The Weekly Say: Who should be a CFL All-Star?
TORONTO — The CFL unveiled its All-Star fan vote on Monday, giving fans a chance to help choose this year’s All-Star team.
Fans can vote up to three times, choosing a player at 10 positions on the field and will have a chance to win a $5,000 cash prize.
CFL.ca’s writers shared their thoughts on how they’d navigate the fan vote, complete with who they have as their locks, who they worry may get snubbed and more. Voting is open now until Oct. 31 at 12:59 p.m. ET. Vote today, clicking here or the link below.
Who’s your top pick, can’t-miss All-Star selection this year and why?
Marshall Ferguson: Nathan Rourke set this league on fire in a way I never could have imagined when kicking off Week 1. The great debate we are headed towards is Rourke or Collaros due to Nathan’s injury and Zach’s healthy season. On a per game basis Rourke is the guy, but will games missed and consistency win out for Collaros?
Jim Morris: There are several, like the Bomber’s Zach Collaros and Calgary’s Ka’Deem Carey but I think Ottawa’s Jaelon Acklin should be a sure thing. He has over 1,000 receiving yards on a team with three wins.
Jamie Nye: It would have been a lot more interesting to choose the All-Star QB if Nathan Rourke stayed healthy but when you combine wins, yards and touchdowns, there is only one quarterback worth considering: Zach Collaros.
Matt Cauz: It has to be Zach Collaros. I know when it comes to All-Star voting fatigue can set in and you want to come up with the clever answer but in this case, we don’t need to overthink it. The best quarterback on the best team who is leading the league in passing yards and touchdowns.
Kristina Costabile: I think the obvious choices are the offensive guys like Zach Collaros or Ka’Deem Carey, but I’m going with linebacker Wynton McManis. First of all, he’s leading the league in total defensive plays with 106 and has been key in the success of the Argos’ defence. Along with his career-best 88 tackles on defence, he’s tallied three sacks and two interceptions, one of which he returned for a TD. That’s way more than enough to be named an All-Star to me.
Don Landry: Ka’Deem Carey. Offence stuck in the mud? Hand it to 35. If the CFL were somehow able to keep a stat on how many times a player ignited some offensive momentum for his team, Carey would be the pied piper. Oh, and he’s going over 1,000 yards for the season, by the way.
Chris O’Leary: Marsh has me wondering if Nathan Rourke‘s nine games played are worth an All-Star vote, but I’d probably skew toward the completeness in Collaros’ season. If you’re building a team, start with the best, most consistently productive player. That’s Collaros.
Who’s your pick for a first-time CFL All-Star selection?
Ferguson: Toronto defensive back Jamal Peters had a stretch of interceptions accumulated against Hamilton in the heart of the regular season that was nearing ridiculous proportions. There is some great ballhawk play out there this year, but none better in my opinion than Peters right now.
Morris: Duh. Winnipeg rookie Dalton Schoen has over 1,000 receiving yards and leads the league with 11 touchdowns and a 19.5-yard average.
Nye: I’m debating on a great top three of Dominique Rhymes, Jaelon Acklin and Dalton Schoen. All three have been out of the running for All-Star. But with touchdowns, second down grabs and big plays, it has be to Dalton Shoen, the frontrunner of rookie of the year.
Cauz: I’m going with Jaelon Acklin in a close race over Dalton Schoen. Schoen has the touchdowns but has also benefitted from having Collaros as his quarterback. Acklin is second in the league in receiving yards on a Ottawa team that lost Jeremiah Masoli early in the year and has toggled between Caleb Evans and Nick Arbuckle.
Costabile: Dalton Schoen. The rookie sensation has taken the league by storm and is leading in receiving touchdowns (11), surpassed 1,000 yards and is the top receiver in second down conversion receptions (34). How can he not be an All-Star?
Landry: Lorenzo Mauldin IV. Mauldin has been a very bright light in an otherwise drab Ottawa season. 14 sacks to lead the league is enough to land the spot. God knows how many ‘QB hurries’ he’s had. Then you can throw in 36 tackles and a forced fumble if you need more to make the case.
O’Leary: Schoen is the runaway rookie of the year candidate that looks like a vet and every bit a first-time All-Star.
Who would you fight for to keep from being snubbed in this scenario?
Ferguson: Calgary left tackle Derek Dennis was the CFL’s best lineman in 2022 before ending his year due to injury. If anyone wants to use injury as a case against his excellence I won’t hear it.
Morris: I think Calgary’s quarterback Jake Maier should be an All-Star. He stepped in when the Stampeders were somewhat adrift and righted the ship.
Nye: I want to choose both Larry Dean and Darnell Sankey at linebacker because both have been so good for the Saskatchewan Roughriders all season and nothing separates them in terms of defensive plays made. I want to fight for the guy who won’t get voted for.
Cauz: I’m sure he’ll make it but I’m going to need Mike Rose on my team. Defensive tackles can get lost in the mix when it’s voting time but Rose’s production and the impact that he’s had on the players around him needs to be highlighted.
Costabile: I’ll fight for Lorenzo Mauldin. Mauldin’s been excellent on the REDBLACKS’ defence this season collecting 34 tackles. He’s also tallied 14 sacks, which is not only good for the league-lead, but he’s also broken the team’s single-season sack record. That deserves to be recognized.
Landry: Larry Dean. All this after missing two years (the first due to COVID, last season due to an Achilles injury) of football? And he’s 34? And he still makes plays on specials? Yeah, I’d fight for Larry Dean.
O’Leary: We’ve got five receivers over 1,000 yards to this point in the season and we haven’t talked about two of them yet. Let’s start with Eugene Lewis in Montreal. What would the Als’ offence be without him this season? I’ll fight for him first and would also jump in on a Malik Henry argument, as he has blossomed this year in Calgary.
What’s the most difficult positional decision fans will have to make?
Ferguson: Quarterback. The layers to Rourke vs. Collaros are so unique and make for fantastic debate on what really matters at the game’s most important position.
Morris: Picking the best offensive linemen, especially the guards and tackles, is always hard. Name recognition helps. Also, players on teams giving up the least sacks often get named but that doesn’t always tell the whole story. Defensive coordinators can probably make the best selections.
Nye: It’s always offensive line. To get a true assessment on who is the best offensive lineman in the league is never easy because there are only team stats to back up sacks allowed and the coaches don’t divulge o-line grades throughout the season. But based on sacks allowed and rushing yards, you’re picking someone from the Stampeders.
Cauz: I always struggle with defensive backs. The best in the league often have modest statistics because quarterbacks rarely throw their way. I call it the “Delvin Breaux Sr. effect.”
Costabile: Receiver is probably the most difficult one. How do you choose just one? With guys like Eugene Lewis, Dominique Rhymes, Schoen, Malik Henry, Jaelon Acklin (the list goes on), it’s almost impossible to only select one.
Landry: Judging by personal experience, I will have to say that the most difficult positional decision fans will have to make is offensive line. Unless that fan happens to be an offensive lineman or coach. Oh, and good luck picking a receiver. It’s hard enough picking five, never mind whittling it down to just one guy.
O’Leary: In the traditional media voting, offensive line is always difficult. The fan vote format makes you really have to think on every single selection though. How do you choose one receiver? Or one d-lineman or defensive back when so many are so good? It’s a good thing you can vote multiple times.