glenn and DeMarco, the Bombers are hoping Zach Collaros – the promising back-up to Ricky Ray in Toronto who is scheduled to be a free agent in February – would consider signing here with the starting jobs available having shrunk.
"Face value, I think (Ottawa has) their starting quarterback and backup quarterback under contract moving into next year," said Walters. "We’ll see if that changes between now and Feb. 15th, but it would appear it clears up the picture... for today, anyways.
"From face value, if what happens today stays through (the opening) of free agency, if you’re a free-agent quarterback looking for an opportunity to compete as a starter... in that regard this is a favourable spot here just based on the productivity of the incumbent at that position relative to all the other starters in the league."