Bombers sign 2021 third overall pick Liam Dobson after failed attempt to join USFL

Photo: AP/Ron Cortes

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have signed 2021 third overall CFL Draft pick Liam Dobson to a two-year contract.

The six-foot-three, 330-pound offensive lineman officially arrives in Winnipeg after attending two NFL mini-camps with the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints.

Dobson was the Bombers’ first-round selection in the 2021 CFL Draft but opted to return to school for a final season after transferring to Texas State following an outstanding four-year career at the University of Maine.

The Ottawa native then chose to sign a contract with the newly launched United State Football League and was selected 23rd overall by the New Orleans Breakers in the 2022 USFL Draft. The move raised alarm across the CFL, with fears that the USFL might be seen as a viable alternative for marquee Canadian talent, but Dobson was ultimately unable to join the fledgling US league after their revenue did not meet the legal requirements to secure him a foreign work visa.

In college, Dobson was a 2020 preseason All-America Third-Team selection by Hero Sports and 2020 preseason First-Team All-Colonial Athletic Association by Phil Steele. He was selected Stats FCS Third-Team All-America and First-Team All-CAA in 2019 and was voted Maine’s Outstanding Offensive Lineman after starting all 12 games and averaging 12 knockdowns per game in 2019. Dobson was Maine’s highest-graded offensive lineman in every game as a junior before transferring to Texas State.

Dobson will be at Saturday’s practice, wearing jersey number 64 for the Bombers. That is just one number higher than Winnipeg legend Chris Walby, whom Dobson has been compared to by scouts.