Monday, May 6, 2024

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Rookie Camp

At long last, football is about to return. There has been no football at all since February, no CFL football since November and no meaningful Rider football since sometime last summer. It’s been a while and in the words of Michel Scott “No question about it, I am ready to get hurt again”. 

Rookie Camp opens this week. So today I am going to highlight a rookie at each position to keep an eye. Now keep in mind that traditionally an endorsement by the Prophet is akin to the kiss of death for aspiring recruits. 

QB – This one is pretty easy as there is only going to be one rookie in camp, Jack Coan. Opportunity is wide open for Coan. Harris is entrenched as the started. Pipkin’s sole purpose is as a 3rd down QB. Obviously Fine and Patterson have the inside track at the #2 spot but neither are a sure thing. If Coan can quickly pick up the CFL game Riders may decide to keep him around. 

RB – Tough going for aspiring RBs as you are essentially competing for a practice roster spot. Ouelette is the unquestioned starter. Bertrand-Hudon can backup. Its 50/50 as to whether we bother dressing 2 American RBs and if we do it’ll be Hickson to start the season. Jerrion Ealy is the guy I will be watching. Successful career at Ole Miss, can catch as well as run, has experience returning kicks. His skillset could line up well with the Canadian game.

WR – Of all the positions in camp American WR is the most wide open in terms of opportunity. Other than Bane there is no sure thing. Sterns mostly likely keeps his spot but he can be pushed. We will dress at least 3 American WRs and Watson is the only other guy with CFL experience. If you are looking for height (which Bane and Sterns lack) then O’Joshua Bunton is worth watching. As a Div 2 player he lacks the notable resume of some but he was a track star so has speed to complement his size. He also has an average catch distance of almost 25 yards so has some experience with the deep ball. 

OL – The tackle spot opposite Hardrick is still up for grabs. In theory Hawkins has the inside track but with 6 other American OLs in camp its clear that we are looking for improvements. The one I’m watching here is Jonathan Hubbard. A natural left tackle. He’s just 26 but has managed to stick on the practice roster of both the Dolphins and Bucs. 

DL – This is actually a very veteran heavy position group. Of the 16 guys currently signed only 4 have no prior CFL experience. Going to be tough for one of them to crack the roster. At just 23, Roman Harrison is one of the youngest guys coming to camp. A 4 year career at Tennessee with 8 sacks and 17 tackles for a loss. Be interesting to see how he adapts to the CFL game. 

LB – Bit of a cheat on this one as the guy I’m highlighting spent the end of last season on the practice roster. Jalen Moody catches my eye for one primary reason. Obviously playing a Alabama is notable but he primarily played on special teams there. Well if a rookie LB is going to make this roster they better be good on special teams. 

DB – Interesting but useless tidbit, we have two DBs coming to camp with the last name Fields. Who I do want to highlight though is Antoine Brooks. He’s an intriguing prospect. He’s only 25 but he has 4 games with the Steelers, 8 games with the Rams the year they won the Super Bowl and a season in the XFL. That experience may give him a leg up on the competition.  

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