July 21, 2018

Winnipeg
15° C, A few clouds

Full Forecast

Record: 2–3–0

Winnipeg Blue Bombers Logo

Blue Bomber Report (2–3–0)

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

GM Walters pleased with players team picked at draft

Rashaun Simonise (Jeff McIntosh / The Canadian Press files)</p>

Rashaun Simonise (Jeff McIntosh / The Canadian Press files)

Kyle Walters left Investors Group Field following Thursday’s CFL Draft feeling good about how the night unfolded. After all, the general manager of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers had gambled and won.

“Every team this morning is thinking it went well, because they called the names that they liked,” Walters said during his media availability Friday morning at Investors Group Field. “But for us heading in, our main objective was to increase the depth of our Canadian receiver talent… and I think we accomplished that.”

There was no certainty the Bombers would get the player they wanted, especially after dealing their first-round pick to the B.C. Lions a day earlier. By then, Walters had already given up on the idea of drafting the consensus No. 1 receiver in Central Michigan’s Mark Chapman, who the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, trading up one slot from the No. 2 pick, selected first overall.

Instead, his hope was that once Chapman was gone, the draft would turn away from receivers, and the beginning of a talented offensive linemen group would start being plucked off the board. Knowing the O-linemen that could be taken early might account for as many as the next seven or eight picks, with a few highly coveted defensive players also likely to be taken sooner than later, he took a leap and traded the seventh overall pick to the Lions in a deal that, among other pieces, would move the Bombers up a few spots in the second round, from No. 16 to No. 12.

Get the full story.
No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

Join free for 60 days

After that, pay as little as $0.99 per month for the best local news coverage in Manitoba.

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Join free for 60 days

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 60 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Kyle Walters left Investors Group Field following Thursday’s CFL Draft feeling good about how the night unfolded. After all, the general manager of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers had gambled and won.

"Every team this morning is thinking it went well, because they called the names that they liked," Walters said during his media availability Friday morning at Investors Group Field. "But for us heading in, our main objective was to increase the depth of our Canadian receiver talent… and I think we accomplished that."

There was no certainty the Bombers would get the player they wanted, especially after dealing their first-round pick to the B.C. Lions a day earlier. By then, Walters had already given up on the idea of drafting the consensus No. 1 receiver in Central Michigan’s Mark Chapman, who the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, trading up one slot from the No. 2 pick, selected first overall.

Instead, his hope was that once Chapman was gone, the draft would turn away from receivers, and the beginning of a talented offensive linemen group would start being plucked off the board. Knowing the O-linemen that could be taken early might account for as many as the next seven or eight picks, with a few highly coveted defensive players also likely to be taken sooner than later, he took a leap and traded the seventh overall pick to the Lions in a deal that, among other pieces, would move the Bombers up a few spots in the second round, from No. 16 to No. 12.

With the trade finalized, all Walters and his staff could do was wait and hope no one would take the second-best receiver in Rashaun Simonise, a pass-catcher out of the University of Calgary whose questionable past might mean a pass from some teams. He failed a drug test while with the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals. In the event Simonise was gone, the Bombers planned on taking McMaster University’s Daniel Petermann — another quality receiver who impressed at the national combine in March, but whose ceiling is considerably lower than Simonise’s.

"That’s all we were waiting on. You make that trade, and it’s a calculated risk that one of them is going to be there, and as picks go by, you sort of sit in that draft room and go over all the rosters of other teams and see who is going to fit. But, it’s a mystery until they call a name," Walters said. "We were confident that we were going to get a good football player at No. 12, just, ideally, it would be a receiver, and it worked out that way for us."

Not only would Simonise be available at No. 12, but by the time the Bombers were back on the clock for the final pick of the third round — 26th overall — there, too, was Petermann. Walters said it was as pleasant a surprise as it was an easy decision to select the 5-11, 205-pounder from Stoney Creek, Ont.

"He was an athletic, very productive college player, hard-working kid," Walters said of Petermann, who posted the fastest 40-yard dash at 4.54 seconds. "He did very well for himself at the combine with his testing numbers. He tracks the ball well. He’s a good, solid prospect."

The Bombers were dealt some bad news prior to the start of the draft. Matt Coates — one of two Canadian receivers, along with Winnipegger Nic Demski expected to start this year — had broken his foot during a training session, and the prognosis looked dim. Walters said the team still doesn’t know the extent of the injury, but was confident in saying Coates would not be a participant at training camp later this month.

With Coates out, and likely some concern with the durability of Demski, who is coming off a shortened 2017 season due to a broken foot himself, the Bombers building Canadian depth at receiver became that much more important.

Drew Wolitarsky, who Winnipeg took in last year’s supplemental draft, impressed Bombers brass at mini-camp last month, showing a massive improvement in some areas of his game compared to last season. Still, depending how long Coates is out, a need for more competition in that area of the lineup remained.

"Hearing about Matt made us realize that it solidifies our decision to go receiver-receiver if the board falls like that. When Daniel Petermann was there at No. 26, it was a no-brainer for us," said Walters, who noted Petermann led the Marauders with 36 catches for 517 yards and two touchdowns.

To further the point that building Canadian receiver depth was of most importance, Winnipeg took a third pass-catcher in the fifth round, selecting Laval University’s Tyrone Pierre with the No. 41 pick. Pierre, 23, played four seasons with the Laval Rouge et Or, winning the Vanier Cup in 2016.

"It came down to that point in the draft where he was the highest-rated guy on our board," Walters said. "He had some productivity at Laval early in his career, and then kind of tailed off at the tail-end of his career. But a 6-2, 200-pound receiver that can run… he brings a physicality that you don’t really see out of a receiver very often."

Here is what Walters had to say about the Bombers three other picks in the draft:

OL Arnaud Gendron-Dumouchel (fourth round, 33rd overall, University of Montreal):

"He’s just a massive man (6-9, 310 pounds) that I don’t think has the foot speed to play tackle, but they moved him into guard and he held his own. When he slid into guard, and it’s a little bit more in-tight space, he showed he had the ability to mix it up. He’s very, very intriguing just based on his size and the physical nature that he flashed."

OL Matthew Ouellet De Carlo (sixth round, 49th overall, Bishop’s University) and OL Ben Koczwara (eighth round, 67th overall, University of Waterloo):

"We were always looking for developmental offensive linemen. De Carlo and Koczwara were solid U Sports football players, so you bring them in to camp and you never know. The top guys are the top guys, but the difference between a mid-round draft pick and a late-round draft pick is just who develops. At the O-line position, it’s who has got the toughness and who can pick up the game, and who develops over the year, and there’s a chance those guys could all be back at school growing and developing."

DB Jacob Firlotte (seventh round, 58th overall, Queen’s University):

"He’s long and athletic and competed, and there was something very intriguing about him. We were hoping to add some special-teams depth somewhere… and he was siting there and we thought he was an interesting height-weight-speed (6-3, 215, 4.6 40-yard dash) guy that could come in and maybe push the back end of the roster for a special-teams spot."

jeff.hamilton@freepress.mb.catwitter: @jeffkhamilton

Jeff Hamilton

Jeff Hamilton
Multimedia producer

After a slew of injuries playing hockey that included breaks to the wrist, arm, and collar bone; a tear of the medial collateral ligament in both knees; as well as a collapsed lung, Jeff figured it was a good idea to take his interest in sports off the ice and in to the classroom.

Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

History

Updated on Saturday, May 5, 2018 at 8:29 AM CDT: Final

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.