Finding the right fit

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:01 AM ET

Today will be his first first.

For the very first time since he became the Canadian college draft co-ordinator for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Bob Dyce will actually be able to participate in the opening round of today's CFL Canadian college entry draft -- unless Bombers GM Brendan Taman trades it on the eve of the first round.

But that means there will be more pressure to come up with a quality first-rounder in what experts are calling the deepest pool of talent in years. After all, the club has had a poor history the rare few times it did hold on to its first-round choices.

"I wouldn't say that there's more pressure," objected Dyce, who doubles as Winnipeg's receivers coach.

"It depends on how you look at things and for me, it's a great opportunity to hopefully strengthen our team and hopefully, our Canadian talent. I mean, we all know how important that is. So, I'm eagerly anticipating (this) afternoon.

"This will be the culmination of a few months' work. I get a lot of credit but this is truly a team effort ... It's an exciting day because it all comes to fruition and gives you a chance to add more Canadian talent to your team."

Winnipeg picks sixth today and its choice will depend on what players are still available at their turn. But the club's priority is offensive linemen and receivers and the pool is loaded with promising offensive linemen. However, most of them will be going back to school for their senior years, meaning the Bombers may have to be patient.

"Ideally, you want someone who can play this year," Dyce conceded. "(But) this is the spot where you can get quality offensive linemen -- when you're picking at the top of the draft and get your biggest value. So, maybe we'll wait a few years."

If Bombers do go that route, expect them to pick either Justin Sorensen, a 6-foot-7, 309-pound offensive tackle out of South Carolina, Boise State's 6-foot-3, 312-pound Andrew Woodruff or Jesse Newman, a 6-foot-4, 312-pound offensive lineman out of Louisiana-Lafayette.

And waiting on prospects will give them some depth ahead of any dispersal draft when Ottawa re-joins the CFL.

GREY CUP

"Obviously, we went to the Grey Cup final last year and we want to take that up to the next level this year," Dyce said. "You do look to the future but we want to strengthen our team right now."

But Winnipeg's choice will depend on whether the draft-eligible players who just signed with NFL teams are passed over by the clubs picking before the Bombers.

For example, if University of Sherbrooke receiver Samuel Giguere -- who just signed an NFL contract -- is still available, the Bombers may have to call a timeout just to high-five each other.

"I think Giguere will still be picked very high and could be picked before we pick," Dyce said.

Another receiver who has made mouths water is McMaster's 6-foot-3, 200-pound slotback Mike Bradwell. Either one would provide the Bombers with the Jason Clermont body-type they don't have now.

University of Saskatchewan safety Dylan Barker is almost the consensus No. 1 pick (Hamilton).

"Dylan's a great prospect, it just depends on teams' needs," Dyce said.

"I know that Dylan is certainly first-round material and will be a benefit to whatever team drafts him. He could go No. 1 overall."

Two other highly-rated recruits -- Central Florida defensive lineman Keith Shologan and Idaho fullback Rolly Lumbala -- have also signed NFL pacts so they may get selected in later rounds.

Others expected to go very high are Weber State offensive lineman Dmitri Tsoumpas, who could make the jump to the CFL this year, and UBC linebacker Shea Embry.

"(Draft day) is always an exciting day," Dyce said.

You can watch the draft on www.tsn.ca, starting at 11 a.m.

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TOP 10 RATED CFL DRAFT PROSPECTS

(Based on interviews and evaluations on the TSN and CFL websites)

1. Dylan Barker, 6-foot-4, 200-pound DB (University of Saskatchewan)

2. Samuel Giguere, 6-foot-4, 215-pound WR (Sherbrooke) -- signed by NFL (Indianapolis)

3. Keith Shologan, 6-foot-1, 275-pound defensive tackle (Central Florida) -- signed by NFL (San Diego)

4. Dmitri Tsoumpas, 6-foot-4, 285-pound offensive guard (Weber State)

5. Rolly Lumbala, 6-foot-1, 254-pound FB (Idaho) -- signed by NFL (Miami)

6. Shea Emry, 6-foot-1, 230-pound LB (UBC)

7. Jesse Newman, 6-foot-4, 310-pound offensive tackle (Louisiana-Lafayette)

8. Justin Sorensen, 6-foot-7, 327-pound offensive tackle (South Carolina)

9. Jonathan St. Pierre, 6-foot-3, 305-pound centre (Illinois State)

10. Mike Bradwell, 6-foot-3, 200-pound slotback (McMaster)

Draft Order (first round)

1. Hamilton

2. Edmonton

3. Calgary

4. Saskatchewan

5. B.C.

6. Winnipeg

7. Montreal (via Saskatchewan)

8. Hamilton


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