The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are taking a closer look at a couple of offensive line prospects this week as the club continues to study what they want to do with their second overall draft pick in next month’s CFL draft.
Bombers GM Kyle Walters said the Bombers flew in Laval OL Pierre Lavertu for a personal workout today and is doing the same for Simon Fraser OL Mathias Goosen on Wednesday.
Lavertu is ranked third in this year’s draft class, while Goosen is ranked ninth, according to the CFL scouting bureau.
More important than their rankings, however, is the fact both men have played centre, a position that is currently unoccupied on the Bombers roster after the club’s veteran centre Justin Sorensen signed with the Edmonton Eskimos in the off-season.
"We’re going to let (offensive line coach) Bob Wylie take a look at these guys, put them through a workout," Walters said this afternoon during a briefing with reporters about the club’s draft preparations.
"The offensive staff will get them up on the board, start talking about some of our systems and see how they react -- some implementation of systems and stuff like that. And just get to know them... We’re just doing everything we can to make sure we make the right pick and have the right guy we want here in Winnipeg."
The Bombers have stressed over and over again that whoever they draft second overall will be expected to start this season and Walters suggested it’s not a coincidence both men the club is flying in for workouts are offensive linemen. "Let’s be open and honest -- we’re looking at the offensive line and we’re looking at centre. That’s a priority for us.
"In a perfect world, hopefully we’ll like both these guys and if Ottawa takes one, we’re perfectly fine with the other. If it doesn’t go that way, now we’ll maybe start looking at another position or we’ll start talking trade a little more serious."
Walters said he’s had some interest from other CFL teams in his second overall pick. "Half the teams have called, but it’s hard to guage the seriousness of it. One team put something together that was almost laughable to be honest with you... Nothing beyond feelers I’d say. And the one serious one wasn’t even worth responding to, to be honest with you."
Walters said the Bombers inquired about flying in other prospects to Winnipeg as well, but were in some cases rebuffed by the players’ agents.
The top two ranked players in next month’s draft -- McGill’s Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Montreal’s David Foucault respectively -- are also offensive linemen, but both men are expected to attract NFL interest. Additionally, Foucault hurt his foot during a workout for NFL scouts and is unable to workout now, said Walters.
Walters said the two top University of Manitoba prospects in this year’s draft -- sixth ranked DL Evan Gill and eighth ranked RB Anthony Coombs -- will almost certainly be drafted in the first round and unavailable to Winnipeg when they make their second pick next month, which doesn’t come until the third round.
Walters said that given the lack of depth in this year’s draft, he doesn’t think it’s likely that other teams would be willing to part with a second-rounder this year so that the Bombers could trade up.