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Author Topic: Q&A with GM Kyle Walters  (Read 610 times)
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« on: March 22, 2019, 04:11:03 AM »

Q&A with GM Kyle Walters - Ed Tait

The fuzzy, muddied picture that is the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 2019 Canadian Football League draft rankings will come more in focus this weekend.

Bombers GM Kyle Walters, Head Coach Mike O'Shea and Assistant GM/Director of Player Personnel Ted Goveia arrived in Toronto on Wednesday for CFL meetings as well as Thursday's Ontario Regional Combine and the National Combine on the weekend. sat down with Walters earlier this week before he headed east to touch on a number of combine/draft related subjects.

Here's an abridged version... Maybe we could begin by rewinding to last week's regional combines. How did the Western and Eastern combines in Edmonton and Montreal affect your draft rankings, if at all?

Walters: The guys who are already in our system we've graded, so you go back and re-grade them after the combine based on what you saw in person by raising or lowering it.

Then you want to make sure the guys you maybe hadn't graded get into your system. There's a couple, like (Tariq) LaChance from Manitoba and Winnipeg here. He hadn't played since 2016... he showed up and looked really good (earning an invite to the National Combine, along with fellow Bison, receiver Shai Ross). We will go back and dig up film of him from 2016 and put him in our system.

That's what the regional combines are about, to find out who maybe isn't on our radar and then get them into the mix. And for the guys who were on our radar, did they go up or down in our rankings.

Shai Ross was in our system already. We liked him and liked him all year. He went out and certainly helped himself with the way he tested.
In the Eastern Combine, Jay Dearborn went crazy with the testing. We had seen him before - he was from Holland College, a tiny school out east - and showed up a couple years ago with the same testing numbers before going to Carleton. There are three basic components to the National Combine: the testing, the individual interviews teams do with players, and then the on-field 1-on-1s. But how much weight do you really put on the 1-on-1s, given all the game film you have on players?

Walters: It's tough. An example is the defensive backs. The reality is with the Canadian defensive backs we don't expect them to play corner, halfback or nickel. Most of the Canadian kids, certainly for us, are not expected to line up and cover slotbacks. They're just not doing that. That's not their job description. So, it's more of how they look athletically.

That makes the DBs the hardest to grade, in my opinion, because you're watching them line up at all these positions when you want to know if they can play free safety.

Then you get to the O-line group... they're playing tackle (in 1-on-1s) when they've been at guard in school. You have to be careful not to hold the 1-on-1 against kids because they're doing things they've haven?t done a lot of before at different positions.

It's the same with the linebackers. It's difficult, because a lot of the linebackers you want to see transition to special teams with us, so they need to show some toughness and physicality and still be able to run. Same with the tailbacks... a lot of them are going to be used on special teams and be asked to line up on punt and kickoff return.

That's the difficult thing in all this. You're trying to look at these guys in drills and position-specific stuff but for each of our teams, it's where are you going to put your Canadians and what is their role going to be. In general terms, what are you, Mike and Ted looking for at these things?

Walters: It's good for us to have the three different points of view at this. Ted is there for the scout's mindset. A lot of what Ted studies is height, weight, speed and testing.

Mike is very big on the interview process. He's very much interested in weighing out how much a kid cares about the game. We've talked about this before: we want to find out in the interview if the kid has a passion for the game. Are they good guys? Are they going to fit in?

But then there's the compete level you see in the 1-on-1s. They show a compete level, but also the willingness of a guy to jump in there. We've talked about this before: who is taking every rep? Who is butting into line to get extra reps? We've use Brandon Alexander as an example in the past of this, when he was up here for mini camp and the thing that stood out about him was watching him in the special teams drills. They're just generic, run-down-the-field, effort drills and he was taking every rep. He was butting in front of guys and going into this line and then that line. That was noticed and that remains one of his strengths to this day and revealed a lot about his character.

We all have things that we're looking at or that jump out at us....

Read the rest of Ed Tait's article here!
« Last Edit: March 22, 2019, 04:13:48 AM by ModAdmin » Logged

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