September 4, 2015

Record: 3–6–0

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Blue Bomber Report

Rice guy finishes first for Bombers

Blue's likely No.1 draft pick impresses with speed, solid footwork, versatility

TORONTO -- Place any organism under a microscope and the longer it sits there the more likely the eye studying it will find a flaw or two.

And so it was a little bit for Rice offensive lineman Scott Mitchell at this weekend's Canadian Football League E-Camp of this country's top college prospects.

The dude is big -- 6-4 and 295 big -- but some CFL types thought he'd 'look bigger', whatever that means.

He 'only' registered 18 repetitions on the bench press, which had some questioning his strength. And despite lining up at tackle for 38 straight starts with the Owls, including as a true freshman, the examining eyes gathered at the University of Toronto Varsity Centre came to the consensus they see him more as a guard than somebody managing the edge.

Shoot, if Mitchell had stayed on the field any longer Sunday somebody might have started complaining about the kid's haircut or the whiteness of his teeth.

But here's the thing: as prospects go -- and, remember, he is still only 21 -- Mitchell also showed more than enough over the last few days to convince a lot of folks he's worthy of being selected first overall by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in May's draft.

His footwork is solid, he lined up at all five spots on the offensive line during drills and flashed moments of dominance in the one-on-one drills against defensive linemen.

Two opinions from those who matter the most right now:

"He has good technique, he's really enthusiastic, he's versatile -- he did all five spots -- so I think he did really well for himself," said Bomber GM Joe Mack. "We interviewed him (Saturday) night and he's a quality young guy. I think he'll be a player in the league for a long time."

"He moved well today," added Bomber head coach Paul LaPolice. A lot of people have talked about his strength and overall size wasn't what you'd like, but everybody here has got something you don't like. I thought he had a good day. He's got good skills."

LaPolice said the E-Camp gave the Bombers more answers to help them finalize their draft strategy. Winnipeg holds the first overall pick, but then doesn't select again until the 17th overall spot and hold just three choices overall. That has the club openly debating whether to give up the first pick to move down in the first round and grab more selections, but Mack also hinted at Sunday's camp that he doubted another CFL team would offer up enough for the Bombers to slide out of the No. 1 spot.

All of this, of course, is no guarantee the Bombers will grab Mitchell first overall, but it's unlikely -- right now, at least -- they trade the pick.

"I don't like to say never, but it would have to be an extraordinary offer for us to do that," Mack said. "It would probably have to entail us getting a quality Canadian that could come in and start for us right away."

Mitchell will now head back to Houston to finish up his sports management degree -- he graduates on May 14 -- and will also prepare for Rice's NFL Pro Day on March 28. As Sunday's proceedings wrapped up there was also a sense of relief on the Ottawa product's mug.

"It's been a long weekend," Mitchell admitted. "It's kinda been stressful because there's been a lot of emphasis on this camp and a lot of pressure. Right now I'm happy it's done, but I'm also happy about how everything went and the whole experience.

"The scouting bureau has me as the No. 2 overall prospect coming in... I didn't even know there was a scouting bureau but I just wanted to prove that I'm worth them putting me that high."

Finally, asked what he would feel about if he was selected first overall by the Bombers, Mitchell grinned and added:

"That would be fantastic. If Winnipeg likes me and they want to me to play for them and I showed them everything I need to show this weekend, I've got no problem with them."

CFL E-Camp


Top-three times in the 40-yard dash:

1. Andre Clarke, DB, York (a transfer from Manitoba): 4.50

2. Anthony Parker, WR, Calgary: 4.54

3. Marco Iannuzzi, WR, Harvard: 4.58


Top-three shuttle times:

1. Edem Nyamadi, RB, Condordia - 3.97

2. Jedd Gardner, WR, Guelph - 4.05

3. Anthony Parker, WR Calgary - 4.09


Top-three cone drill times:

1. Henoc Muamba, LB, St. Francis Xavier: 6.72

T-2. Troy Adams, CB, Northeastern State: 6.75

T-2. Anthony Parker, WR, Calgary: 6.75

T-2. Daud Semalulu, WR, Ottawa: 6.75


Free Press football writer Ed Tait liked:

-- Scott Mitchell, OT, Rice -- Lined up at all five positions on the O-line and established himself as the top prospect in attendance (Baylor O-lineman Phillip Blake is ranked first overall, but is heading back to school).

-- Marco Iannuzzi, WR, Harvard -- Intelligent, great wheels and made tough catches.

-- Jade Etienne, WR, Saskatchewan -- Tall prospect at 6-3, but a bit skinny at 160. Canada West and CIS All-Star last season.

-- Henoc Muamba, LB, St. Francis Xavier -- President's Trophy winner last year as the top defensive player in the country.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 7, 2011 C5

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