Kyle Walters and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers appear pleased with their 2014 CFL Draft class, but they now look to the 2013 crop to round out their rookie camp roster.
TSN 1290 has learned the Blue Bombers have agreed to a contract with 2013 11th-overall draft pick Kris Robertson.
Robertson, a 5-foot-9, 185-pound defensive back out of Concordia, has been working to recover from an ACL injury suffered while training soon after his selection by Winnipeg in the 2013 CFL Draft.
"This past year I've been training like a crazy man — working hard. I want to get back. I want to get on the field," said the 23-year-old while taking in this year's CFL Combine as a spectator. "This is the longest I've been off playing football since I started in Grade 10… This little break is more so a mental barrier than a physical barrier. I'm just excited to get back on the field."
"I'm just gearing up, getting myself a lot stronger. I want to make sure I'm above and beyond what I was last year."
At the time, Robertson was thought of as a bit of a stretch selection when former Bombers general manager Joe Mack chose him with the second pick of the second round, but his athleticism is hard to ignore. His numbers in the 2013 Montreal regional earned him an invite to the main combine in Toronto, where he tested atop both the vertical and broad jumps, as well as recording a blazing combine-best 4.42 40-time.
"Dynamite leaping ability," said Winnipeg general manager Kyle Walters this past March when describing the two-time All-Canadian kick returner. "Kris is not a very big guy, but for a little guy, his athleticism and he's a competitor. He's like a lot of undersized football players that have had success, they become a real tenacious-type character. And he has that. Obviously his speed is his number one skill set, but he's got an aggression to him for an undersized guy. And he's got a fantastic vertical jump… He's a really phenomenal athlete and a real tough competitor."
Despite being a draft pick of the former Joe Mack regime, Robertson appears to fit in well with what Walters is doing in his new-look defensive backfield.
"Kris is a unique body-type and a unique skill set," added Walters. "In hindsight it ended up being a nice fit for him with us potentially moving to a Canadian field corner. He'll be able to compete at a spot where he's got a comfort level."
Robertson will compete alongside fellow non-imports Donovan Alexander and Graig Newman, who were signed as free agents in February, as well as Matt Bucknor who was acquired via trade with Hamilton in January, and 2014 fourth-round pick Derek Jones.
"I'm always optimistic when it comes to these things. I feel I'm just ready. After watching them last year — I watched every game — it was upsetting because I feel even though I wasn't a part of the team, I feel I'm part of the team. You know, you don't like to lose. I know no one likes to lose. It's upsetting, but I feel with the new coaches coming in and everything, I feel this is a good turnaround. Good things are going to happen, especially with the new acquisitions they got in free agency."
"I grab my lunch pail and go to work. That's the kind of person I am. I'll do anything I can to contribute and bring success to the field, the position, the city of Winnipeg."