CFL camp important to careers

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:27 AM ET

Their CFL futures could be determined in one fateful weekend.

And one University of Manitoba Bison player is concerned about that prospect while another cannot wait to get to the CFL's evaluation camp that starts in Ottawa on Saturday.

"I'm more nervous than excited," said defensive back Dave Hewson. "It may not make or break your career, but it can."

Because Hewson has finished his college eligibility, this will be his last chance to impress the experts. But 6-foot-1, 230-pound linebacker Scott Mennie has another year left.

"It should be fun," said Mennie. "It can't come too soon. I'm not nervous. I just want to get it on with and go test now."

The pair were among the elite 40 draft-eligible players invited to the camp.

"For both, it's gigantic," said Bison head coach Brian Dobie. "It's job prospects and both have had a lot of CFL interest. I can see both doing well at the combine."

Mennie was in the B.C. camp as an underage junior and the Lions have still shown a strong interest. At 6-foot-4 and 218 pounds, Hewson has drawn interest as either a safety or linebacker.

"I'd be happy to play any position on the field," Hewson said. "I'd even hand out water if that's what they wanted me to do."

While both would love to be drafted by the Blue Bombers, it is unlikely that Mennie will be available if Winnipeg does not trade up from its fourth-round pick, and Hewson believes the Bombers are now deep at safety.

"He's an option we'd seriously consider," said Bob Dyce, Bomber Canadian college draft co-ordinator. "He can easily run and play special teams for you.

"Scott ranks right up there with the top linebackers in that class. And he has added long snapping to his repertoire."

Both Dyce and Bomber head coach Jim Daley will attend the camp as the weekend includes a meeting of CFL head coaches.

"Here you see the best against the best," said Dyce, who evaluates all prospects despite the fact that Winnipeg does not pick until early in the fourth round. "There's always the possibility of a trade (to get a better pick)."

Dyce and Daley will have their eyes peeled for prospects with a fullback-linebacker body type that can be valuable special teams players, as well as offensive linemen.

"Of course, so is everybody else," Dyce said. "But when you don't pick in the first three rounds, you want to look at the best available player and see where he fits into our needs."

The draft is April 28.


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