Blue Bombers grab lineman Liam Dobson with 3rd overall pick in CFL draft

After not adding to their offensive line at all in last year’s CFL Draft, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers used their first-round selection in 2021 to upgrade their O-line.

The Bombers took offensive lineman Liam Dobson from the University of Maine with the third overall selection in the 2021 CFL Draft on Tuesday.

“It feels amazing,” Dobson said. “Growing up as a kid in Canada, you watch the CFL all the time, you kinda dream about playing in it.

“Just the fact my dream is now a reality – it’s an amazing feeling.”

The 23-year-old Ottawa product played three seasons for the Maine Black Bears. He appeared in 32 games, starting 27 of them.

“Liam has great size and plays with great physicality,” general manager Kyle Walters said in a media release. “He certainly plays a style of football that we are always looking for in our offensive lineman, and we’re really excited as an organization to call his name at the three spot.”

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Dobson was ranked 12th in the latest CFL Scouting Bureau rankings.

He was selected to the All-Colonial Athletic Association first team, but he won’t be coming to join the Bombers anytime soon. Dobson just completed a transfer to Texas State where he’ll finish his collegiate career in the fall in hopes of landing an NFL job.

“I always wanted to play at the highest level possible,” he said. “I wanted to pursue my dream of playing in the NFL. And I figured just with the COVID situation, and Maine being unsure if they’ll be able to book FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) games this upcoming fall, I figured it was in my best interest for me to make the jump to the FBS level so that all my games were being played at an FBS level just to get as much film as I can, and the best film I can to put myself in position for the NFL.”

But the Bombers clearly believe he’s worth the wait.

“A mauler with great natural power and some freakish athletic traits is how I would best describe him,“ said assistant general manager and director of player personnel Ted Goveia. “Liam played OT at a high level collegiately and will most likely move inside at the pro level. He is wired the right way and will be a good fit in our offensive line room.

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“With his transfer, we will have to wait on him, but we feel strongly that it’ll be worth the wait.”

“I’m gonna come in with the mentality that we’re gonna win games, and we’re gonna win championships,” said Dobson. “So I’m gonna come in with an attitude.”

READ MORE: CFL pushes back start to 2021 season, reduces number of games due to COVID-19

The Bombers had six selections in this year’s six-round draft.

With the 16th overall selection in the second round, the Bombers picked up Algerian born defensive back Redha Kramdi from the University of Montreal Carabins.

Kramdi was sixth in his conference in defensive tackles in 2019 with 30. He also had 4.5 sacks in only seven games.

The Bombers nabbed another DB in the 21st slot in the third round by drafting Ottawa’s Patrice Rene from the University of North Carolina. He recorded 28 tackles in 10 games in 2020.

The Bombers used a third straight pick on a defensive player with their fourth round choice at 34th overall, selecting linebacker Robbie Lowes from the University of Regina.

Their next selection was also a member of the Rams as Walters chose running back Kyle Borsa with the 39th pick.

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And with their final pick at 48th overall, the Bombers grabbed a local player in defensive back Shae Weekes. The former St. Paul’s Crusader transferred to Bemidji State in 2020 after three seasons with the Manitoba Bisons.

Weekes was the only Manitoban selected in the draft, as well as the only member of the Herd who had his name called on Tuesday.

READ MORE: Winnipeg Blue Bombers report $7-million loss in 2020 due to loss of CFL season, other restrictions

After no football was played in 2020, the CFL used a snaking format for the draft which sees the team that picks last in one round, pick first in the next round.

The other big change this year had the draft order determined by a random draw instead of the traditional method of using the reverse order of the standings.

This year’s draft is a little more complicated than usual for the league’s nine general managers due to the ongoing pandemic. Many players are opting to return to school in the fall for their extra year of eligibility, while many others haven’t put on the cleats for a game in more than a calendar year, and there was no combine for teams to see the draft-eligible players in person.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats owned the first overall pick and selected tight end Jake Burt from Boston College. The Saskatchewan Roughriders selected defensive back Nelson Lokombo from the University of Saskatchewan with the second pick.

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