May 17, 2024

Costabile: One player to watch on every East Division team

With training camp underway and the first preseason game kicking off next week, it’s never too early to start thinking about the regular season.

This is the most fun time of the year; when speculations are queen and guesses rule our conversations as we all start thinking about what could be when the campaign gets underway.

We never really know what’s going to happen. You’ve heard the old adage: football games are not played on paper. But it’s fun to try to figure it out before things kick off so you can lightly boast to your friends that “yeah, I told you so” when your predictions are correct.

With that in mind, I’m taking a look at one player from every team that you should keep an eye in 2024 starting with the East Division.

» Everything you need to know ahead of training camp
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» West Division training camp questions
» East Division training camp questions
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Ahead of the 2023 season, the Toronto Argonauts made it a point to focus on running the football. They found much success doing so last season, thanks to a stellar offensive line and excellent play from running back AJ Ouellette. They finished the year fourth in rushing, averaging 113.7 yards per game on the ground and Ouellette had a career-high 1,009 yards in just 15 games played.

This season, the entire starting offensive line is back but a new tailback will be lining up in the backfield: Ka’Deem Carey.

I’ve written about this before this off-season, but I think it’s worth mentioning again. Carey was quiet in 2023, only playing in nine games in his fourth season in Calgary, and maybe some of you forgot just how impactful he can be running the rock. Let’s keep in mind that just two seasons ago, the 31-year-old was a 1,000-yard rusher, tallying 1,088 yards in 14 games.

Heading into the season healthy and Toronto’s solid offensive line blocking for him, I can imagine Carey near the top of the league in rushing yards this season.


Jamal Peters signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats as a free agent this off-season (Thomas Skrlj/

Two years ago Jamal Peters was the league-leader in interceptions (six) and has solidified himself as one of the most revered defensive backs in the CFL as he heads into his fourth season.

Even though he’s starting the year in new colours, swapping the double blue for black and gold, there’s no doubt the cornerback will make an impact in the secondary of his new team.

With the Ticats front seven going through some changes (new faces on the defensive line and some questions at linebacker) it will be even more important for the back five, including Peters, to really lock in on solid defence.


To me, there wasn’t a SAM linebacker that was more impactful than Adarius Pickett was in 2023. Now after one season in Toronto last year, where he hit career-highs in tackles (105), special teams tackles (19), and sacks (six), the five-foot-11, 210-pounder signed with the Ottawa REDBLACKS as a free agent

Ottawa’s defence was solid last year, don’t get me wrong, but adding a player like Pickett to the mix makes it that much better. His versatility, dropping into pass coverage, playing the run, or getting after the quarterback, will be a welcome addition to Baron Miles’ defence this season. And don’t forget about his playmaking ability on special teams, too, if Ottawa wants to use him there as well.



The hero of the 110th Grey Cup should be an exciting one to watch this season.

Tyson Philpot played in 13 games last year, totalling 532 yards (third on his team) and five touchdowns in the regular season. With Austin Mack leaving to go to the NFL, the 23-year-old Canadian has the opportunity to make even more of a splash in that receiving corps.

He’s clearly found chemistry with Cody Fajardo, with 377 yards and all five of his majors coming in the final six weeks of the 2023 campaign and the duo linking up for the clutch, game-winning strike late in last year’s Grey Cup. I’m really looking forward to seeing what Philpot can do in his third CFL season.

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