WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ group of receivers will look a whole lot different this season. Gone are both Nick Moore and Clarence Denmark. To replace them the Blue Bombers now have Weston Dressler and Ryan Smith. Darvin Adams is back and will probably retain a starting position. But with the club likely to start four American receivers this season, it leaves 13 other imports battling for what will probably be just one starting spot.
“Good group, good mix of talent, good mix of size,” said head coach Mike O’Shea.
“We’ve got so much flexibility this year compared to other years, we’ll see how it all shakes down and we’re not going to hand anybody spots.”
It would appear the 6’5″ Ernest Smith has the early leg up. The 28-year-old spent all of mini-camp working with the first team offence.
“It was challenging but I like challenges,” said Smith. “No lie it was challenging being in that system cause everything is going fast.”
“He’s got a good burst, covers a lot of ground in his first few steps,” O’Shea said. “You see his length. He’s tall. With that height he doesn’t seem to give up anything in terms of speed and quickness.”
But being with the first team in April doesn’t guarantee anything for June.
“It’s also humbling because I know that just as quick as I’m with that first group, I can be with the second group or I can not be here at all,” said Smith.
Justin Veltung is another receiver vying for a receiver’s job. He’s back after being used primarily as a kick/punt returner last season but he did see some spot duty on offence making 17 catches, two of them for touchdowns. And with the team already knowing what he’s capable of, he thinks it can only help.
“They already know what I can do since last year I came in here and played a little bit,” said Veltung. “They just want to move me around, give me the ability to do everything. They know what I can do.”
Now that mini-camp is over, it’s decision time as the Bombers will have to cut down their roster to 75 players. It’s highly unlikely all the receivers make it to the main camp.
“We got meetings in another couple hours to see where the roster stands as of right now,” said O’Shea. “We’ll go through that, but I’m not sure. We’ll have to have those conversations in a couple hours.”
The next time players step on the field it will be for rookie camp on May 25 with the rest of the team hitting the field on May 29.
Blue Bombers International Receivers
Jace Davis *
Jerrel Jernigan *
* Did not attend mini-camp due to personal reasons
WATCH: Blue Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea holds his final media briefing of mini-camp.