Note: Today’s post intentionally ignores all the drama and posturing of CFLPA negotiations. They will get a buzzer beater deal, they always do. So I’m assuming that in the analysis that is contained below.
Note 2: Use of the term “analysis” in the preceding paragraph intentionally glosses over the journalistic and grammatical shortcomings, legally I'm not even sure I can call it analysis.
Rookie camps open this week. Kicking of the start to another CFL season. I’m pretty pumped. My liver, vocal chords and family connections may not be. But I am.
Today we are going to take a look at some of the roster spots were those coming to rookie camp have a legit chance to make an impact.
Normally I would start with QB. In Saskatchewan, affection for the back-up QB falls only behind that for perogies and half tons in the ranking system. Problem is we have exactly 3 qbs on the roster. So the only thing to watch will be if Jake Dolegala can unseat Mason Fine for #2. I assume there will be at least one more QB in camp at some point.
The most wide open spot on the roster is RB. Its an open competition. While Morrow and Cooper certainly have the advantage, rookies like Shamar Moreland, Frankie Hickson and Justin Covington will be given every opportunity. Moreland is the one I’m most interested in. He’s the lightest and presumably the fastest of the bunch.
There will always be opportunity at American receiver. We need depth and last season showed that odds are good those depth guys get called on due to injury at some point. Guys like Paul McRoberts and Ricardo Louis have had moments but failed to lock down the spot with any certainty. The new recruits include Justin Weah, Darvin Kidsy, Xavier Ubosi, Jamal Custis, Jakob Prall, Tevin Jones and Jonathan Jonhson. At 6’4, Jamal Custis out of Syracuse is an intriguing prospect.
Sure be nice to find an offensive tackle or two… honestly half of one would be an improvement over last season. We do have veterans in Vaughn, Na’ty Rogers, Jamal Campbell and a returning Andrew Lauderdale but man would I love to see one Tommy Champion (he has to be good right?), Bryce Hargrove, Ka’John Armstrong (who spent time on the PR last season) or Kooper Richardson be awesome... or serviceable… or occasionally capable of blocking somebody. Also with rumours that Mattland Riley may be retiring, it will be important to see what we have in 2021 pick Logan Bandy and 2022 picks Fry and Aldo Montoya (prepare to die).
D-Line will be tough to crack as we had such a huge 2021 recruiting class with Marino, Robertson, Lanier and Adams. Also (fingers crossed), Jonathan Woodard was recently released by the KC Chiefs. We do need a D-tackle to replace Micah. Based purely on size and pedigree Miles Brown is the most intriguing. But I’m always skeptical when a DL with NFL size ends up here so quickly. Usually a good reason for that. Nick Coe spent some time on the PR so he’s another I have my eye on.
Linebackers should be a tough group to break. We have rock solid starters and guys like Gary Johnson and Nigel Harris looked decent in limited time last season so we should have depth. But both missed a lot of time due to injury so there is room for competition there. Luke Holloway and Jason Momoka (if the Riders are smart they keep this guy around. You can attract a lot of ladies to the game thinking they will be seeing Jason Momoa) are about the only “rookies” (plus our most recent draft picks).
Secondary we have 2 needs and pressing and one that I am speculating. We need a halfback, open competition there. I also wonder, whether the movement of the hashmarks (and the added space on the short side) will impact Nick Marshall at all. Space is not his friend (as evidenced by his that time he was forced to play HB). Might be nothing but its certainly in the back of my mind. Names like Josh Nurse, Amari Henderson, Will Sunderland, Brian Cole, Stephen Denmark, CJ Reavis, TJ Morisson, Levonta Taylor, LeVonte Larry and Jermaine Kelly are the new recruits (though I expect a couple to be move to compete at cover LB). Stephen Denmark is fast and was a late NFL pick, so I’ll be watching him. Josh Nurse is another name on my radar. He was a Stamp recruit in 2021 and Hufnagel seems to know a thing or 2.
Really looking forward to actual football being back. There should really be prop bet on the 2022 Terrence Nunn. For those more recent fans, Terrence Nunn was a training camp phenom who had all the fans raving only to accomplish only slightly more than me in his CFL career. We will hype someone so much that would will think they are a surefire hall of famer, only for them to be cut really early. It’s what we do.