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May 13, 2020

Running Wild: Stamps ready to reclaim West Division

Johany Jutras/ presents ‘Off-Season Depth Chart,’ a series of articles reviewing every team’s depth chart at is stands to date.  Note that these are not official team-issued depth charts, but projections based on insight and analysis from around the league. Additionally, 2020 Draft picks are not included.

CALGARY — The Calgary Stampeders set their sights high once again in 2019, aiming to appear in their fourth consecutive Grey Cup game, which was set to be hosted at McMahon Stadium.

However, it wasn’t meant to be, as they were dropped out of the postseason by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Western Semi-Final.

The Stampeders did lose a number of contributors from the 2019 season, with the biggest hits being defensive back Tre Roberson and receiver Reggie Begelton, who both departed for NFL opportunities.

Calgary also saw receiver Juwan Brescacin, defensive lineman Chris Casher, running backs Don Jackson and Terry Williams and defensive back Courtney Stephen depart when free agency opened in February.

The majority of their offensive talent remains intact, and the group will once again be led by 2018 Most Outstanding Player and Grey Cup MVP Bo Levi Mitchell. The star pivot missed a chunk of the 2019 campaign due to injury, but once he returned, it didn’t take long for him to return to his dominant form.

Nick Arbuckle was able to steer the team to victories in Mitchell’s absence, but the 26-year-old has moved on to become the starter for the Ottawa REDBLACKS, leaving the team to find another quarterback in the open market. They landed on Dakota Prukop, who was able to get some much-needed in-game reps in with the Toronto Argonauts last season. He was able to exhibit the ability to stretch the field and run the ball, which should open up some more options for Calgary’s offence this year.

Possibly the most impressive aspect of the team in 2019 was their depth at the receiver position. Despite the likes of Begelton and Eric Rogers putting in stellar performances on a weekly basis, others proved their worth when injuries arose.

The breakout star of the campaign on offence was 2019 first-rounder Hergy Mayala, who started to come on stronger down the home stretch of the regular season. With more openings for starters, the Montreal, Que., native will be able to help with the ratio and be a big-time target for Mitchell.

Kamar Jorden also returns following a lengthy recovery from a gruesome leg injury in 2018. He played in the Western Semi-Final, but he’ll have even more jump with a full off-season worth of training under his belt. Josh Huff, Richie Sindani, Colton Hunchak and Aaron Peck also made their marks when given the opportunity.

Ka’Deem Carey assumes the starter’s role following a standout season where he earned the lead back role before an upper-body injury ended his year prematurely. He’ll be backed up by Ante Milanovic-Litre and global rusher Asnnel Robo.

The biggest addition on the offensive side of the ball via free agency is lineman Sean McEwen. The third overall pick in the 2015 CFL Draft has spent his entire four-year career with the Toronto Argonauts and hasn’t missed a single game in his professional career. McEwen is a Calgary native and played his U SPORTS ball with the Calgary Dinos, so he’s no stranger to the Stamps and playing at McMahon.

Royce Metchie will be holding down the deep third of the field at the safety position. The National had a standout first season with Calgary, leading to him winning the starting spot over Stephen in 2019. He’ll be flanked by new signee Branden Dozier along with Jonathan Moxey, who both have proven track records in the CFL.

Richard Leonard comes over from Hamilton to assume the starting field corner spot for the Stampeders. He also played halfback for the Ticats last season, so he could also slide inside if there’s a need or someone else stands out in camp. Raheem Wilson remains at the boundary corner spot he occupied last year. He finished the season with a pair of picks and a forced fumble while locking down his side of the field.

One of the strongest points of the Stamps’ defence is the WILL linebacker position. Wynton McManis was the starter there for the majority of 2019, however, reigning Most Outstanding Rookie Nate Holley has made a clear case that he needs to be a starter this year.

With Cory Greenwood still without a contract, McManis can slide inside and hold down the MIKE spot in the second level. As for the SAM position, Incumbent Jamar Wall returns for another season, however, the Stamps also have Basil Jackson, whose stellar play in Germany earned him a deal this off-season.

Casher is a glaring omission from the Stamps’ defensive depth chart, as he was one of the key cogs in the pass rush last season. But 2019 sack leader Cordarro Law, Derek Wiggan and Mike Rose all return this year.

Folarin Orimolade does currently hold down the top spot at the right end, however, the Stamps did add defensive lineman Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund with the third overall pick in the 2020 CFL Draft, so expect healthy competition for that spot in the lineup once he signs a deal.

Dave Dickenson’s squad will once again be one of the most formidable units in the entire league in 2020. With the additions John Hufnagel has made through free agency and the draft, don’t be surprised if you once again see Calgary pushing for a championship.