High on the hog

JIM BENDER, STAFF REPORTER

, Last Updated: 8:40 AM ET

A local hog certainly made his trip to last weekend's football meat market worth his while.

The University of Manitoba Bisons offensive lineman Riley Clayton made some eyes pop at the CFL's evaluation camp in Oakville, Ont.

"Riley Clayton did very well for himself at the combine and really stepped up," Bob Dyce, the Canadian college draft co-ordinator for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, said yesterday.

"I think I proved that I can play with the best in the CIS and hopefully, a team will take a chance on me," said the 6-foot-5, 295-pound Clayton. "I did my best in the one-on-ones when we put the pads on. But I finished pretty high on all of my tests, too."

The B.C. Lions, who have three picks in the first round of next month's draft, Calgary Stampeders and Bombers have all talked to Clayton.

Defensive lineman Simon Patrick, the only other Bison invited to the camp, also "represented himself well," Dyce said. "He showed a lot of strength and power."

The 6-foot-2, 287-pound Simon also seemed pleased.

"I felt I did pretty good," he said. "It was a good experience and I talked to some coaches there who showed some interest. But I'll leave that up to my agent."

Both Bisons admitted to being nervous beforehand.

"My stomach churned quite a bit during the bench press," said Clayton. "But I did 21 reps, which was second-best among the O-linemen."

Meanwhile, Dyce figures Winnipeg will land a pretty decent recruit with its first pick -- 15th overall.

"Talent-wise, this camp might be a leg up on last year's crop of kids," he said. "And a lot of those guys made teams. Without a doubt, our first pick will compete for a job."

Although the Bombers are always seeking O-linemen, they are also on the look for defensive backs, receivers and linebackers.

"The coaches are still assessing them but it sounded like there were good prospects there," said Bombers GM Brendan Taman. "Bobby said it was pretty deep so, that's a bonus."

Others who impressed included University of Western Ontario receiver Andy Fantuz, who is being projected as a possible No. 1 pick, Western defensive back Leron Mitchell, University of Saskatchewan OL Chris Sutherland and running back David Stevens, his teammate. Both Fantuz and Washington State linebacker Adam Braidwood, who did not participate in drills on the weekend, are expected to draw some NFL interest, Dyce said.

Winnipeg also has two third-round, one fifth-round and two sixth-round picks.

Taman admitted that the possible demise of the Ottawa franchise has put some plans on hold.

"Hopefully, this (college) is the only draft we'll be worried about," said Taman, referring to a possible dispersal draft if the Renegades close shop.

HASHMARKS: Ottawa sent a contingent, including head coach John Jenkins, to the combine ... Expect the Bombers to announce the signing of RB Cory Olynick soon ... Taman is also negotiating with OL Ryan Bisson, who was plucked out of last year's draft.


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