Bombers add character

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:26 PM ET

Nearly every professional sports team will say that it could not believe the player it just drafted was still available.

The new Winnipeg Blue Bombers regime was no different yesterday after it took two offensive linemen, a fullback and a linebacker with its four picks in the annual CFL Canadian college draft.

"We ended up with four players that we had ranked as the top 20," head coach Mike Kelly said. "So we feel very good about what we were able to get."

Winnipeg used its first selection to take UBC Thunderbirds O-lineman Mike Morris in the third round, 19th overall.

"It was surreal. I'm honestly just humbled," Morris said from B.C. "I was just surprised that I went in the third round. That was really exciting for me when I got a call. I was still trying to soak it all in. It's unbelievable."

The Bombers also took a pair of Wilfrid Laurier players in O-lineman Adam Bestard and fullback Peter Quinney, and Queen's linebacker Thaine Carter.

Bombers director of player personnel John Murphy said Morris and Bestard will get time to develop.

"I'm more concerned with those two guys in 2010, '11 and '12," he said. "Carter and Quinney can help this team this year in terms of special teams."

Morris, however, is confident he can crack the lineup this year.

"They're getting a natural leader, a confident player who is willing to learn, listen to the vets and take it all in," he said.

The Bombers believe they drafted not only good football players, but solid citizens. Morris scored high on the Wonderlic intelligence test, Quinney and Carter were captains of their respective squads, and Quinney was valedictorian of his high school class.

"I truly believe that character and intelligence outweigh ability," Kelly said. "And I'm not saying that these guys don't have ability. I'm very pleased with their ability.

"But John Murphy and I have always talked about the quality of the individual. That really helps when you're trying to put a team together."

University of Alberta offensive lineman Simeon Rottier went first overall to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, followed by Laval defensive tackle Etienne Legare to the Toronto Argonauts.

The B.C. Lions traded up to get Hamilton's No. 3 pick and landed Bishop's running back Jamall Lee, who signed with the NFL's Carolina Panthers last week.

The most surprising pick came in the second round, when the Montreal Alouettes chose Manitoba offensive lineman Matt Singer 15th overall.

The Medicine Hat, Alta., native started seven games at guard and one at centre for the Bisons last fall but wasn't on the radar screens of most prognosticators.

The Bisons have had the most players drafted in this decade, with 26. That's three more than Laval.

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos