Bombers trade top two draft picks for Canadian DT Cameron Lawson

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Aussie bettors point to CFL World Draft and Bombers take two… Offensive lineman Dobson could be back in the mix for Bombers… adding depth on the defensive line

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Cameron Lawson had a feeling the Winnipeg Blue Bombers wanted him all along, so he was hardly shocked when the defending Gray Cup champions acquired him from the Montreal Alouettes on Tuesday.

“I’m pretty sure they wanted to draft me in 2020, but I think they only had 20and choose or something,” Lawson said in a phone interview. “I went just a little higher than that.”

The Bombers acquired the 23-year-old Canadian defensive tackle ahead of the CFL Draft by shipping their first (ninth overall) and second (18and in total) picks at the Alouettes. The Bombers got a 285-pound tackle, which was drafted in the second round (16and overall) in 2020 and Montreal’s second-round pick (13and globally).

“I’m super excited about this,” Lawson said. “It’s a better opportunity for me, with the Bombers starting a Canadian defensive tackle and having two of the best defensive ends in the league to learn a lot from.

“I knew Winnipeg had been interested for a while. I was more excited than shocked or something.

The Bombers had the best defensive line in the league the past two seasons, with star defensive ends Willie Jefferson and Jackson Jeffcoat leading the way. Veteran Jake Thomas, the Bombers’ longest-serving player, is a Canadian who starts out as a defensive tackle.

Presumably, Lawson will give the Bombers valuable depth behind Thomas. Lawson played in four CFL games last year with Montreal, but didn’t record any stats.

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“We went with an all-American D-line, so I was behind (perennial star) Almondo Sewell,” Lawson said. “The games I’ve been in, they haven’t really played me much. They told me I was supposed to have a number of games, but they didn’t really follow through. But I’m grateful that they drafted me and gave me a chance.

Lawson was a highly touted Canadian prospect fresh out of Queen’s University, where he was named the 2019 Association of Ontario Universities Lineman of the Year.

During his college career, he had 74 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, and 11 sacks.

Lawson considers himself a versatile defensive tackle, who can rush the passer and stop the run.

DOBSON BACK IN THE MIX?

There was some interesting news regarding Bombers 2021 first-round pick Liam Dobson on Tuesday.

The Bombers felt like they had lost Dobson to the United States Football League, but TSN reported that his contract with the New Orleans Breakers fell through due to a work visa issue.

Dobson, who hails from Ottawa, was drafted third overall from the University of Maine but traded to Texas State for the 2021 season before signing with the USFL.

The 6-foot-3, 330-pound offensive lineman could possibly be back in the mix as a candidate to replace star Drew Desjarlais (New England Patriots) at left guard this season.

Dobson has lined up a few appearances at NFL mini-camps, with the New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears, but if he remains unsigned after those camps, he might be able to sign with the Bombers.

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This possibility is likely why the Bombers felt comfortable trading their first pick to bolster the depth of their defensive line, rather than trying to nab a potential starting offensive lineman with the pick. No. 9.

PICK UP PUTTERS

The CFL held its World Draft on Tuesday afternoon and the Bombers nabbed a pair of Aussie bettors, with their first- and third-round picks.

Tom Hackett went in the first round (sixth overall) and Michael Steep-Dalton went with the sixth pick in the third round.

If the Bombers could bring Hackett and/or Steep-Dalton to training camp, they would join a kicking mix that includes outgoing Canadian punter Marc Liegghio (also a place kicker) and American place kicker Ali Murtada.

The Bombers had the least stable kicking game in the CFL last season, at least until they traded veteran Sergio Castillo, who helped them win the Gray Cup. However, Castillo signed with the Edmonton Elks this offseason, so there is once again competition for expected kicking jobs in the Winnipeg camp.

Of the 27 players selected in the world draft, eight are bettors and seven of them are from Australia.

With their second-round pick, the Bombers took defensive back Souleymane Karamoko from France.

ADD TO LINE D

The Bombers also added three more American players to their training camp roster on Tuesday, including defensive back Zach Hannibal and defensive ends LB Mack III and Jordan Berner.

Although the Bombers had stars Jefferson and Jeffcoat as D-line bookends, the team’s overall depth was depleted a bit when Jonathan Kongbo signed with the NFL’s Denver Broncos.

Mack III (Rhode Island) and Berner (Southern Illinois) come to the Bombers straight out of college.

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Twitter.com/Ted_Wyman

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