Clearly upgrading at receiver has been one of Taman’s main focuses this offseason. He has brought in at least 7 new guys into camp to compete. Honestly I would love to get excited about this year’s crop but history has made me very skeptical. Need I remind you that recent receiving recruits have included Terrence Nunn, Prechae Rodriguez, James Robinson and Jordan Sisco. I’m not saying we’re doomed but I will remain skeptical until I see something to change my mind.
This year’s cast of hopeful’s include (in not particular order): two former 2nd round NFL picks, two former 7th round NFL picks, someone who is actually shorter than Dressler (its nice to know the Riders are committed to competition at every position even the token midget one), six guys with NFL experience, a retarded rabbit and a guy coming back from a major knee injury. It’s quite the mish mash of people.
Who’s In The Mix: Chris Getzlaf, Rob Bagg, Weston Dressler, Efrem Hill, Scott McHenry, Dallas Baker, Jordan Sisco, Patrick Brown, Jason Cherry, Taj Smith, Justin Harper, Sinorice Moss, Bogdan Raic, Dwayne Jarrett, Jock Sanders. (Nathan Riva and Brendan Owens may also be in the mix)
Projected Starters: Obviously Dressler, Getzlaf and Bagg are locks. Outside of that there are no guarantees… though you’d have top think that based on experience Hill and Baker have an early lead in the race. That said I don’t think either have any shred of job security if they don’t step up in camp… Hill in particular.
Thoughts: Dressler and Getzlaf have consistently proven themselves as quality producers. That said history has shown us that for both to be successful we need a tangible #2 receiving option to a) take pressure of Dressler and b) keep Getzlaf lined up as a #3 receiver where he is most effective.
Rob Bagg could be that guy (and here comes the perennial caveat) if healthy. In terms of talent and potential I think Bagg is legitimately only slightly behind Andy Fantuz. Go back and watch the games from 2009 where Bagg was moved to slot to cover Fantuz during injury. Bagg played outstanding.
Getzlaf and Bagg may be the 2 most underrated Canadian receivers in the CFL. Bagg for the reasons stated above and Getzlaf for the following 2 reasons:
1) Only 3 receivers in the CFL have more TDs than Getzlaf over the past 3 seasons (Jamel Richardson, Arland Bruce and Terrence Edwards).
2) No Canadian receiver has more yards than him over the past 3 seasons.
Believe me, I like to rag on Getzlaf for his ridiculously inconsistent hands as much as the next guy but you can’t question his production.
My concern is not with our Canadian starters but rather with who is backing them up. Sadly at this point either Sisco or McHenry are guaranteed a game day roster spot by virtue of being Canadian. McHenry is a decent special teamer with minimal potential as a receiver and Sisco is a steaming pile of crap plain and simple. I am praying that Bamba has a change of heart or Raic/Riva turn out to be outstanding. There just has to be something better.
As for the competition among the imports, I think we are really looking to go big at wide-out. Guys like Baker, Jarrett and Harper will be in the mix and at least one of them will be making the team. Speedters like Moss and Cherry also have a shot at a spot if they can pick up on the waggle and use it to their advantage.
Prophet’s Player To Watch: Justin Harper
Outlook: It can’t be possibly be worse than last year… can it?