Bombers sign five draft picks, including first-round selection Anthony Bennett

Photo courtesy: University of Regina Athletics

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have signed five members of their 2023 Draft class, including defensive lineman Anthony Bennett, defensive back Jake Kelly, receiver Jeremy Murphy, defensive back Bret MacDougall and linebacker Max Charbonneau.

Bennett was taken with the eighth overall pick in the first round. The University of Regina product was named a first-team All-Canadian and a Canada West all-star after recording 38 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, and nine sacks as a senior — good enough for a school record.

The six-foot-one, 229-pound defensive end joined the Rams in 2021, recording 25 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, and two sacks. The 26-year-old played at Florida Atlantic University from 2015 to 2019.

Kelly was selected by the Bombers with the 15th overall selection in the second round. He was named the Defensive Player of the Year last season for the Bishop’s Gaiters after notching 24 tackles, two interceptions, and a forced fumble. The five-foot-11, 182-pound safety played in seven games in 2021, totalling 29 tackles and one interception.

Murphy was drafted with the 26th overall pick in the third round. The 2019 U Sports Rookie of the Year suffered a torn hamstring in 2021 but returned in 2022 to career numbers. The six-foot-one, 190-pound receiver recorded 29 receptions for 589 yards and two touchdowns in seven games to earn first-team All-Canadian status.

MacDougall was taken with the 53rd overall selection in the sixth round. The six-foot-two, 208-pound safety notched 29 tackles, two tackles for loss, one forced fumble, two interceptions and three pass breakups with the Windsor Lancers in 2021. He made 15 tackles in six games in 2021 and dressed for three games in 2019 but did not record any stats.

Charbonneau was selected 72nd overall, with the penultimate pick in the eighth round of the draft. The six-foot-two, 224-pound middle linebacker played 28 games over four seasons with the University of Ottawa but notched his best season in 2022. He appeared in eight games and recorded 27.5 total tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack, two forced fumbles, a pass breakup, and a blocked kick.