Welcome to a year that can't possible be as bad in terms of Rider football as last year... right? Hope abounds as supreme ruler Jones makes preparation for his inaugural Rider season (I honestly would not be the least bit surprised if Jones personally sells me over priced beer tokens come June).
Check below to get caught up on all the NFL workouts and the few CFL signings that took place over the holidays. Until news picks up again you will have to settle for a smattering of my random quasi-coherent thoughts.
- I liked the re-signing of SJ Haidara. He will likely not develop into the impact receiver he was projected to be when BC used a second round pick to draft him but he is an important depth guy for a team that will need to start Canadian receivers.
- The acquisition and signing of Jariel King is being viewed by many as an underwhelming move to address our OL issues. Consider this though. When Jones took over in Edmonton their O-line was an embarrassment. He didn't make many high profile moves but moulded that line into a solid group in a short time through adding some players that didn't garner a headline at the time and coaching. I have faith he can do it here again.
- Lots of talk about us potentially poaching Edmonton defensive players in free agency. Here are a few other names to keep on the radar (keep in mind this is pure speculation on my part):
LB Rennie Curran - We need LBs. Curran is unlikely to stay in BC with Bighill and Elimimian there. Curran enjoyed a lot of success under Jones when he was with Edmonton.
DB Jermaine Gabriel and DL Cleyon Laing - Both were drafted when Jones was D-coordinator in Toronto and were highly regarded prospects. We need to rebuild our Canadian core and either would give us a big boost in that department.
WR Kenny Stafford - While Walker and Bowman got a lot of the attention, Stafford quietly put up 9 TDs! Lots of talk about Edm defenders on our radar but offensive guys like Stafford might attract our attention as well.
Canadian DTs - Unlike our previous regime's incorrect assumption that they could simply draft a starting Cdn DT in the 3rd round, I expect us to try and find a more proven option in free agency. Obviously Ted Laurent is the big fish but cost may be a factor as the whole league would like a guy like him. I've already mentioned Laing. Also keep an eye on Zach Evans... not just because he's a local boy (Chris Jones probably doesn't give a crap about that) but his stock has visibly risen in Ottawa. This might be his chance to step out of Shologan's shadow. I also think Hasan Hazime is an underrated player. He's had injury issues and isn't quite ready to be an every down starter but I've seen flashes from him.
Marcel Bellefeuille – will join BC as an offensive assistant
Jaime Elizondo – hired as Ottawa’s new OC (was previously Argos’ WR coach)
Cleyon Laing (Tor) – Workout with New England
Freddie Bishop (Cal) – Workout with New England
Eric Rogers (Cal) – Workouts with Minnesota, Cleveland, Houston and NY Jets (has 14 total workouts scheduled)
Euclid Cummings (Tor) – Workout with Chicago
Kenny Stafford (Edm) – Workouts with Baltimore and Tennessee
Dobson Collins (Mtl) – Workout with Baltimore
Dexter McCoil (Edm) – Workouts with Arizona, San Diego and Minnesota
Colin Kelly (Ott) – Workout with Philadelphia
Tristan Okpalaugo (Tor) – Workout with NY Jets
Willie Jefferson (Edm) – Workout with NY Jets
Steven Clarke (BC) – Workout with Tennessee
Emmanuel Davis (Ham) – Workout with Tennessee
Aaron Grymes (Edm) – Workout with Tennessee
Swayze Waters (Tor) – Workout with Tennessee
Jeff Fuller (Cal) – Workout with San Diego
CFL Ins and Outs
In: WR SJ Haidara (contract extension), OL Jariel King, DB Kwame Adjei, OL Aaron Picton, RB Brandon Deschamps (free agent signing)
In: DB Joe Burnette, DL Frank Beltre (contract extension)
In: DL David Menard (contract extension)
In: WR Adarius Bowman, DL Almondo Sewell, K Sean Whyte (contract extension)
In: OL Stanley Bryant (contract extension)
Out: OL Dominic Picard (released)
In: FB Patrick Lavoie, WR Jamil Smith (contract extension)
In: LB Thomas Miles (contract extension), OL Joe Circelli (free agent signing)