Quarterbacks -None. The Bombers managed to re-sign all three free agent quarterbacks that they had in Buck Pierce, Alex Brink and Joey Elliott. Doubtful that they go for a Canadian in the draft.
Running backs – Carl Volny (Central Michigan), Anthony Woodson (Calgary), James Green (Calgary), Michel-Pierre Pontbriand (Laval) – Green switched over from linebacker to fullback with the Bombers and he played well in a blocking back role. Green was also a special teams ace for the Bombers, including having three tackles in the Grey Cup. Pontbriand was a late season addition who played in the final nine games in a similar role to that of Green. He displayed his sneaky tactics in the final regular season game of the year, escaping downfield for a 41 yard reception. Volny played back-up to import RB Fred Reid for most of the season until Reid was injured in a September game against Toronto. In that same game, Volny also injured himself and missed the remainder of the season.
Receivers – Jade Etienne (Saskatchewan), Kito Poblah (Central Michigan), Rory Kohlert (Saskatchewan), Cassidy Doneff (Washburn), Cory Watson (Concordia) – Poblah is the reason the Bombers are without their first round draft pick in 2012. The club took him with their first pick in last year’s Supplemental draft, thus forcing them to forfeit their first round pick in the following Canadian draft. Poblah played in just three games last year, sustaining two injuries that kept him out for 15 games plus playoffs. Poblah did show why the Bombers took him when he had a nine catch game in the Labour Day Classic against the Riders. With Poblah injured, Cory Watson shouldered the load for the Canadian receivers. Watson was on the receiving end of 69 passes for 793 yards and a touchdown. Entering his third year in the league, the Bombers receiving corps is shaping up to be a good one.
Etienne was the Bombers 4th overall pick in the 2011 draft out of Saskatchewan. He spent the year in a redshirt type role. While still being dressed and seeing some game action, most of his season was spent learning. Doneff was a late signing last season, while Kohlert was added in March.
Offensive line – Chris Kowalzcuk (Toronto), Chris Greaves (Western), Steve Morley (Saint Mary’s), Justin Sorensen (South Carolina), Brendan Dunn (Western), Paul Swiston (Calgary) – Swiston and Dunn were both 2011 draft picks and they both finished their final year in University before coming to the Bombers for the 2012 season. Sorensen was a mid-season signing after being released from the Lions. Greaves was the Bombers 6th lineman for most of the year, but started a few games late in the season at left guard. Morley is the rock in the group, having never missed a game as a Blue Bomber, and started every game at right guard for the club last season. Despite having Dunn and Swiston coming up, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Bombers add another lineman in 2012.
Defensive line – Fernand Kashama (Western Michigan), Ryan Lucas (Western Washington) – The Bombers lost both Doug Brown (retired) and Don Oramasionwu (free agency) in the off-season, and the task now is to build back depth along the defensive line. They signed Lucas, who has floated around Montreal and Saskatchewan never really seeing any game time. Kashama played in all 18 games last season and even started in 11 games in what was a rotational defensive line among the rush ends. Kashama totalled 18 tackles and two sacks in his playing time.
Linebackers – Henoc Muamba (St. Francis Xavier), Pierre-Luc Labbe (Sherbrooke) – Muamba was of course the first overall pick of the 2011 draft for the Blue Bombers. He missed the first seven games of the season due to injury, but returned to play in the final eleven games. Almost exclusively on special teams, Muamba totalled 15 tackles and even had a blocked punt that he returned for a touchdown. After spending his first three seasons playing special teams, Labbe finally saw his reward in 2011, earning more time playing snaps on defence. He was able to make 18 tackles, including a game high of five in the Banjo Bowl against Saskatchewan.
Defensive backs – Jerry-Ralph Jules (Montreal), Brady Browne (Manitoba), Ian Logan (Laurier) – Jules played in 16 out of the 18 regular season games last season. Mostly on special teams he was able to rack up eight tackles. Browne missed 17 games in 2011 due to tearing his bicep in week one against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He returned to play in the playoffs, but saw limited action. After six seasons, Ian Logan was finally rewarded with his first CFL All-Star honour. Logan finished his season with 34 tackles and four interceptions. It was a career-year for Logan who has molded into the Bombers starting safety spot with ease.
Special teams – Justin Palardy (K, Saint Mary’s), Mike Renaud (P, Concordia), Jordan Matechuk (LS, Victoria Rebels [CJFL]), Chris Cvetkovic (LS, Concordia) – In two years with the Bombers, Palardy has connected on 80.5% of his field goal attempts. Renaud struggled throughout the 2011 season that eventually led to him being a healthy scratch for the final three weeks of the season as well as playoffs. The Bombers signed Jamie Boreham to cover punting duties, but he was released. Matechuk was signed in February. He was released from Hamilton last year after encountering legal troubles. Cvetkovic came back from a season-ending injury in 2010 to play in and be the Bombers long-snapper in every game last season.
Overall Analysis - With six picks in the draft, I would expect at some point the Bombers may take an offensive lineman and either a running back or a receiver. Neither is really a pressing need for 2012, but with the amount of quality receivers in the draft, it is hard to pass that up. Their primary focus will likely be on the defensive side of the ball where they lack depth at every position. With two picks in round two, the Bombers should be able to find a couple of good players to fill some gaps.
10 Potential Picks – Jabar Westerman (DL), Keenan MacDougall (DB), Dylan Hollohan (DB), Billy Peach (OL), Carson Rockhill (OL), Jason Medeiros (OL), Herve Tonye-Tonye (LB), Rene Stephan (LB), Sam Hurl (LB), Brett Cameron (P)