Well, we might as well talk football. Gotta do something to take our minds off the dreadful cold snap we're going through. It's been cold so long here than even Bomber fans think its been a long time (and they measure lengths of time in decades). Just for the record, putting on sunglasses and a sumbrero and drinking margaritas while listening to Hawaiian music only helps beat the cold until you run out of booze and the hangover kicks in.
Obviously we are all excited that the 2020 Grey Cup is coming back to Regina. My liver has been forewarned and will be starting training immediately. While it is exciting news, I thought the video of the people jumping up and down and screaming at the announcement was a bit ridiculous. That had to be faked right? The motto for 2020 had better be "Experience Regina" or we are missing out on a marketing gold mine here.
Anyway, now that Free Agent Frenzy has passed I thought I'd take a look at what roster building is left for the Riders before training camp and where they might find the needed pieces.
QB - My guess is that the 3 we currently have signed will be the 3 we enter the season with but we do need at least one more arm in camp. Maybe Paul Jones can turn the tide of terrible QB recruiting we've been on. The good news is that it won't be Brandon Bridge. He's a good guy, a good Canadian but just not a good QB.
RB - Pretty much set, through the combo of Powell and Thigpen gives us the oldest RB combo since... well since Messam and Thigpen last year. Be nice to find a new recruit to stash on the practice roster and develop for when one of the old guys throws his back out while yelling at an episode of Matlock.
WR - Given Roosevelt's durability concerns and Arceneaux's who knows when he'll play concerns, I would like to bring another vet WR into camp to make it a real competition. Chris Matthews and Terrence Tolliver are still out there but I doubt we bring a "name" guy like them in. We've done well recruiting WRs of late so hopefully we can unearth one or 2 more.
Canadian WR - We're in trouble here. Watson is old. Lavoie is more of a utility FB/TE/part time SB than a fulltime solution. I'd love Picton to be awesome but at this point with Harty out again everything currently rests that. This will need to be a priority position in the draft unless we can swing a trade. We could always bring back Bagg or Bailey, which would seem to fit O'Day's current MO.
O-line - We are actually pretty solid here. Both starting tackles are back and we have 5 Canadians for the 3 starting interior spots. I'd still love to find a centre so we can finally end the Dan Clark experiment but I've given up hope on that. We do need at least one more Canadian for depth. St John is still out there. Also Dakota Shepley has yet to sign in the NFL (he would be a huge add). We will also likely look to draft here as well.
D-line - We pretty much have our 6 man rotation set (Hughes, Leonard, Geter, Johnson, Evans, Henry). We have guys like Maggit and Edwards back to compete for the import depth. We could use at least one more Canadian body to back up Evans. Steele is still out there but we will likely lean more to developing young guys like Breton or Mufata or drafting for depth.
LB - We almost have too many Canadian LBs but I guess there are worse problems to have. Assuming Dyshawn Davis and at least one new recruit at LB pan out we should be OK. That said, with guys like Knox and Ball still available another vet would be good.
DBs - Are starting 5 are rock solid. Depth behind them... particularly Edem is scary. We could always have Elam at safety and play an extra Cdn LB if needed but I'd rather have some actual depth behind Edem (beyond Radford who is an emergency fill in). Likely need to draft for that but guys like Adam Thibault and Anthony Thompson are still out there. Our back up import DBs will come from new recruits. We seem to be good for at least one stud DB recruit per year so fingers crossed that continues. Eli Bouka just got cut from the NFL. He's a free agent but hopefully we earned some good will by releasing him early to take that NFL opportunity. He will fill that need nicely.
Special Teams - We are set and likely just waiting for the right offer to trade Crapigna. If we had to keep him around have 2 solid kickers is not awful but he should have value and we have greater needs. My guess is we hold onto him until training camp waiting for another team to get desperate.