You wouldn’t believe my surprise when I saw the CFL.ca Top 30 free agent list released last week.
No, I wasn’t surprised that it was packed full of Bombers, Argonauts and Lions. I was surprised I wasn’t consulted on this.
However, the reason is I get to do what you did when you read it and ask the question; what were they thinking leaving this player off of the list???
Criticizing my peers is something I live for. It’s quite troubling if you look at it deep enough, but let’s not.
Let’s just ridicule their picks shall we?
Starting off with…
LORENZO MAULDIN IV
I get that he had some injury issues last season but that’s not a reason to throw the 2022 Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the year off the list.
His 29 tackles and five sacks was a drop off but remember that Bryce Carter is on the top 30 list. A young up and coming defensive lineman, who did get to the quarterback but let’s not ignore the fact that the guy opposite of Carter was given a lot of attention from offensive coordinators last season.
Mauldin still has game and I’ll bet he’ll make someone very happy in 2024.
I’ll be honest that I was more than surprised to see the big play Argonaut receiver left off the list. His target efficiency, big plays, touchdowns and yards/game were all among the top receivers in the league. The issue was he played 14 games and that cost him a 1,000 yard season or he most definitely would have been on the top 30 list.
I get it, he’s now over the age of 30 but in his fourth full season as a regular on the defensive line in Calgary, I was sure we would have seen the defensive tackle on the list. He had 10 sacks this year working in the interior and is consistently giving guards and tackles fits to try and block. One of the more dominant defensive tackles in the CFL.
When a coach speaks, I tend to listen. I know Mike O’Shea was vouching for his player and you have to take that with a grain of salt but I also know O’Shea wasn’t the only one around the league calling for Nichols to get more recognition. In fact Nichols was on my All-Star ballot, while he wasn’t on many others. So, I was extra happy to hear O’Shea say Nichols was the best halfback in the league last year. I definitely thought so as well.
I don’t know if you’ve forgotten that touchdown run in the Grey Cup, but the 29-year old back still has it. Last year was a bit strange for Stanback to acclimatize himself to Jason Maas’ offence. But as the season wore on, Stanback was becoming more and more of the man we were used to seeing in Montreal. I still consider him the best running back available (not named Brady Oliveira) with Ka’Deem Carey and Jamal Morrow also deserving to be in the conversation.
Yes, Stavros Katsantonis deserves to be on the top 30 list. He would have been on mine. But so to would have the man he replaced. Safety/defensive back Tunde Adeleke slipped off the radar a bit because of the injury issues, but the 28-year old National is a two time divisional all-star. I’ll always slide All-Star Nationals up my priority list forever and always.
RYAN SCEVIOUR/SEAN MCEWEN
I thought we would have seen one of these Calgary offensive linemen on the list. McEwen was a highly sought after centre a few years ago and hasn’t disappointed in Calgary, while Sceviour has come into his own as a 28-year old guard that has helped one of the top offensive line units in the CFL. Again, you can never go wrong with signing quality National offensive linemen.
OK, I’m going to wrap this up with a bit of a homer pick. I know he’s 35-years old but if you come off an Achilles injury and go back to back 100 tackle seasons, you deserve it. Age is just a number for a man with as high a character as Larry Dean. Not much went right in Saskatchewan the last two years but I know if you need a veteran linebacker to be a leader, Dean should be at the top of the list, even if it’s for just one or two more seasons.