Thursday, May 29, 2008

We Made It!

Somehow we managed to make it. It's been 186 days since the Grey Cup (not that I'm counting or anything) and finally the offseason is officially over. Now you would think, given all the excitement and celebrations of winning the Grey Cup, that this offseason would have flown by... Not so.

You see this was no regular offseason. Not only did we have to survive 6 football-less months, over those 6 months we had to suffer through the loss of the Coach of the Year, the loss of the reigning league MVP, the loss of our defensive MVP, the loss of 2 popular veterans and the re-signing of the Grey Cup MVP (okay maybe this last one was harder on me than most others), making this one of the longest offseasons that I can remember.

But the important thing is that we made it. Rookie camp opened yesterday and with it a new season is upon us.

Here's a couple of the big stories from day 1 of Rookie camp...

One of the most high profile participants in rookie camp is recent signing Adarius Bowman. Bowman had a very successful college career and was projected to be drafted to the NFL in the 1st or 2nd round. That all fell apart though when he was charged with possession of marijuana. He wasn't drafted or even offered a free agent deal in the NFL. Enter Eric Tillman, who locked up Bowman on our negotiation list before the NFL draft. Then by the time Bowman wasn't picked up down south and the rest of the CFL was interested it was too late. Bowman was a Rider. Now there is a chance he could just be another Hakeem Hill but that's not the impression I get. Bowman sounds like a character guy who made a mistake, paid dearly for it and now wants to re-establish himself. He's got tons of talent and something to prove. Given that Dominguez and Washington aren't ready to go yet cause of their knees, having that kind of player on our roster is a very good thing. Besides, if the CFL passed on everyone who smoked the reefer it would have to contract to 2 teams and possibly look into adopting the 9-man game.

The other big surprise yesterday was Dustin Cherniawski announcing his retirement to pursue other work opportunities after 3 seasons with the Riders. As surprising as the news is, I can see the reasoning. Cherniawski was a career special teamer/back-up who had just won a Grey Cup. In all honesty his career was at the highest it would ever get. So if he had a good opportunity outside football this was the perfect time to walk away. Best of luck to you Dustin. I only hope the Riders replace him with someone whose name is easier to spell.

Now here's what's going on elsewhere in the league...

After 23 seasons, the ageless wonder Damon Allen has finally decided to retire. His storied career includes 4 Grey Cup rings, 1 League MOP and countless records including becoming Pro Football's All-time Leading Passer. My theory on why he finally decided to call it quits is that he ran out of reasons to keep playing. He should have retired in 2004 but he wanted to win 1 more Grey Cup. He could have retired on top in 2005 but wanted to win that elusive League MOP award. He could have retired in 2006 but wanted to become football's all-time leading passer. This time around there was really nothing left for him to do except maybe trying to be the first person to throw a touchdown and cash an old age security cheque on the same day.

The revolving door in Edmonton continues. First they released Rob Pikula who they recently traded for. Apparently Pikula had other opportunities outside of football he wanted to pursue (which is a polite way of saying "There's no freaking way I'm playing for the Eskimos"). Then Edmonton quickly filled the void at punting by trading with Calgary for Duncan O'Mahony. In exchange Calgary will receive a conditional draft pick. While terms of the deal were not released, word is that the condition is that O'Mahony has to find his way to Edmonton. If he gets lost somewhere along the way the deal is off.

That's it for now. I'll be stopping by Rookie Camp tomorrow to check things out, maybe I'll see some of you there?

Monday, May 26, 2008

CFL News - Almost there

Good Day Rider fans, well after what seemed like an eternity, training camp is just around the corner. Rookie camp starts Wednesday and full camp starts Sunday. Now you'd think that after having 6 months to fine tune their rosters that GMs around the league would have everything sorted out by now in terms of roster moves. However, GMs seem to take the same approach to roster management as most guys to do Christmas shopping... they wait until the very last minute hoping to find a bargain. And like most guys, they seem to do so with a surprising success rate. So let's get you caught up with the final installment of CFL Ins and Outs before training camp opens...

In: Reggie Bradshaw, Kevin Scott, Ryan Ackerman (signed with Saskatchewan) - The interesting thing here is not so much the signings themselves (both Ackerman and Bradshaw were widely expected in camp this year) but rather Eric Tillman's comments about the signings. First, he said that he expects Bradshaw to be a contributor on special teams this season. This is a pretty big vote of confidence from ET given that Bradshaw hasn't played a down in the CFL yet. But ET's comments regarding Kevin Scott were the most interesting. Scott is a long snapper and is being brought in to compete with Jocelyn Frenette. Frenette is among the league's best snappers but his weight hampers his punt coverage ability so Tillman has asked him to slim down this year and brought in Scott as an insurance policy in case he doesn't. I love the Tillman approach to motivation. He's like a good cop/bad cop all rolled into one...

ET: "Now Jocelyn, you're coverage wasn't all that good last season."
Frenette: "No, Mr. Tillman. Does this mean your going to cut me?"
ET: "Heavens no. I wouldn't cut you now. You're a valued member of this team. You just drop some weight in the offseason and we'll work with you in camp to improve"
Frenette: "Oh thank-you Mr. Tillman!! I swear I'll work hard!"
ET: "Of course you will... because I just signed another snapper and if you don't work hard then I'll cut you."

Out: Jason Armstead, (released by Hamilton) - the Ti-cats made the decision to cut Armstead after he turned down a contract extension (at a reduced salary) in favour of playing out the option year on his current contract. This is the second time in as many seasons that Armstead has been offered a pay cut, which is generally not a good sign. There does seem to be some uncertainty about Armstead's value - he seems to think he's worth a whole bunch and should be seeing the ball more and more, while the teams he plays for seem to think he's worth less and less and shouldn't be seeing the ball at all. If Armstead decides to temper his salary expectations a bit I could see him catching on elsewhere in the league (my guess would be Toronto, given their affinity for over-valued players who others have cut), otherwise he may be sitting for a long time.

In: Rontarius Robinson (signed with Hamilton) - When we didn't re-sign Robinson right away, I was pretty sure his tenure with the Riders was up. While we're sad to see him go (Media Consultant is particularly distraught), it's not like we don't have other capable halfbacks on the roster. I think the fact that Robinson signed with Hamilton right before camp means that they were interested in him on Feb. 15, and he spent three months begging any other team to give him a chance before finally giving in and going to the Ti-Cats.

In: Joe Paopao (hired by Montreal as Offensive Coordinator) - Please add this to the list of reasons I think Montreal will be a bust this year. Coaching was obviously a weakness last year for the Alouettes and to their credit they took action to address this by relieving Jim Popp of his coaching duties. Problem is they then replaced him with a Head Coach with no CFL experience and an Offensive Coordinator whose most recent CFL experience includes failures in both Ottawa and Hamilton. Since Don Matthews resigned, this team has been on a downward slope that mirrors that of Jason Armstead's contract offers.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Who Is The Rider Prophet?

Given that it’s Friday and there’s not much for CFL news, I figured I would take this opportunity to give you some insight into who the Rider Prophet really is. A while back, a reporter decided to investigate this topic by interviewing a bunch of my friends and family. Though the reporter was unable to resolve the mystery surrounding the Prophet, they did uncover some pretty amazing stories that few people know.

So today I will share with you a collection of stories as told by the Rider Prophet’s friends and family. I will neither confirm nor deny the accuracy of these stories. You be the judge…

  • The Rider Prophet played himself to a scoreless draw in the World Ping Pong Championships that was finally called after 13 hours of play.
  • Muhammed Ali lost a lawsuit and now has to pay royalties to The Rider Prophet in order to be referred to as “The Greatest”
  • The Rider Prophet can win X’s and O’s using only the number 5
  • The Rider Prophet once tried to kill the world’s greatest lover but decided against it when he learned there were laws against suicide.
  • The Rider Prophet once performed Beethoven’s 5th Symphony by simultaneously playing every orchestral part while also conducting the ensemble. The performance garnered rave reviews though the Prophet ended up firing the lead flautist for being a little bit flat.
  • The Rider Prophet used to wet the bed… from the living room.
  • The Rider Prophet once thought he was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Then he realized he was just standing between 2 mirrors.
  • The Rider Prophet once won the Grey Cup by throwing the game winning touchdown to himself followed by holding and kicking the convert.
  • The Rider Prophet hates Europeans. And he’s half German! He also hates irony.
  • The Rider Prophet was once asked by CBC to do colour commentary. He ended up being so good at it that he finished 20 minutes before the game ended and still correctly called the winner and game winning play. Despite being awed at his abilities, CBC had to let the Prophet go due to the effect it would have on ratings and advertising.
  • The Rider Prophet once punched a hole in a cow just to see who was coming up the road.
  • "The Rider Prophet once showed me a video of him making love to my wife, and it was the most beautiful thing I ever saw!"

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Random, Quasi-Coherent Thoughts

As expected, there has been a dry spell when it comes to Rider/CFL news, so rather than a coherent post, I'm reduced to posting a series of random, quasi-coherent thoughts that may or may not be related. You'll find that it's really not much different than normal posts other than the fact that it's in point form instead of paragraphs.

- Training camp is under 2 weeks away and it can't come soon enough. With the NHL playoffs now on only every second night and the World Championships over I may be reduced to following horse racing to fill my sporting void.

- I wonder if Big Brown will be able to capture the elusive Triple Crown... Oh god it's happening already!! I'm in serious need of some football.

- Anyone else thinks it's a bit odd that both our starting defensive tackles have slimmed down considerably in the offseason? I thought their job was to plug the middle... Chunky, Schultzy for goodness sake get off that treadmill and eat a pizza or something! Leave the speed thing to the Ends.

- The Riders traded import receiver Roosevelt Kiser to BC for import lineman Amariah Farrow. Now obviously any player Wally Buono is willing to part with causes me some skepticism but I do love how Tillman always loads up on linemen. Going into camp we have at least 14 hoggies on the roster (5 starters and 5 more who would be starters on most other teams). Look for a trade similar to the Lazeo-Cates trade of last season to go down sometime before the regular season opens. I mean, what other CFL team has enough depth on the line to be able to trade an entire starting offensive line and still keep their starters and 4 decent back-ups?

- Edmonton picked up former Rider running back Shermar Bracey. Now Bracey had a couple big runs while he was here but the fact that he was cut in favour of Henri Childs should tell you something about his abilities.

- The way the Esks have been wildly signing and releasing players makes it seem like Maciocia has a quota of 3 signings and 3 releases per day (a quota he has been meeting or exceeding most days). My theory for the revolving door at Commonwealth Stadium is that Maciocia feels that people have caught on to the fact that he really does nothing of value for the team and is trying to dispel that thought by making a ridiculous amount of roster moves. He must sit at his desk playing Solitaire all day and then when he hears someone coming he quickly gets on the phone and signs or cuts someone to make it seem like he's actually working.

- The Bombers signed Jovon Johnson. I really liked Jovon and thought he was way better than that other Johnson. Problem is Jovon thought the same thing and was way more vocal about it than me which tends to negatively affect your tenure with Eric Tillman's team.

- The Bombers also extended Derrick Armstrong and Terrence Edwards. Not sure how you go from rumours of significant cap trouble to miraculously being able to re-sign Goodspeed, Canada, Sheridan, Glenn, Armstrong and Edwards. Maybe Taman read the Wally Buono guide to salary management.

- 2008 must be the Year of the Retired Fullback. Julien Radlein, Gerald Commissiong and Mike Mauer all announced their retirement recently. Radlein will be looking for a career outside of football, Mauer may pursue his mixed martial arts career and Commissiong is reported to need to the time off to attend important events like prom night and high school grad (Seriously, can you call it a retirement when you quit after your rookie season?)

- The Calgary Stampeders have signed 3 import receivers (Tyrone Calico, Chris Jackson and Jessie Burton). In other news, Stampeders management are still trying to figure out exactly what this new concept called defense is but are hoping that by signing no defensive players a strong one will magically appear.

- Anyone else wonder who this Reedsblack guy is and what horrible life events have turned him into the ranting ball of hate we see before us?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Cameron Wake Pursuing Contract Loophole

Big news out of BC this week. It seems as though Cam Wake, last year’s Rookie and Defensive Player of the Year) is trying to use a loophole in the Collective Bargaining Agreement to get out of his contract with the Lions in order to pursue opportunities in the NFL. If Wake is successful it could affect as many as 70 other CFL player contracts.

Now before I get into my usual jokes and tomfoolery allow me to explain what’s going on here…

There is a provision in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the League and the Players’ Association that says all rookies must be offered a 1 year plus an option contract. They are allowed to sign a longer term deal if they choose but the 1+ an option must be offered. Wake signed a 2+ an option deal and evidently feels that 1+1 deal was never offered. As a result, the Player’s Association is reviewing all rookie contracts from last year to see if anyone else is in the same boat as Wake. If the claims are found to be valid, any rookie who was not offered 1+1 would likely have their current contract voided thus making them a free agent. With as many as 70 players involved this could get interesting.

Wally Buono has stated that he expects everything to work out. Given the BC Lions’ pristine reputation when it comes to adamantly following all league rules, clearly we can take Buono’s word at face value and not pursue this any further. I mean the mere fact that BC has a policy of offering all rookies a 2+1 contract should not be an indication that maybe Wake has a valid argument. I mean, yes a team policy of offering 2+1 to rookies when the CBA mandates a 1+1 offer does seem to a bit weird but I have complete faith in the BC Lions organization and the integrity for which it stands. They are easily as believable as other reputable sports figures whose actions were questioned such as Barry Bonds, Raphael Palmero, the New England Patriots and Michael Vick. Well, maybe that comparison isn't really fair. I mean, at least Vick didn't force the dogs to commit for at least two years before he put them in the ring.

Now obviously Wake is more concerned with capitalizing on timely NFL opportunities than upholding the integrity of the negotiation process outlined in the CBA. If he had had a mediocre season instead of a breakout one he would probably the thanking his lucky stars he signed a longer deal and this would not even be an issue. But it does bring a good point to light. Whether they like it or not BC should be following the CBA. It’s not rocket science. You have to look no further than our own Eric Tillman for evidence that the system can work. He also signed a rookie who turned out to be a phenom at Defensive End but Tillman knew the rules and offered him a 1+1 contract and signed him to an extension in the offseason. You don’t see John Chick going to arbitration. Heck even that diminutive idiot Danny Maciocia seems to be able to handle this rule (proving that high intelligence is not a requisite). Interestingly enough no players from any other teams have come forward with similar complaints… just a member of the Lions. Sources say the Lions’ Public Relations area is concerned that this “unfounded” allegation will tarnish the Lion’s image of being a good upstanding team that staunchly follows and supports all league rules.

We will have to wait and see how this turns out. Although 70 player contracts are currently being reviewed, anyone who either signed for 1+1 or says they were at least offered 1+1 will be unaffected. But given that our players are safe for the most part, you can bet that Tillman is licking his lips at the possibility of a bunch of new free agents unexpectedly hitting the market. Knowing Eric, he's probably already placed a few calls to the Players' Association saying "Hey, better check into this guy's contract!"

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Results Are In…

It’s time to announce the winner in the Rider Prophet Trivia Challenge.

There were 23 possible points and stake and one person went lights out and nailed all 23 of them. So congratulations to Brent S. In the world of otherwise useless Roughrider knowledge you reign supreme. Your prize for winning is bragging rights amongst your friends and a virtual high five from the Prophet.

For those of you whose Rider knowledge is not at the same level as Brent or myself here are the answers:

1. The 3 first overall Canadian draft picks on our roster are Scott Shultz (2001), Steve Morley (2003) and Wayne Smith (2004) (Funny that only 1 of them was our draft pick and other 2 were acquired by Eric Tillman)
2. Five current Riders have won the Grey Cup before 2007. Jeremy O’Day (1997, Tor), Eddie Davis (1998, Cgy), Corey Grant (1999, Ham), Marcus Crandell (2001, Cgy) and Michael Palmer (2004, Tor).
3. Reggie Hunt holds the CFL record for most defensive tackles in a regular season game with 16.
4. The most intercepted CFL QB of all time is Ron Lancaster.
5. Paul McCallum’s record setting FG was 62.5 yds, tying a professional football record.
6. Eli Manning is the all-time passing leader at Ole Miss.
7. Nealon Greene holds the CFL record for most rushing yards by a QB in a regular season game with 180 (Sadly that record setting game was against the Riders while Nealon was an Eskimo)
8. Gainer the Gopher hails from Parkbeg Saskatchewan. His cousin is/was Leonard.
9. Since the Regina Rams moved to the U of R in 1999, the Riders have drafted 4 Rams: Mike Thomas (2003), Craig Zimmer (2004), Ryan Ackerman (2007), and Teale Orban (2008). Some people will say Neal Hughes but Hughes went undrafted and signed as a free agent.
10. This question may have caused some confusion given how it was worded. I was looking for the first picks in the drafts following the 95 and 96 seasons. But given that a dispersal draft took place in 1995 following the 94 season this led to some confusion as to which draft I was referring to (3 dispersals in 3 years, man those were good times for the CFL). Anyway here a list of the 4 players we picked first in the dispersal drafts (any of them were acceptable responses):

1995 – Prince Wimbley III
1996 – Curtis Mayfield
1997 – Lamar McGriggs (not David Archer as many would have guessed)
2006 – Kerry Joseph

And for the bonus question the Rider Prophet’s favourite player is Kitwana Jones (contrary to some speculation it is not James Johnson or Henri Childs).

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Rider Prophet Roughrider Trivia Challenge

I figured it was time for a little reader participation. So I present to you the first ever Rider Prophet Trivia Challenge.

There’s 10 trivia questions below. If you think you know the answers send me an email: . Whoever gets the most right wins. And what’s the prize for the fabulous contest… You will get bragging right and be publicly acknowledged on this blog for your superior knowledge of otherwise useless facts.

Good luck.
1. We currently have 3 former first overall picks in the Canadian draft on our roster. Who are they?
2. How many current Roughriders have won a Grey Cup before the 2007 win? Bonus points if you can name them.
3. What former Rider holds the CFL record for most defensive tackles in a regular season game?
4. Who is the most intercepted CFL QB of all time?
5. How long was Paul McCallum’s record setting FG?
6. Kent Austin is 2nd all-time in passing yards at Ole Miss. Who is 1st?
7. Who holds the CFL record for most rushing yards by a QB in a regular season game?
8. What town is Gainer originally from? Bonus: What was the name of his short lived cousin?
9. Since the Regina Rams moved to the U of R in 1999, how many Rams players have the Roughriders drafted? Who?
10. The CFL has had several failed franchises over the years, leading to dispersal drafts in 1995, 1996 and 2006. Who did the Roughriders use their first selection on in each of those drafts?

Bonus question: Who is the Rider Prophet’s favourite player?

Winners will be announced Monday.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Jimenez Cleared By Arbitrator

Last season ended over 5 months ago. This season is just over a month away. Teams are busy signing players and finalizing rosters for training camp. But rather than commenting on roster moves, scheduling or something else that's remotely recent, I'm forced this week to comment on an incident that occurred before last year's playoffs. Ahh the joys of covering the CFL...

Last week, an arbitrator overturned a league-imposed suspension on reigning Fan's Choice Douche Bag of the Year Jason Jimenez. Jimenez was assessed a 1 game suspension following the Nov 3 game against Calgary where Jimenez cut blocked Anthony Gargiulo at the knees breaking his leg in 3 places as well as tearing tendons and ligaments. The arbitrator ruled that the contact was "accidental". There's so much that is ridiculous about this situation that I'm not sure where to start.

Maybe I'll start by recapping the whole ordeal... In the last game of the regular season, Jimenez breaks Garguilo's leg. The next day, the league suspends him for one game. Jimenez appeals, but apparently no arbitrator could be found in the 2 weeks between BC's final regular season game and the West Final (I guess November is a popular vacation time for arbitrators), so the decision is deferred until the offseason, meaning Jimenez got to play in the playoffs. Now 6 months later an arbitrator, who knows nothing about football, decides that no suspension was warranted to begin with. Long story short, Jimenez breaks a guy's leg and other than the mild inconvenience of attending the arbitration hearing, walks away scot-free, which is more than can be said for Garguilo. The CFL's discipline process at it's finest. I bet just the thought of having to attend another hearing to clear his name will deter Jimenez form ever doing wrong again.

Imagine if this happened in real life... someone kills a guy in plain view of the cops. The cops catch him and say "Look, we're charging you, but if you appeal the charge we can't arrest you until your case is heard. And by appealing you are pretty much guaranteeing that you'll get off because the judge is actually just a Fine Arts major who knows very little about criminal law and always sides with the accused. On the other hand you could do the honourable thing and just accept the charge even though we have no way of making you do that."

Now I could sit hear and rant about how flawed the discipline process is from the maximum 1 game suspension, to the ability of a player to stall a suspension up to 3 weeks, to the fact that in the end decisions can be made by someone who specializes in law rather than football but I'd be wasting my breath. The fact is that's the system that the league and Player's Association agreed to and for now we're stuck with it. The only way things will ever change is if the Player's Association agrees to make changes.

The Player's Association is responsible for protecting the interest of their members, so obviously they are going to fight against anything that could impact a player's pay cheque. That's why they want maximum suspensions to be so short and why they want the ability to appeal to an independent 3rd party. But the Player's Association is in a tough spot with the Jimenez case and if Commissioner Cohon is smart he will use it to the league's advantage.

Normally, suspensions and fines involve 1 player and it's a case of the "big bad league" vs. the "poor hard working player" and the Association is the hero that comes to the aid of the player. But in this case, by defending Jimenez, the Association is ignoring Garguilo who is also one of their members. This is thin ice that they are treading on because if they continue to support players who cause possible career ending injuries to other players, there will soon be a mutiny within their ranks.

So the time is now for Cohon and the league, they need to champion Garguilo as the reason changes are needed in the discipline process... to protect the players (by the way, it was a little awkward to use the word "champion" in the same sentence with a Calgary player). If changes aren't made soon, things could get down right ridiculous. Player's already know that they can't get suspended for ripping a helmet off an opponent and tossing it downfield, liberally punching or choking another player, or breaking an opponent's leg with a dangerous cut block at the knees. Now that they have this knowledge look for them to push the envelop to see what else won't get them suspended. My guess is that 2008's list of non-suspendable offenses may include: putting your opponent in the sleeper hold, wrapping barbed wire around your pads, shanking someone in the trenches and placing a garbage can over an opponent's head and repeatedly hitting them with a folding chair.

In other news, the Board of Governors revisits the idea of selling the league to Vince McMahon. Turns out the man was just ahead of his time.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

CFL Draft 2008

Turns out my decision to arbitrarily stop blogging part way through the 2nd round yesterday may have been jumping the gun just a bit. Some very interesting things happened before it was all said and done so let’s bring you up to speed.

First, the Riders made a surprising trade part way through round 2, sending their 3rd round pick and their 1st round pick in ’09 to BC for their 2nd and 4th round pick. They then proceeded to draft Michael Stadnyk, a defensive end who’s a Regina native originally.

With their 4th Round pick the Riders chose offensive lineman Jean-Francois Morin-Roberge, who is in-fact 1 person, not 2 as his name(s) would imply (seriously are 4 names necessary?). In the 5th round we took defensive back Jeff Zelinski.

That 5th rounder was supposed to be our pick last but Tillman saved the biggest surprise for last. Tillman traded a neg list player to Hamilton for their 6th rounder and proceeded to draft… Teale Orban, the Regina Rams’ QB and two-time Hec Crighton trophy nominee.

To see the full draft results click here

Now that you’re caught up, let’s take a look at how we faired this year.

Keith Shologan, DT – Great pick. Drawing comparisons to Scott Schutlz. As long as he doesn’t stick in the NFL he will be a huge addition.
Jonathan St. Pierre, OL – Pegged as the successor to Jeremy O’Day at centre. Already a talented player and still has one more year of college to go.
Michael Stadnyk, DE – Coached by the same guy as John Chick. Can you see why Tillman was interested in him?
Jean-Francois Morin-Roberge, OL – At 6’6, 320 lbs he’s a big guy, which he’d have to be to fit a name like that on a jersey.
Jeff Zelinski, DB – strikes me as a Dustin Cherniawski-type special teamer.

You know you’re football team is in good shape when you can use your first 3 draft picks on guys you don’t expect to get until next year at the earliest.

Right now you’re saying “But Prophet… you forgot about one of our draft picks.” Firstly stop talking to your computer screen (I can’t actually hear you and the people around you are starting to stare). Secondly, I haven’t forgotten about Mr. Orban.

Teale Orban, QB – Well I was partially right. I did say Orban wouldn’t go before the 5th or 6th round. Problem is I proceeded to guarantee it wouldn’t be the Riders who drafted him (I swear Eric Tillman makes moves just to spite me). I’m still very surprised by the move. We already have 3 QBs under the age of 25 so I really didn’t see us adding a 4th. ET apparently had other plans. After having some time to think about it though, I don’t mind this pick. Orban’s a talented athlete and despite being only 22 has been a starter for the past 4 years.

Allow me address some misguided speculation I’ve been hearing about the drafting of Teale Orban…

#1: This was just a PR move.
Do you seriously think that a GM who traded away the League MVP for 2 unknown players, traded the team’s defensive MVP for a back-up QB and released 2 very popular veterans all in the same offseason would make a move purely for good PR??

#2: Orban likely won’t develop into an elite player.
… And of course the other 6th round draft picks have perennial all-star written all over them. He’s consistently been one of the top QBs in the CIS so I’d say he has as good a chance as any late round draft pick of developing into a starter.

#3: We shouldn’t have traded anything to get Orban when we could have just signed him as a free agent after the draft.
Tillman is the kind of guy who traded away the league MVP rather than give him a raise. He’s not the kind of guy to spend needlessly. Obviously, he thought that Orban wouldn’t be around come the end of the draft or he wouldn’t have traded away a roll of tape let alone the rights to a player he’s been scouting. Besides, what’s the harm in trading the rights to a prospect player who may never even come to the CFL for the rights to a prospect player who is guaranteed to come to the CFL?

Orban will be in camp but in all likelihood will end up playing out his last year of CIS eligibility to continue developing. At the end of the day, Orban, like all our draft picks, is just a player with potential who may or may not develop into a contributing member of the Riders.

It’s tough to say for certain at this point whether we made good picks or duds. They all sound look good on paper and address some future needs but there’s so much uncertainty with draft picks that we won’t know the true value of our picks until 1-2 years from now. Calling this draft a success at this point is kinda like saying that your new girlfriend will be your future wife. Sure she looks good and you’ve enjoyed the time you’ve spent with her so far. There’s a chance this could be the one. But there’s also slight a chance that she could turn out to be a psychopathic cheating whore. You never really know for sure until it happens…

I’ll end with some other random thoughts on the draft…
- I was shocked that Edmonton didn’t draft a kicker 2nd overall again this year. Especially since they released Hayden Epstein last week
- I can’t believe Winnipeg actually made a first round pick. Take it in sports fans this is the sporting equivalent of seeing a solar eclipse (it won’t happen again for years).
- Congrats to Regina product Paul Woldu who was drafted by the Alouettes in the 5th round.
- Now that the draft is over I’m predicting a sever shortage on CFL news until training camp opens. So if you have any ideas for topics please send them my way or there’s no telling what kind of mindless filler I may be reduced to posting.