Blue Bombers draft defensive end Anthony Bennett with 8th overall pick

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers used their first selection in the 2023 CFL Draft on a defensive lineman.

The Bombers selected Anthony Bennett from the University of Regina Rams with the eighth overall pick in the Canadian draft.

He’s a 26-year-old, six-foot-one-inch, 229-pound defensive end who originally hails from Florida. He was ranked 16th in the latest CFL Scouting Bureau rankings.

“I’m so happy,” Bennett told the 680 CJOB Sports Show. “They went to the Grey Cup last year. What more can you ask for. Guys love to compete. They got a winning environment, they made it to the Grey Cup three years, back-to-back-to-back. I can’t get enough of it.

“I was like, man, that’s a winning team. I’d love to be a part of it.”

Bennett was both a USports and a Canada West All-Star in 2022. He had 38 tackles, nine sacks, and one interception for a touchdown in nine games last season.

“I’m a fiery dude,” he said “I love to compete, but most importantly, I love to win.”

He’s a versatile player who’s played several different positions in the past.

“I was thrown everywhere,” said Bennett. “I was literally a linebacker, I was a mike, I was a will, I was a sam, I was off the edge.

“Whatever they want me at, man, go ahead and throw me in that box and I’m flying around.”

His father Charles Bennett is a former NFL defensive end with the Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears, and Dallas Cowboys.

It’s the first time the Bombers have used a first round pick on a defensive lineman since they selected Jonathan Kongbo in the 2019 draft.

The Bombers kept the focus on the defence for their second pick. They selected defensive back Jake Kelly out of Bishop’s at 15th overall.

They also added a local product by selecting defensive lineman Collin Kornelson of Winnipeg. The former member of the St. Paul’s Crusaders was chosen in the fifth round with the 44th pick.

The Bombers had a total of eight picks in the eight-round draft.

The Ottawa RedBlacks owned the first overall selection and used the top pick on offensive lineman Dontae Bull who’s a six-foot-six-inch 320-pounder from Fresno State. The Victoria, B.C., product was ranked seventh in the final CFL Scouting Bureau rankings.

Brandon’s Dayton Black was the first Manitoban off the board as he went to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats with the sixth overall pick.

Black is an offensive lineman with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. The former member of the Neelin Spartans moved up significantly after being ranked 20th in the final CFL Scouting Bureau rankings.

His Huskies teammate, defensive back Charlie Ringland of Winnipeg was taken by the BC Lions. The former Oak Park Raider went in the fifth round at 43rd overall.

Manitoba Bisons linebacker Nick Thomas of BC was chosen by the Saskatchewan Roughriders with the 60th pick.

The Bombers also snagged a pair of new players in the two-round Global Draft which was held earlier in the day. The Bombers used both their selections on punters.

At eighth overall, the Bombers selected Australian Jamieson Sheahan who recently completed his senior season at the University of California, Berkeley with the Golden Bears.

The Bombers also picked up Bermuda product Karl Schmitz in the second round with the 17th overall selection. Schmitz is already 36 years old and had tryouts with several NFL teams.

The Bombers open rookie camp next Wednesday for quarterbacks and CFL newcomers, while the main training camp begins on Sunday, May 14.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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