WINNIPEG - The 2018 CFL Draft was held Thursday night, and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers went on the offensive, using six of their seven picks to draft players on the offensive side of the ball, including a pair of highly-touted receivers with their first two.
A day before the draft, the Bombers sent their first and second round selections in the 2018 CFL draft (7th and 16th overall) to the B.C. Lions in exchange for B.C.’s first round selection in the 2019 CFL Draft and the Lions’ second round selection (12th overall) in the 2018 CFL Draft.
With that 12th overall pick, the Blue Bombers selected wide receiver Rashaun Simonise, a player the Bombers had pegged as the best receiver prospect in the draft.
Simonise, a 6’4 202 pounder from Vancouver, spent three seasons with the Calgary Dinos and in 2015 put up an impressive 1,013 yards and 65 catches in just eight games. Simonise was named a First-Team U Sports All-Canadian and was the number one ranked receiver in Canada.
In 2016, Simonise signed with the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent but the 22-year-old tested positive during a drug test in the pre-season which resulted in a four-game NFL suspension and the CFL deferring his draft status from 2017 to this year. Simonise spent the last two seasons suiting up for the Okanagan Sun of the Canadian Junior Football League, in addition to spending time with the Chicago eagles of the Champions Indoor Football league.
Drafting two receivers with their first two picks may not have been the original plan for the Bombers, but with their 3rd round, 26th overall pick that the Blue Bombers acquired from Toronto in the 2016 Drew Willy trade, Winnipeg selected McMaster wide receiver Daniel Petermann.
The 5’11, 205-pounder from Stoney Creek Ontario spent the last four seasons with the McMaster Marauders, leading the club with 36 catches for 517 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Bombers had to look at shoring up their receiver situation after veteran Matt Coates injured his foot in training, and will likely miss the start of the 2018 season.
In the 4th round, 33rd overall, Winnipeg selected Montreal offensive lineman Arnaud Gendron-Dumouchel. The 23-year-old brings with him size and strength which he showed at the most recent CFL Combine. The 6’9, 310-pounder recorded 20 bench press repetitions, the fifth best result of all players present.
Winnipeg would round out the draft, selecting Laval wide receiver Tyrone Pierre with the 41st overall pick, followed by offensive lineman Matthew Ouellet De Carlo with the 49th pick, defensive back Jacob Firlotte was selected 58th overall, while Waterloo offensive lineman Ben Koczwara was the final Bombers draft pick of the night, going 67th overall.