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February 20, 2019

A Look At The Receiving Corps

Blue Bombers' Darvin Adams during warm-up CFL, West Final action in Calgary, AB, on Sunday, Nov. 18th, 2018. (CFL PHOTO - Dave Chidley)

They took a hefty swing at some of the Canadian Football League’s marquee free agent receivers before coming up short in the bidding wars.

And while the Winnipeg Blue Bombers may kick the tires on some of the pass catchers still on the market – or keep some dollars aside for those who might come free from the NFL later into the summer – the reality is the club is closer now to implementing its Plan B when it comes to revamping their receiving corps.

A lot can change with how the roster looks from now until the first day of training camp in May. As it stands, the Bombers will likely again use two Canadians in their receiving corps, as they did last season with Drew Wolitarsky and Nic Demski.

Here’s a closer look at the Bombers current receiver depth and who might comprise their Plan B from their prospect pool. (Note: Weston Dressler remains an unsigned free agent).

THE RETURNEES – STARTERS

*Indicates Canadian

WR Darvin Adams

Has led the Bombers in receiving in back-to-back seasons, pulling in 137 passes for 2,148 yards and 17 TDs. West Division All-Star in both 2017 and 2018 and his 10 receiving TDs last season ranked tied for second in the CFL.

WR/SB Drew Wolitarsky*

Enjoyed a break-out 2018 campaign with 45 catches for 650 yards and five TDs. His 650 receiving yards ranked second on the Bombers and third among Canadian receivers in the league (Brad Sinopoli of Ottawa finished with 1,376 yards, Hamilton’s Mike Jones had 841).

SB Nic Demski*

Like Wolitarsky, Demski enjoyed a banner season working in Paul LaPolice’s offence, thriving in a multi-dimensional role that ultimately saw him finish third on the club in both receiving and rushing yardage. Demski finished with 59 receptions for 554 yards and three TDs, while adding 248 yards on 34 runs and another score.

SB Kenbrell Thompkins

The ex-NFLer made a solid impression upon first being inserted into the lineup in late July, pulling in 15 passes for 213 yards in his first four games as a Bomber. But in his last eight games he had just 14 receptions for 208 yards. He didn’t catch a pass in the West Semi-Final and was not in the lineup for the West Final.

THE RETURNEES – RESERVES

Corey Washington

The size – 6-4/208 – and skill are all there for Washington, who has had looks from eight different NFL teams. Flashed his big-play ability in the regular season finale, pulling in an 80-yard TD reception from Chris Streveler that was the Bombers longest offensive play of the season.

Rashaun Simonise*

The Bombers first pick in the 2018 draft – 12th overall – is another prospect that oozes potential. Still just 23, Simonise dressed for all 18 games, seeing spot duty. He will continue to fight for snaps among a Canadian crew that includes Wolitarsky, Demski and Daniel Petermann.

Daniel Petermann*

The club is still convinced they got a steal when Petermann fell to them in the third round of last year’s draft. There’s a lot to like with Petermann, who has outstanding hands and route-running skills and also brings a gritty toughness.

Charles Nelson

Dressed for one game last year – the regular season finale – and was impressive with three catches for 35 yards, while also returning nine kicks that day. Smallish at 5-8, 170, but could bring a speed/playmaking dynamic to the receiving corps.

Kenny Lawler

A seventh-round draft pick of the Seattle Seahawks in 2016, Lawler got a long look from the B.C. Lions in camp last year before being released. Was added to the Bombers practice roster in late October. Good speed and size at 6-2, 180.

NEW FACES

Garrett Johnson

Johnson will come to the Bombers after a stint with the Chicago Bears last year. One of the greatest receivers in the history of the University of Kentucky, where he finished his college career ranked fourth in receiving yards and fifth in receptions.

Dom Williams

Another intriguing prospect for the Bombers. Has had NFL looks from Detroit, Philadelphia and San Diego after finishing his college career at Washington State with 192 catches for 2,889 yards and 30 TDs. Those totals ranked second in school history.

Evan Clark

Caught the eyes of Bomber scouts at last year’s Kansas City Chiefs rookie camp. Played his college ball with Division III St. John’s Johnnies, one of the most successful programs in NCAA history.

Tim Wilson

Just signed by the Bombers on Tuesday, Wilson potentially provides an interesting dimension along the lines of a Charles Nelson. He’s a receiver/kick returner type who also ran some track at East Stroudsburg University. Got a look last year from the Philadelphia Eagles.

Rasheed Bailey

Bailey has bounced around looking for a home since starring at Delaware Valley University, where he finished his college career as the school’s all-time leader in receiving yards and second in receiving touchdowns. He’s had looks from the Eagles, B.C. Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, San Diego Chargers, Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers.