June 5, 2024

Landry: Opportunity knocks for these 9 players in 2024

Kevin Sousa/CFL.ca

“Knock-knock.”

“Who’s there?”

“Opportunity.”

“Opportunity who?”

Who, indeed, football fans. Who, indeed.

As the 2024 season gets set to kickoff, here’s a player from each of the CFL’s nine teams who hopes to answer the door, ready to greet the visitor with a smile and the readiness to take advantage of the situation at hand.

RELATED
» Prediction Time: CFL.ca writers’ Week 1 picks
» 24 people that will impact the 2024 season
»
AMSOIL Power Rankings: Als stand tall at kickoff
»
 Everything you need to know ahead of the 2024 season
» Buy tickets for the 2024 CFL season here
» Subscribe to the CFL’s newsletter for exclusive offers and league updates

PASSING YARDS | VERNON ADAMS. JR. | 4,769

MONTREAL ALOUETTES –  RECEIVER CHARLESTON RAMBO

I’m not so sure if opportunity knocked for 24-year-old receiver Charleston Rambo so much as it was unwittingly ambling past his house when he opened the front door and ran out to catch it before it got away.

The rookie receiver arrived at Alouettes camp after it had already begun, turned heads and then just kept on turning them, pulling in seven passes for 138 yards in two preseason games.

With Auston Mack leaving for the NFL after one tremendous year, the Als could use a guy who can step in and pull that weight. Looks like Rambo will get the chance.

OTTAWA REDBLACKS – RUNNING BACK RYQUELL ARMSTEAD

With top running back Devonte Williams out for the year with an Achilles injury, the Ottawa REDBLACKS have a sizeable hole to fill in their offensive backfield, considering they were set to rely on Williams to meet, if not better his 1,000 yard rushing stats of 2023.

The REDBLACKS had an open competition for the job at training camp and it appears that Ryquell Armstead has emerged as the guy, although he carried just eleven times in preseason, for 25 yards. If he can get traction early, Armstead will have the chance to make himself into a household name.

TORONTO ARGONAUTS – QUARTERBACK CAMERON DUKES

The obvious “opportunity is knocking” player in Toronto is Cameron Dukes, who gets the chance to be a starting quarterback when there was no prospect of that prior to Chad Kelly being suspended.

A decent performer during his limited action in 2023, and with more favourable reviews after a solid but not spectacular preseason, Dukes gets the ball as QB1 and a golden chance to show he should be thought of as no one’s number two.

HAMILTON TIGER-CATS – DEFENSIVE LINEMAN BRANDON BARLOW

Brandon Barlow left the Argonauts this off-season and signed with the rival Hamilton Tiger-Cats (Kevin Sousa/CFL.ca)

Brandon Barlow just got better and better as the season wore on, in 2023, when he was up the road in Toronto.

Now, as a starting defensive end on a renovated unit that includes his teammate from Toronto in tackle Dewayne Hendrix as well as returning interior monster Casey Sayles, Barlow has the opportunity to springboard off his Argos success and be a serious sacks leader challenger in 2024.

WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS – OFFENSIVE LINEMAN LIAM DOBSON

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have been in the enviable position of drafting for the future over the last few seasons, more than content with their top end talent, including starting offensive guard Geoff Gray.

When they selected Liam Dobson third overall, in the 2021 draft, the Bombers were able to bring their top prospect along at a reasonable pace, using him as a back-up and injury replacement, slowly getting him ready for a starting gig.

With Gray now gone, Dobson has the opportunity to begin what the Bombers hope will be a long tenure as a star bulldozer.

SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS – QUARTERBACK SHEA PATTERSON

 

Shea Patterson jumped up the ladder during this year’s training camp and preseason, nudging the Roughriders’ brass into releasing back up quarterback Mason Fine and installing Patterson as top understudy to QB1 Trevor Harris.

It’s a progression that will lead Patterson to having more responsibility in this, his third season in the CFL and second with the Riders.

And if Harris should get nicked at some point during the season, opportunity’s knock will grow even louder for the 27-year-old pivot.

CALGARY STAMPEDERS – RECEIVER JALEN PHILPOT

After a rookie season (2022) that saw him eased into things by the Calgary Stampeders, receiver Jalen Philpot suffered a serious hamstring injury a year later and was forced to miss the entire 2023 season, a season that might well have seen him jump up the way his brother Tyson did in Montreal.

The Stamps will be counting on Philpot to emerge in 2024, especially with news that prized receiver Malik Henry (1,023 yards in 2022 prior to suffering an Achilles injury in 2023) is out for the entirety of 2024 with a knee injury.

Considering that the Philpot brothers love to play “anything you can do…” against each other, a Jalen Philpot breakthrough season might be a safe bet.

EDMONTON ELKS – DEFENSIVE LINEMAN ELLIOTT BROWN

Defensive end Elliott Brown has been compared – physically – to Winnipeg’s Willie Jefferson and in this, his second year in the CFL, it appears he’ll get his chance to try and follow in Big Willie’s cleats as a nightmare pass rusher and ball knocker-downer.

Brown started one preseason game where he collected three tackles and a sack against Saskatchewan. He’s hungry.

“It is as bad as anything I’ve wanted,” Brown told goelks.com when asked about waiting for his chance this year.

BC LIONS – RECEIVER AYDEN EBERHARDT

With the Lions moving on from veteran receivers like Dominique Rhymes and Lucky Whitehead, there is room for a new starter or two to stake a claim and aim to flourish in 2024.

High on the list – if not at the top of it – you’d find second-year receiver Ayden Eberhardt, who saw limited action in 2023, appearing in two games and pulling down six passes for 69 yards. But he impressed a lot of onlookers with his abilities and he seems poised to see a lot more action for the Lions in 2024.

The comment system on this website is now powered by the CFL.ca Forums. We'd love for you to be part of the conversation; click the Start Discussion button below to register an account and join the community!