Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday Round-Up: Riders Free Agency Thoughts

Normally the post-free agency summary post is a fairly easy undertaking on my part. Comment on the couple guys we add, comment on the couple guys we lost, based on the previous regime also probably throw in some lamenting at the lack of Canadian depth, and we're done. This year however, anything more detailed than "everyone but like 5 guys left and we signed basically a new team" would require a multi-volume series to accurately summarize. I could add in that most of Edmonton's free agent's migrated here and most of ours migrated to Winnipeg. (I really wanted to add a comment about Winnipeg's free agent's going nowhere because no one wanted them but we went and signed one of them so there goes that one).

Since you guys are probably aren't interested in reading like 10 pages of my thoughts... and lord knows I'm not putting in that kind of effort on a Friday, what I'm going to do today is give a brief comment on each of our new acquisitions on an individual basis. Monday I will dispense my sentimonies on the big picture direction of our roster (which incidentally I am very pleased with though at the rate things are going in Riderville don't be surprised if by Monday I've been replaced with a younger more productive prophet who probably came from Edmonton or Toronto).

Justin Capiciotti DL - I was expecting us to land a Canadian DT but a Canadian End of Capicciotti's (who needs a nickname stat because I'm already tired of typing his name) talent is fine by me. This gives two big boosts to our roster. 1 - it gives a proven pass rusher to pair with Lemon which will continue our recent history of solid DE pairs. 2 - It gives a big boost to our ratio because The Cap (no?) Cappy? (I'm open to suggestions at this point) is a bona fied starter (not just a token Cdn we start because we have no better options like our DT last year. Solid add.

Shamawd Chambers WR - Speaking of solid Canadian additions Chambers certainly fits that mould. A great combination of size and speed. Injuries have limited his development but he is still on his way to being a very impactful Canadian receiver. I like that we aren't content with Demski and Bagg (who could easily fill the needed 2 ratio spots) and are bringing in top end talent to build depth and competition.

Greg Jones LB - I'm pretty sure he only made the team because his dad is the coach. I figured we'd target a MLB but to be honest Jones wasn't on my radar (guys like Curran, Sherritt and Hoffman-Ellis were). That said I love this signing. Jones had a tremendous year in Toronto. He's a reliable presence in the middle who can shut down the run and solidify a defense (something we really need). He is also a good blitzer and plays great on special teams.

Otha Foster LB/DB - A very underrated signing in my opinion. The cover LB spot is a tough one to play. You need the right mix of coverage ability and run stopping physicality. Foster has played that spot in Chris Jones' defense very well. The prospect of Knox/Jones/Foster at LB sounds damn good to me. Certainly beats the miss mash we've had the last couple of years.

John Chiles WR - Much like Alex Hall last year. Chiles' return from the NFL caught a few people by surprise. Chiles has all the tools you want in a receiver. Good size. Great speed. He's a playmaker (scoring 8 TDs in his rookie campaign). His issue has always been consistency. He was crazy good in 2013, had an off year in 2014 mostly due to injury.  If Jones can turn Adarius Bowman into a top receiver, I'm hopeful he can do the same with Chiles (who has a starting advantage over Bowman when it comes to actually catching the ball). This could be a big impact signing though there is some risk.

Jeremy Kelley WR - He's very tall. Just because its obvious doesn't make it any less true. He's the equivalent of having Ryan Smith carry Dressler on his shoulders. To be perfectly honest I have minimal expectations of Kelley but he's certainly worth a look in camp.

Kendial Lawrence RB/KR - I hesitate to use this comparison because I don't think Lawrence is at this level yet but he will be a Corey Holmes type offensive weapon. Some running, some catching, some returning. He's a dangerous returner (I would tell you how dangerous but CFL stats are in shambles at this point) and at only 24 he still has room to grow as an offensive weapon.

Dylan Ainsworth DL - Crazy concept, build depth behind your Canadian starters. Ainsworth has a ton of value to this team. He can back up El Capitain (Still working on that nickname). He was also our best special teams player last year. Really glad to see him get another tour of duty with the Riders. He's about the only high draft pick we've been able to retain in recent years. Still not sure how he snuck by our strict "only 6 feet plus" policy.

Bruce Campbell OL - Normally I'm opposed to trading picks for imports but in this case a 4th rd pick for a potential starting LT is probably a good move for a team whose O-line struggled mighty last year. Campbell was a full-time start in Toronto (and also a former 4th rd NFL pick) who became expendable when they acquired Josh Bourke. He's billed as extremely athletic. Which is a better compliment than say Jamarcus Hardick who played OT for a bit last season and the best compliment I have is that he is an enthusiastic cheerleader.

Graig Newman LB/DB - Feels kinda dirty taking Winnipeg's sloppy seconds but he was ours first so that makes it somewhat ok. This is another badly needed boost to our Canadian core. Not sure if he fits in as a safety or LB. But we know he can play on teams and at minimum rotate in on D so this is a good Canadian signing.

Andrew Jones OL - Another example of nepotism in hiring (kidding). Also another example of an unsexy but important boost to our Canadian talent. Our Canadian O-line depth is essentially 3 guys (and maybe Vonk) which is both sad and scary. Jones is a versatile guy who can play all interior positions as well as come in on tight end and has familiarity with the McAdoo offense. He might surprise and push for a starting spot but at a minimum we have a reliable vet OL to provide depth.

Tevaughn Campbell DB - Former U of R Ram, ridiculously fast. His blazing 40 time got him some NFL looks out of college. I was surprised Calgary let him go for that cheap (4th rd pick in 2017). Hufnagel alluded to some injury concerns so keep an eye on that but a super fast, Canadian DB is a useful addition in my opinion. He even got in as a starting CB briefly in Calgary, shows some potential to me.

Curtis Steele RB - I kinda get this signing but am decidedly meh on it. Steele is a decent situational RB but he's yet to prove he can be an every down back. He gets praise for his strong special teams play which probably boosts his value. No harm in bringing him into to compete for a spot but I don't see him as the answer at RB.

Ed Gainey DB - In a myriad of signings, this was the only one I went "Him? Seriously?" I get that he is a veteran DB and we don't really have any of those but I just don't think he's very good. Had he done anything (and I mean anything) defensively while covering Greg Ellingson in the East Final the miracle TD never happens and Hamilton probably goes to the cup. He would have fit just fine in last year's secondary. I hope we find some new hot shot DBs who make Gainey expendable.

If you made it this far congratulations on your commitment. You've earned a drink. Go now. I don't care if its still the morning.


Unknown said...

I certainly didn't expect the Rider to be as active in free-agency as we were, but wow, it's great to see a GM with vision bringing in players of value with youth and not mortgaging our future for the now! I like the Kelley signing for depth and maybe he'll contribute more next year. I had some concerns with our Canadian spots, but day 2 quelled any fears there. Huge fan of the admin before... much bigger fan now!

Govind said...

"don't be surprised if by Monday I've been replaced with a younger more productive prophet"

Based on our moves so far, you forgot "taller"

Rider Prophet said...

Chris - I agree. Certainly more activity than expected but I like the way the roster is taking shape.

Gov - by this point I assume taller goes without saying. I'll just spike my hair, wear vertical stripes and platforms, and get a super small dog. Like when Bart was trying to get the part of Fallout Boy

Thomas Gunther said...

How about J.C. or Cap Attack for nicknames? to campy?