It's still early in the offseason but I have already settled on who will be getting my Official Rider Prophet Endorsement in this year's training camp. For those not familiar with the Endorsement, basically each year I pick one player to root for generally based on the awesomeness of their name. Past players I have endorsed include Gabe Nyenhuis, Ikenna Ike, Jose Valdez, Boo Robinson. You'll note that what this list has in common is that they did not make the team. In practice, the Rider Prophet Endorsement appears to be a curse to the recipients. Closest I came was last year when I endorsed Chad Kilgore... he made the team but really sucked. Nonetheless the Endorsement lives on.
This year I will be endorsing LB Eltoro Freeman who we just signed from an offseason free agent camp. Eltoro is a great name (so long as you are not an O-lineman). I have no clue if he's any good. He has a good highlight video but to be fair, who has bad highlight video? Bottom line is we really need depth at LB and more importantly Eltoro is an awesome name. (My proposal to name my next kid Eltoro has already been shot down by Mrs. Prophet).
Sadly, we are now reaching the barren wasteland in terms of the offseason. December/January may seem long but we have NFL to fill that gap. Free agency was actually pretty interesting by CFL standards (once things actually started). But now we have no football whatsoever and the next notable football event will be in May when the CFL Draft goes down. Sure a few signings of guys you've likely never heard of will sporadically sneak out but this will be a LONG 2 months. I will do my best to help fill the void, what I lack in quality I make up for in a lack of competition and looking good by comparison.
With free agency pretty much behind us (minus a couple notable guys left to sign), let's take a look at where the Rider roster sits with 4 months to go before the season.
QB: Pretty much set. Darian is entrenched as the starter. Glenn is the emergency fill in/most beloved guy in Saskatchewan should Durant ever not play perfectly. Sunseri, Doege, Smith (and maybe Price) will be competing for the token young QB who hopefully does nothing but hold the clipboard.
RB: People forget how good Allen was last year (minus the fumbles). Add in the speed of the Space Cowboy (Steve Miller) and the power of Jerome Messam and we already have the makings of a decent backfield before the new recruits even arrive.
OL: More depth is needed here but most teams could say that right now. Likely waiting until the draft to add Canadians. Hopefully a couple import tackles will be signed for competition and depth behind Fulton and Adcock.
WR: Starters are mostly set Smith/Bagg outside. Watson/Dressler/Getz inside. Williams/Richardson may battle for a starting spot. Cdn depth isn't bad with McHenry, Anthony and Pierchalski. When it comes to recruiting WRs we have been a trainwreck so I'm not going to hold out hope that a new hot shot WR is on the way. It would be nice but past history says that no matter what the hype, our WR recruits will fizzle.
DL: Strongest part of the team. Our front 4 is as good as any out there. Our depth is what is the concern. Be nice to have strong competition at both DT and DE come training camp.
LB: We have Emry with Shomari, Gesses and Regimbald for depth. As for outside LBs... I have no clue. Brack or Brown may take a spot or may both end up in the secondary. Total crapshoot at this point. I will say this though, we currently have just 3 pure import LBs on the roster (Kilgore, Burdette and Eltoro). Peters may return which helps but out overall recruiting at LB is an ongoing concern.
DB: Another position of strength. Macho, Jackson, LeGree, Maze. Maybe Brown, Maybe Brack. We are only down a starting CB from last year and we should be able to find one of them. MacDougall will be in the mix somehow. It will be tough for a newcomer to crack this position but I said that last year and LeGree emerged.
K: Milo will be our kicker. I like that we are bringing in competition but the end game here is pushing Milo to kick better, not finding a replacement. The punting job is O'Neil's to lose... possibly somewhere in his beard.