Monday, February 27, 2017

Monday Evening Sentimonies: What’s Left?

Now that free agency frenzy... err, free agent moderately busy couple days… err, free agent barely noticeable event except amongst football starved CFL die hards who would probably watch a show about a CFL equipment person doing laundry… anyway now that that’s over, the Riders have certainly filled a few holes on the roster. But there are more holes yet to be filled.

Obviously free agency isn’t the be all and end all. There is still the draft and crop of new import recruits (for the record yes, I do still refuse to adopt the new “international” lingo, I’m stubborn like that) to round out the roster. So much like most of my socks, its normal for holes to still be there. With that in mind thought, I thought I’d spend today looking at the remaining roster needs for the Riders and where they might look to address it.

Long Snapper
There is possibly no person on the roster who people care less about than the snapper… at least until he screws up. When they do their job right, you barely notice they are there but one bad snap can change to outcome of  a game so while they aren’t likely to have more than their mom’s lining up for their autograph, they are pretty important. Currently we do not have one on the roster. Unless the plan for 2017 calls for never attempting a kick of any kind, I imagine we plan to change this. Plan A is likely to re-sign Jorgen Hus but he is exploring NFL opportunities so no guarantees there.  You could certainly use a late round pick to draft one which I imagine is plan B. Also, given the importance of the position I wouldn’t be opposed to bringing back Randy Chevrier and letting a new prospect learn under him for a while.

Coverage LB
Replacing a guy like Otha Foster is a tall order and given the degree of difficulty of the assignment you generally only want to put a rookie in there as a last resort. That leaves us pretty thin on options. Tyler Hunter saw spot duty there. I’ve speculated that a guy like Kacy Rodgers could be moved there. I also wouldn’t rule out Brouilette playing there (as he has done previously with the Als) thought that would address one roster hole while creating another. I imagine we will audition some new recruits here but the likely starter is probably currently on our roster.

Defensive Backs
We currently have 8 DBs on the roster. When you consider that 5 of those will start and 1 more is likely to bump up to LB that currently leaves training camp battles looking easier than your mom (sorry I'm sure your mother is a fine person I was just too lazy to think of something wittier). Now you can count on a whole bunch of DBs from our free agent tryouts to be brought to camp. It’s one of Jones’ favourite positions to stock up on. So stay tuned but as for today we are desperately low on DBs.

OL Depth
The status of our OL depth depends entirely on the development of Josiah St John and Dhillon Guy. If they are ready to compete for a roster spot then life is actually not looking to bad. I think Plan A involves starting 3 import OL with King at RG. If we have White, St John, Guy and Vonk for depth then things look alright. If we have White and Vonk then we are one injury away from bubble wrapping Kevin Glenn. Either way I am of the mind that you can never have too much OL depth and if you aren’t drafting at least 2 OL per year then you are asking for trouble. I expect our first or second rounder to be used on an OL and then likely at least one more in later rounds.

Canadian WR
With addition of LaFrance, looks like we will only have 1 starting Canadian WR this year. That being the case we look good with Bagg and Demski. But the depth behind them is concerning. It consists entirely of second year player Joshua Standford (who was not close to ready to be taking offensive snaps last year, even though injuries forced it to happen) and newcomer Kelvin Muamba. I would certainly like to see more additions here, be they draftees or undrafted free agents. It’s not a pressing need but could quickly become one if we don’t start planning ahead.
*** Update: the Riders clearly read this and as a result added Mitchell Baines today, still more is needed***

Defensive Ends
This stems purely from the fact that unlike Chris Jones, I don’t think AC Leonard is that good. My preference would be to complement Jefferson with another solid pass rusher and use Newsome as a rotation guy but as of yet Jones hasn’t requested my input on the matter. I think we are thin on competition there with only Kaelin Burnett being added to the mix. I imagine our tryouts have unearthed a few other hopefuls (I just pray that they are actually D-linemen and not receivers/basketball players/Vince Young/random guy Jones saw running in the park this weekend).

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