Monday, January 25, 2021

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Riders Sign 2020 Draft Class

The signings continue to roll in for the Riders. It almost seems like a daily thing now. In the back of my mind I keep thinking that this has to stop at some point. I mean, we already have 92 people signed… and given that we have no starting LBs or kickers and the 2021 draft class to go we clearly aren’t done. We are on pace for the Riders to qualify as a village come training camp.

 Now some of these guys will clearly be on the roster. Guys like McCray, Moore, Williams-Lambert and Vaughn are important signings that project as starters. Side note: How awesome is it to have Cofield and Vaughn locked up? When was the last time we had to starting tackles under 29 years old? (Any mention of Charles Thomas will get you smacked). Anyway… but we have signed dozens of what would normally be “training camp fodder”. Guys like the other Flacco and what I can only assume is Dan Marino’s brother Garrett. Sure some of those guys will end up making the team and becoming household names. But given the high probability of a delayed season and shortened training camp, how many of those 92 players never set foot in Canada?

One interesting set of signings was our 2020 draft class (minus 8th round pick Neville Gallimore, who is preparing well for the perennial disappointment of playing for the Riders, in Dallas). Really interesting year for draft picks. First round picks like Mattland Riley will make the team. The hope is that between Riley, Schram and the OL we will take 2nd overall in the 2021 draft (spoiler alert) that one can be the new starting RG and one can be the 6th OL. But for the remaining guys (Schaefer-Baker, Allen, Femi-Cole and Lawson) they unfortunately have the worst timing possible.

Its tough for those late round picks to make the team. One guy may make it as a special teamer. A couple may stick on the PR and wait a chance to step in as an injury replacement. But not only do they have the usual odds against them, they will also be competing against a whole other draft class at the same time. The 2021 picks will also be competing for those very few spots. And then, add in that with a shortened training camp and good odds of no preseason games, the chance to show your stuff will be severely limited. I expect lots of teams to use their 2021 picks to take flyers on guys who they might have to wait a year on (or in later rounds guys who may go back to school).

Overall I like how our roster is shaping up. We have no starting LBs, we need a HB (assuming Gainey doesn’t return), we need kickers, we need Hughes and we need OL depth. Considering we are in January that’s not bad.

Last thing I’ll touch on is Greg Ellingson. Lots of talk linking him here due to the Jason Maas connection. Obviously I would love to have him but with Evans, Moore and Lambert under contract we don’t NEED him. If the price is right do it. If not, don’t. And the price may be right. A few top end WR are trending to free agency: Ellingson, Burnham, Posey and Rogers. Normally that would mean teams would be opening their wallets to attract them. But teams have no wallet this year. So one of the them may get more money by hitting free agency but the others will likely end up with less because teams will spend the few $ they have rather than waiting on them and end up getting a few of them super cheap. So there is a chance that Ellingson comes just cheap enough to fit in our cap. 

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