June 17, 2019

Winnipeg
12° C, Overcast

Full Forecast

Record: 10–8–0

Winnipeg Blue Bombers Logo

Blue Bomber Report (10–8–0)

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Bombers go big at CFL draft

Grab O-lineman with fourth overall pick then add local RB Brady Oliveira in second round

The Bombers selected University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks' running back Brady Oliveira 14th overall. Oliveira is an Oak Park high school product and could be following in the footsteps of current Bombers running back Andrew Harris.

RUSSELL HONS PHOTO

The Bombers selected University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks' running back Brady Oliveira 14th overall. Oliveira is an Oak Park high school product and could be following in the footsteps of current Bombers running back Andrew Harris.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers used back-to-back first-round picks in Thursday’s CFL draft to address their most pressing needs when it comes to Canadian content.

With the fourth overall selection, the Bombers chose offensive lineman Drew Desjarlais, with the hope the University of Windsor standout might help ease the pain of losing centre Matthias Goossen (retirement) and right guard Sukh Chungh (free agency), both all-star who departed after last season.

“I’ve been keeping up with the free agency stuff, kind of see how that went and it’s a great landing spot to go into that situation,” Desjarlais told reporters shortly after hearing his name Thursday. “The plan for the season is to get into training camp, get acclimated. Play for playing time right from the start is the goal.”

Desjarlais, a six-foot-five, 325-pound interior O-lineman, spent four seasons with the Lancers, starting 27 games. He’s versatile, splitting time between guard and tackle, and is the perfect size to be a CFL centre in the event the Bombers believe he can handle such an assignment. He was a member of the West Team in the U Sports East-West Bowl last season, and was named an OUA second-team all-star.

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

Join free for 30 days

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

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Keep reading free:

I agree to the Terms and Conditions, Cookie and Privacy Policies, and CASL agreement.

 

Already have an account?

Log in here »

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 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!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers used back-to-back first-round picks in Thursday’s CFL draft to address their most pressing needs when it comes to Canadian content.

With the fourth overall selection, the Bombers chose offensive lineman Drew Desjarlais, with the hope the University of Windsor standout might help ease the pain of losing centre Matthias Goossen (retirement) and right guard Sukh Chungh (free agency), both all-star who departed after last season.

The Bombers used their first pick to select offensive lineman Drew Desjarlais fourth overall.</p></p>

The Bombers used their first pick to select offensive lineman Drew Desjarlais fourth overall.

"I’ve been keeping up with the free agency stuff, kind of see how that went and it’s a great landing spot to go into that situation," Desjarlais told reporters shortly after hearing his name Thursday. "The plan for the season is to get into training camp, get acclimated. Play for playing time right from the start is the goal."

Desjarlais, a six-foot-five, 325-pound interior O-lineman, spent four seasons with the Lancers, starting 27 games. He’s versatile, splitting time between guard and tackle, and is the perfect size to be a CFL centre in the event the Bombers believe he can handle such an assignment. He was a member of the West Team in the U Sports East-West Bowl last season, and was named an OUA second-team all-star.

"We like some of the young guys that we’ve been developing, but the opportunity to get Drew Desjarlais was a no-brainer for us," Bombers GM Kyle Walters said in an interview with TSN. "We had him ranked very high. He’s tough, he’s physical. Some of the things we saw in Sukh Chungh when we drafted him we see in this young man. We think he’s got a real big upside."

What Walters was referring to is Chungh’s reputation of being a nasty competitor in the trenches — the identity the Bombers O-line has maintained and relished over three consecutive double-digit win seasons — and he’s convinced Desjarlais has the same mental and physical toughness.

Good news for Bombers fans: Desjarlais agrees with that assessment.

"I couldn’t picture any better landing spot than an O-line with a reputation of being nasty. I would say that’s my exact style of play," Desjarlais said. "I’d say every rep is a win or loss in my eyes. To lose one rep seems like a drastic thing for me."

Winnipeg secured the fourth pick this year after trading the seventh pick last year to the B.C. Lions, a deal that included other picks heading each way. With its own pick, at No. 5, Winnipeg turned to the defensive line, taking defensive end Jonathan Kongbo — a player many believe could prove to be the draft’s most promising pick.

The Bombers selected Tennessee Volunteers product, defensive end Jonathan Kongbo, left, fifth overall.

AP PHOTO/JOHN BAZEMORE

The Bombers selected Tennessee Volunteers product, defensive end Jonathan Kongbo, left, fifth overall.

At six-foot-six and 264 pounds, Kongbo is considered to be the most athletic player in the draft and, had a knee injury not hurt his stock, was expected to sign with an NFL club and be years away from a CFL career.

He was also someone highly coveted by Walters and the coaching staff.

According to a source close to the team, had Kongbo been selected in the first three picks there was a serious chance Winnipeg would have traded the No. 5 selection. When Kongbo was available, it became another easy pick.

"Jonathan Kongbo was just too good not to draft," Walters told TSN. "He’s physical against the run, and he’s certainly got the athletic potential and frame to grow into a starter."

There is some risk that comes with the pick. Kongbo, who played 30 games — 17 starts — with the University of Tennessee Volunteers as a linebacker and defensive lineman, is coming off a season shortened by a serious knee injury (ACL and MCL) and won’t be at full health until mid-June.

University of Manitoba defensive lineman Tariq LaChance was the Bombers sixth-round pick, 52nd overall.

University of Manitoba defensive lineman Tariq LaChance was the Bombers sixth-round pick, 52nd overall.

"I was surprised I didn’t get drafted by an NFL team. But it just presented other opportunities," Kongbo said. "I didn’t want to hang my head too much. I knew I still had an opportunity to play, and that was in the CFL. It is what it is."

He added: "What really separates me from everyone else, really, is my athleticism and my speed, for my size. I move exceptionally well for a guy my size. I just have a high motor and just hungry to get to the football, hungry to get to the quarterback."

With the Bombers expected to start Jake Thomas at defensive tackle, backed up by Maxx Forde, Kongbo will be afforded the time and patience to heal and adjust to the CFL game. Though it’s not often a player can be a starter in his first season, it’s not a far reach to suggest Kongbo will push for notable playing time by the end of 2019.

The Bombers used their second-round pick — 14th overall — to snatch up a promising young running back, Winnipeg native Brady Oliveira.

Oliveira, who played his high school football at Oak Park, flourished in his four years at the University of North Dakota. He amassed 2,822 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns in 42 games, earning All Big-Sky honours in 2016 and 2017 and was a Jon Cornish finalist in 2019, awarded to the best Canadian in the NCAA.

In addition to Desjarlais, Kongbo and Oliveira, the Bombers added five more players in the draft, two of whom are offensive players — Hawaii’s OL Tavita Eli and wide receiver Malik Richards out of Mount Allison — and three on defence, including two defensive backs — Toronto’s Nick Hallett and Montreal’s Kerfalla-Emmanuel Exume — and University of Manitoba Bisons defensive lineman Tariq Lachance.

jeff.hamilton@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @jeffkhamilton

Malik Richards during on field tests at the CFL combine in March. The Bombers selected the speedy Mount Allison receiver in the fifth round, 43rd overall.

MARK BLINCH / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES

Malik Richards during on field tests at the CFL combine in March. The Bombers selected the speedy Mount Allison receiver in the fifth round, 43rd overall.

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 Friday, May 3, 2019 at 8:52 AM CDT: Adds Samson Abbott to sidebar

6:25 PM: fixes number of offensive players selected

6:27 PM: Adds who drafted Shai Ross

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

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?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us