Familiarity led to Bombers signing QB Alex Ross

Winnipeg Blue Bombers director of college scouting Ryan Rigmaiden extensively scouted quarterback Alex Ross during his time with the B.C. Lions.

Rigmaiden spent six years as the Leos director of U.S. scouting and played a role in B.C. bringing Ross to the Left coast in 2017. When the Lions let Ross go after one season, Rigmaiden’s familiarity allowed the Bombers to act quickly. The scouting report on Ross: makes good decisions, accurate, strong arm, throws a catchable ball.

“Obviously, Ryan is familiar with Alex and when he was released, he was able to give a little bit more in-depth evaluation and his thoughts on what he thought about Alex,” Bombers general manager Kyle Walters said. “We were able to get a contract signed quickly so we could get him up here to mini-camp. We’ll watch him throw next week.”

Bombers mini-camp runs from April 24-26 in Winnipeg.

Ross went 33-8 as a starter at Coast Carolina University while setting school records with 11,724 passing yards, 72 touchdowns against just 24 interceptions which added up to a 151.85 passer rating. He can move the chains with his feet, 1,985 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns prove that. The Atlanta Falcons brought Ross in for a rookie mini-camp look after he went unselected in the 2016 NFL draft.

Signal callers with CFL experience are often sought-after commodities, but when management changes – Ed Hervey took over as general manager in B.C. – so does the roster.

“Nothing really surprises you, particularly when you see a new regime come in and they want to put their stamp on things,” Walters said. “Different regimes view things differently and it’s very subjective the evaluation of players.”

The Lions were high on Ross in training camp, Wally Buono felt he had some characteristics the same as Jonathon Jennings, but felt he didn’t progress on the anticipated trajectory. Ross played sparingly in four games completing 5-of-12 passes for 82 yards and two interceptions while rushing for 14 yards and one touchdown as a CFL rookie last season.

Matt Nichols is 31 years old and has risen to face-of-the-franchise status. Veteran and Grey Cup champion Darian Durant inked a one-year contract to be the Bombers’ backup pivot. Ross will compete to win the third-string job, a role he held in B.C. last season. At 25 Ross has the potential to be a young, up-and-coming quarterback.

“It’s a very difficult process for the quarterbacks, but anybody you sign you’d like to think can grow and develop. As we’ve learned in our league where it’s a two-week training camp and you spend your time getting your number one and your top couple guys their reps in training camp, there is just not a lot of reps to go around for the rest of the guys so you evaluate as best you can with the reps that you have,” Walters said.

“Until these young guys get thrown into the fire and an opportunity to play it’s really difficult to say one way or another. The expectations for anybody on your roster, regardless of position, you think they’re going to be able to contribute when called upon.”