Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Players to watch

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Ten players participating in the Bombers' three-day rookie camp the Freep's Ed Tait will be watching (in no particular order):

84 Mario Urrutia*, WR: A huge target at 6-6, this former Cincinnati Bengals draft pick (7th round, 2008) has bounced around the NFL and is now a co-owner of the Kentucky Xtreme indoor football franchise.

35 Kevin Smith*, RB: Former Detroit Lions starter and Central Florida star figures to challenge for the starting tailback spot. Proved to be an excellent receiver out of the backfield, too, pulling in 80 passes over the 2008-09 seasons with the Lions.

79 Brett Maher*, K: The Bombers are intrigued by the idea of having one kicker handle both the punting and placekicking chores. Stood out at Nebraska, winning awards for both skills and hit 24 of 25 field goals at the NFL Combine and Cornhusker Pro Day last year but was not drafted. Had shots with both the NY Jets and Dallas Cowboys.

96 Kenny Tate*, LB/DE: Could be an intriguing piece in Gary Etcheverry's defence. Exceptional athlete recruited out of high school as a receiver and during his days at Maryland played middle and outside linebacker, defensive end and tackle, safety and defensive back.

91 Louis Nzegwu*, DE: Had two sacks in a pre-season game last August for the Carolina Panthers, but didn't stick. Stints with Miami and Atlanta after a solid college career at Wisconsin that included 27 starts in 48 games.

25 Maurice Leggett, DB: Lots of changes in the Bomber secondary this season and Leggett could be a candidate for a starting gig. He became the first undrafted player in Kansas City Chiefs history to win the Mack Lee Hill Award (top rookie). Ball-hawking type who can also return kicks.

61 Mathias Goossen, C: The second-overall pick in the 2014 CFL Draft is one of those young 'green banana' players who needs to learn on the job quickly. If he's ready, he could be the Bombers' starting centre on opening night. But they also won't rush a player who doesn't turn 22 until October.

46 Jesse Briggs, LB: Smart, athletic prospect. The Bombers traded two third-round picks in order to move up and grab him 17th overall. Said to be a Mike O'Shea clone: versatile, intelligent special-teams demon.

32 Nic Grigsby*, RB: Another candidate in the fight for the starting tailback job. Attended B.C. Lions camp in 2012 and the Toronto Argonauts last year after an outstanding college career at Arizona that saw him score 20 TDs in 28 games. Had tryouts with Miami, Oakland, Tampa and Green Bay before returning to school to pursue a baseball dream that saw him spend a season with the Minnesota Twins rookie squad.

34 Paris Cotton*, RB: Crowded backfield battle has another candidate in Cotton. Led Central Michigan in rushing in each of his last two seasons.

*Denotes import

The QBs

5 Drew Willy: Already declared the starter. Former Saskatchewan Roughrider will get his first real shot to run an attack.

15 Max Hall: Finished up last year as the No. 1 gun. Showed guts and upside in a nightmare campaign.

12 Brian Brohm: Spent all of last year on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats injured list. A second-round pick of the Green Bay Packers in 2008 who put up huge numbers at the University of Louisville (second all-time in passing).

16 Robert Marve: Flashed a big-time arm at the Bombers' free-agent camp in Florida this offseason. Spent time with Miami and Purdue in college before a tryout last year with Tampa Bay

13 Jordan Yantz: U of M Bison QB can flat-out play. Has been in rookie camp before withe the B.C. Lions.

The rookie-camp sked

All practices are at Investors Group Field and open to the public:

Wednesday, May 28: 7-9 p.m.

Thursday, May 29: 2:05-4:05 p.m.

Friday, May 30: 2:05-4:05 p.m.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 28, 2014 C3

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