Blue busy at CFL draft

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:41 PM ET

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers made two trades, drafted four players and grabbed the rights to one intriguing quarterback prospect on a busy CFL draft day.

The Blue and Gold had only three picks going into Sunday, but they traded for a fourth and also snagged the rights to quarterback Alex Brink, the third-leading passer in Pac-10 history who has already agreed to terms on a contract.

So the Bombers brought their quarterback count to five, excluding Stefan LeFors, and they were able to land a topnotch talent in Concordia Stingers receiver Cory Watson with the second pick of the second round, ninth overall.

The Bombers also drafted Queen’s linebacker Chris Smith (28th), Calgary running back Anthony Woodson Jr. (29th) and Western Ontario defensive tackle Chris Greaves (45th).

All in all, Paul LaPolice was pumped about his first draft as Winnipeg’s head coach.

“It’s a great day for Bomber football,” he said.

The Bombers had the sixth pick, but the way the first round unfolded they knew they could still get Watson at No. 9 and get another selection. So they sent the No. 6 pick to Edmonton for No. 9 and No. 22.

In Watson the Bombers landed a physical receiver with soft hands and quick feet.

“He’s a big, physical wide receiver who’s got a great upside,” LaPolice said. “He can run by people, but he can also muscle and leverage people to get open.

“We wanted to make sure we could upgrade our Canadian receiver talent, and he was somebody we really, really had high on our board.”

Watson heard from family friend and current Bomber receiver Jabari Arthur that the Bombers were gunning for him, so he wasn’t sure what was going on when they traded the sixth pick.

“Yeah, I was really nervous,” Watson said Sunday from Quebec. “I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know if I was going to be taken by Montreal or Edmonton.

“I’m excited to be a Blue Bomber. It was an exciting, exciting day.”

Instead of using the 22nd pick they got from the Eskimos, the Bombers shipped it to Hamilton for the 28th choice and the rights to Brink. They used the 28th to take Smith, who was the top defensive player in his team’s Vanier Cup victory last fall.

“We’ll put him more in maybe a (weak-side) linebacker role and a special teams role,” said LaPolice, noting Neil McKinlay’s retirement left a hole. “But for a big kid he runs real well. He’s very intelligent because Queen’s guys are very intelligent kids.”

LaPolice said he expects Watson and Smith to compete for roster spots.

The Bombers got Woodson at No. 29, which was a bit of a gamble considering injuries have limited him to just three games in the last two years. When healthy, though, he’s dangerous.

“We knew Anthony Woodson is a tremendous talent but has had some injuries,” LaPolice said. “We think he’ll be ready for camp.”

Greaves was a second-team OUA all-star in 2009 for the Mustangs who will add to the team’s D-line depth.

“He’s a big defensive lineman who showed very well at the evaluation camp,” LaPolice said.

Saskatchewan took Queen’s linebacker Shomari Williams first overall.

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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