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This article was published 11/5/2015 (1139 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
If a football team takes its personality from the men along the line of scrimmage — as the old adage goes — then the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are a whole lot meaner, surlier and, yes, dirtier today.
And Drew Willy, the man who spent more time picking himself off the turf than any other Canadian Football League quarterback last season, likely couldn’t be happier with the attitude adjustment.
The Bombers nabbed University of Calgary guard Sukh Chungh with the second overall pick in the 2015 Canadian Draft Tuesday night, a 6-4, 300-pound man mountain TSN draft guru Duane Forde referred to as ‘a nasty piece of business.’
"I think it’s fair to say that. I play with a little bit of an edge," said Chungh in a conference call with the Winnipeg media. "I feel like the game needs to be played aggressively, especially as a guard or any O-lineman and I feel like I’m going to bring that to the Blue Bombers. Going through the process of university and being new to the game of football I had to make it up somewhere and I chose the aggressive path. That’s just my DNA.
"It’s a great feeling. I’m thrilled. I’m excited and I couldn’t be happier to be a Blue Bomber."
An Indo-Canadian native of Port Coquitlam, B.C., the 23-year-old Chungh joins a revamped Bomber O-line that now features free-agent additions Stanley Bryant and Marc Dile, both imports, as well as Canadian veteran centre Dominic Picard — a man notorious for blurring the line between what would be considered acceptable and criminal behaviour in the trenches.
And that offensive line makeover was absolutely, positively by design.
"That’s what we want to be," said GM Kyle Walters. "We talked about playing in the West, we talked about establishing the run game and being more physical up front. Dom Picard brings that and I’m telling you, when you watch the film there is no comparison who the most-physical offensive lineman is in this draft, bar none: it’s Sukh Chungh. We’re going to get him with (offensive line coach) Bob Wylie and coach him up on the technical components of the offensive line, which he may have been behind some of the other guys. But he’s a damn good football player and his toughness and physicality is what he’ll bring to this team. He won’t be intimidated with anybody from Day 1 of training camp to compete with anybody."
Walters said that compete level popped out on the film in Chungh’s finishing of blocks and it was hammered home in a discussion with former Dinos head coach Blake Nill, now at UBC.
"He is always looking to hit somebody, always looking to finish somebody," Walters added. "At the Eval Camp (CFL Scouting Combine) every time he went up there was almost a fight on every single rep he took. There’s an edge to him. His university coach, we were comparing (Sean) McEwen (also of Calgary) and Sukh and he said, ‘They’re both good football players but the one guy I’d want in a dark alley with me is Sukh Chungh and I’ll take him over any player.’ That kind of sums him up."
The Bombers used their next two picks, 11th and 15th overall, to add players who could push for work as starters down the road. Addison Richards is a big (6-5, 205) and productive receiver offensive coordinator Marcel Bellefeuille ranked No. 1 among pass catchers while Brendan Morgan, a defensive back, will get looks both at safety and cornerback. Richards was selected five picks after University of Manitoba slotback Nic Demski went sixth overall to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
"It’ll be interesting to be on the other side," said Richards. "I’m super excited to be a Bomber, but that’ll be cool. I know that rivalry is a big deal here and a big deal there. Those games will be a lot of fun."
The club’s fourth, fifth and sixth-round selections (they did not have a third rounder) — fullback Christophe Normand, defensive lineman Ettore Lattanzio and linebacker Justin Warden, were all selected to also make the incumbents squirm in training camp.
"We just don’t want guys showing up at training camp and handed jobs," said Walters. "What this has done is ensured that Week 1 in Saskatchewan the guys dressing for us have had some competition and have had to beat somebody out at their position and that’s going to make us a better football team."
A look at the Bombers 2015 Canadian Draft class:
Selected: First round, 2nd overall
School: University of Calgary
Ht: 6-4. Wt: 305
Born: March 4, 1992 in Port Coquitlman, B.C.
Notable: Was named a CIS All-Canadian and Canada West All-Star for two straight seasons. TSN draft guru Duane Forde referred to him as a ‘nasty piece of business.’
Selected: Second round, 11th overall
Position: Wide receiver/slotback
School: University of Regina
Ht: 6-5. Wt: 205
Born: Sept. 23, 1993 in Regina, Sask.
Notable: Played in the 2015 East-West Shrine Game, the annual NCAA all-star game that invites two Canadians per year to participate... Finished 2014 with 55 catches for 916 yards and six TDs. The 55 receptions was a school record... A Canada-West All-Sar and two-time CIS All-Canadian.
Selected: Second round, 15th overall
Position: Defensive back
School: Queen’s University
Ht: 6-0. Wt: 192
Born: Feb. 4, 1991 in Pickering, Ont.
Notable: Morgan played for former Queen’s defensive coordinator Pat Tracey, who is now on the Bomber coaching staff as the special-teams coordinator... Began his collegiate career at the University of Virginia, before sitting out the 2012 season after transferring to Queen’s... Played in just two games last year, registering 13.5 tackles, after being ruled academically ineligible by the OUA.
Selected: Fourth round, 33rd overall
Ht: 6-2. Wt: 230
Born: Oct. 17, 1991 in Marieville, Que.
Notable: Played in four games last year as both a tailback and fullback… Inspired by former CFLer Jesse Lumsden… Will get looks at both positions in the Bomber backfield.
Selected: Fifth round, 38th overall
Position: Defensive line/fullback
Ht: 6-0. Wt: 260.
Born: Dec. 27, 1990 in Ottawa
Notable: Finished third in the CIS with eight sacks... CIS First Team All-Canadian and winner of the J.P. Metras Trophy as the top down lineman in the country... Bombers will try him at fullback, too.
Selected: Sixth round, 46th overall
Ht: 6-2. Wt: 200
Born: Sept. 26, 1990 in Ottawa.
Notable: Appeared in five games for the Gaiters, finishing with 34 tackles... Will help provide depth behind projected starter Sam Hurl.
— Ed Tait
Updated on Monday, May 11, 2015 at 1:07 PM CDT: Photo added.
2:43 PM: Video added.
May 12, 2015 at 7:24 PM: Updates with Bombers' pick.
9:03 PM: Writethru.
10:57 PM: Writethru.