Draft a crapshoot

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 10:52 AM ET

Roy Shivers was in a mood to make a deal earlier this week. The Saskatchewan Roughriders GM was offering at least one of his three first-round picks in next week's Canadian college entry draft.

But Winnipeg Blue Bombers GM Brendan Taman is not interested, thank you, possibly because it is generally considered to be one of the weaker draft fields of in recent years.

"Most people cry that it's not a great draft but that's just posturing," Shivers said during a CFL teleconference call. "Good running backs and offensive linemen are the strength of this draft."

Although the Bombers do not choose until the fourth round, they have discovered some gems with later-round picks, like offensive lineman Matt Sheridan.

"The draft's a crapshoot anyway," Taman said yesterday. "History has shown that it can either work out or it can be a total flop, whether you have one pick or 10.

"Last year, we had two guys (taken late) who made the team (punter Jon Ryan and linebacker Neil McKinlay) and one who's coming back this year (safety John Sullivan). And another guy went to Montreal (safety Ryan Folk). So, it all balances out."

FOCUS ON FUTURE: Montreal Alouettes GM Jim Popp claims one reason for his franchise's success is the attention it pays to the Canadian draft.

"It's an important part of being successful," he told the Montreal Gazette. "A lot of teams trade their picks and then are forced to sign free agents."

Like Winnipeg.

"I've always built for the future, as though I'm going to be here out of respect for the owners," Popp continued. "There aren't a lot (of GMs) in my position who think the same way. They think for today."

Mind you, when a team misses the playoffs, its GM has to think for today or risk losing his job.

COULTER ON BLOCK? Taman would be interested in a veteran offensive lineman if one became available "depending on the price." But he has had no discussions with Hamilton concerning either veteran centre Carl Coulter or guard Tim Bakker. Coulter is reportedly on his way out the door after the Tiger-Cats acquired O-lineman Dan Comiskey from Edmonton for defensive end Joe Montford. But Taman did admit that the 'Cats could use a proven linebacker and Winnipeg has at least six.

Taman, however, is not interested in veteran import tackle Seth Dittman, who was released by Calgary.

ON HOLD: Speaking of defensive ends, Taman repeated that Elfrid (SWAC) Payton will have to remain patient again this year.

"We need to see some young guys at that position first and they don't see anything if Elfrid's here," he explained. "But, you never know what can happen."

HASHMARKS: Seems that Montford is not the only Ticat with his nose out of joint over Hamilton offering the Fluties a contract while essentially stiffing him. Now RB Troy Davis wants a raise from his reported $85,000 US pact that reflects his status as the CFL's top rusher. ... The Esks acquired nine-year veteran O-lineman Sandy Annunziata yesterday from the Argos for future considerations. ... Oops. Seems the B.C. Lions have actually sold about 30,000 Grey Cup tickets, not the 3,500 reported here yesterday.


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