Willing to make a deal

Winnipeg Blue Bombers GM Brendan Taman (right, with Milt Stegall) has a pick in the second round in...

Winnipeg Blue Bombers GM Brendan Taman (right, with Milt Stegall) has a pick in the second round in Wednesday's CFL draft. (Sun Media File/Marcel Cretain)

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:07 AM ET

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will be in strange company tomorrow during the CFL draft.

Barring a last-minute trade, the Blue and Gold will pick in the second round, 11th overall, in the annual smorgasbord of Canadian football talent. Winnipeg hasn't had a pick that high since it took Daaron McField second overall in 2000.

"My philosophy, as it always has been since I've been here, is I will take a proven starter over a draft pick," Bombers GM Brendan Taman said. "Any time. Any day. Any month."

That much is evident after Taman's eight years of running the show on Maroons Road. His latest dispatch of a first-round pick occurred in February, when he sent the third overall choice to the Calgary Stampeders for Canadian left tackle Alexandre Gauthier, who, coincidentally, was the No. 1 overall pick in 2002.

The Bombers have done well in the last six years despite not owning anything better than a third-round selection. They scooped up receiver Arjei Franklin 19th overall last year and got punter Jon Ryan 24th in 2004.

"The first round has not really brought out a lot of starters in recent history in the draft," Taman said. "The second-rounders and the third-rounders are as many as the first, so we can likely get a good enough player at 11 as we could've got if we were picking third."

The word on the street is this year's field isn't as strong as it has been in recent drafts, and Taman agrees.

"There's not as many players that you could probably pencil in to be starters in the next year or two as there usually is, but there are a lot of guys that have special teams qualities that are available," he said.

"And generally speaking, when you do the draft, that's probably what you're looking to get anyway."

Taman said the Bombers, as a rule, will grab the best player available. They also have picks in the third (22nd overall), fifth (34th) and sixth (43rd) rounds.

"There's some positions that we may need a guy or two before others, but it's all going to have to come down to what's available at that time you pick," he said.

"... If you're going to take an O-lineman who is an average O-lineman compared to a really good running back that could play special teams for you, we'll probably have to go with the running back."

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have the first pick, followed by the Edmonton Eskimos and Stampeders.


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