Bombers put up green to make LaBatte Blue

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:35 AM ET

It didn't take long for the Blue Bombers to secure their first first-round draft pick of the decade, even if it did take slightly more cash to do so.

Brendon LaBatte, a 6-foot-4, 320-pound offensive lineman out of the University of Regina, was one of four draft picks to sign with Winnipeg, the CFL club announced yesterday.

"Yes, he did get a little more money being a first-round guy, which is the way it works," said Bombers GM Brendan Taman, who was relieved to get LaBatte socked away.

"LaBatte has a pretty big upside and to have these players signed before rookie camp next week is a good sign."

The other draftees signed were running back Daryl Stephenson, defensive back Marc Beswick and linebacker Pierre-Luc Labbe.

LaBatte still has two years of college eligibility, but the Bombers are hoping he will crack the roster this year.

"One way or another, we hope to have him here now," Taman said.

Stephenson is a 6-foot-2, 220-pound Windsor product who won the Hec Crighton Award as the CIS most outstanding player in 2006.

The Bombers also officially announced the signing of defensive lineman Kyle Sleightholm, a supplementary draft choice who'll be converted to the O-line. The 6-foot-3, 295-pound Chatham, Ont., native is expected to return to the University of Windsor.

Wide receiver Aaron Hargreaves (second round) and defensive lineman Don Oramasionwu (fifth) have yet to sign, but Taman said there are no major problems with negotiations and both are expected to be at May 28 rookie camp.


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