High on the hogs

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

His name may not light up many marquees but Ibrahim Khan was the most coveted player available in the CFL's dispersal draft of the suspended Ottawa Renegades.

And the Winnipeg Blue Bombers got the Canadian offensive lineman with the second pick overall yesterday.

"The guy most in demand was the guy we got," Bombers GM Brendan Taman declared triumphantly. "We were ecstatic to get him with the second pick."

Taman, in fact, was so worried about missing out on the 6-foot-4, 267-pound Simon Fraser product that he tried to pry the first choice overall from Hamilton. Other CFL teams were also desperately trying to make a deal with the Tiger-Cats so they could get Khan, Taman said. But when Taman told Saskatchewan that the Bombers would take quarterback Kerry Joseph if another team claimed Khan, the Roughriders acquired the top pick from Hamilton to get Joseph. That left Khan available.

"Talking to other teams, they were very adamant about trying to get him and he was the guy we wanted all along," Taman said.

DEAL WITH TORONTO

Taman then dealt Winnipeg's first choice (14th overall) in next week's Canadian college draft to the Argonauts for Toronto's fifth pick overall and selected veteran offensive lineman Val St. Germain.

"We just thought that there was two quality Canadian offensive linemen that, for a long time around here, we had problems obtaining," Taman said. "Now, we've got a great, young kid and a good, solid veteran to come with our current guys who weren't too bad at the end of the year anyway. So, it was just something that will give us as many options as we can."

The picks will allow the Bombers to go to an all-Canadian O-line, freeing up imports for other areas.

Taman followed up by taking backup QB Brad Banks in the second round.

"We got a quality quarterback in Brad Banks and two guys who can make a significant, immediate impact on the offensive line," said Winnipeg head coach Doug Berry.

The Bombers also drafted Canadian defensive linemen Hakeem Kashama and Cameron Legault, import linebacker/defensive back Robert Grant, non-import fullback Lenard Semajuste and import running back Henri Childs off the roster of the suspended Ottawa franchise.

"We're very happy to get two quality offensive linemen and a quarterback that we didn't honestly think would be there when he was there," Taman said. "The first three picks, we're ecstatic with. Then we filled in with some decent Canadians after that."

The eight players picked will not count toward the training camp roster limit.

The Bombers, who sported the worst pass defence in the CFL last season, passed on the likes of all-star defensive back Korey Banks and Clarence Clemons, both imports.

"Our defensive backs aren't as bad as everybody might believe they are," Berry defended. "We're not in dire straits back there. We've got some good talent. The problem that happened is that we played two different schemes here last year.

"While we'd like to get better, it's not like, 'Wow, we've got to have defensive backs.'"

Five of the eight draftees are non-imports.

"Drafts are always good on paper but the results of the draft will be on the field," Taman said. "But we feel good about what we did. Doug's mandate was Canadian, Canadian, Canadian and we kept going Canadian. Ottawa had some decent talent, which everybody knew so a lot of teams helped themselves today, not just Winnipeg."


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