Eight snubs from TSN’s Top 50 players list

TSN released their Top 50 CFL players list for 2018 on Tuesday — in a news dump in the morning as opposed to during the 30-minute show they’ve produced and will air tonight *shrug emoji* — and for the most part the voters got it right. We may argue about the ranking of some players — Taylor Loffler at No. 39 is way too low, and what does Brad Sinopoli have to do to get some respect? — but the list was pretty good.

But it wasn’t perfect, and as intended whenever a list like this is published, we are going to debate who should and shouldn’t be on it, and while naming 50 players covers a lot of the league’s elite there are always going to be snubs. Here are the eight players I think are the biggest snubs from TSN’s Top 50 players list (in alphabetical order).

Ryan Bomben, offensive lineman, Montreal Alouettes

I’m not sure if Ryan Bomben is the most underrated player in the league, but he is most definitely the league’s most underrated offensive lineman. Year in and year out Bomben has been remarkably durable and performed at a high level for both Montreal and Hamilton. Seven offensive linemen made the list, and I could argue for Ryan Bomben ahead of all but one or two of them.

John Bowman, defensive end, Montreal Alouettes

Continuing the trend of underrated, we have John Bowman. The sure-fire Hall of Famer was once again left off the list. At one time — meaning two years ago — Bowman was the No. 10 ranked player. He was left off the list in 2017 and again this year. All he did in 2017 was finish third in the league in sacks. The guy who finished first, with 11 to Bowman’s nine, was Charleston Hughes, who came in at No. 13. Why John Bowman continues to be overlooked and underappreciated is something I will never understand.

Jeremiah Johnson, running back, B.C. Lions

Let’s keep the underrated thing and talk about B.C.’s Jeremiah Johnson. Johnson may be the best running back in the CFL that no one gives credit to. He was fourth in the CFL in rushing last year — one spot higher than James Wilder, Jr., who was ranked at No. 11 — and his 5.8 yards-per-carry average was over a full yard higher than Jerome Messam’s (who was ranked No. 29). His nine rushing touchdowns were tied with Messam for the most by a running back. Any way you slice it, Jeremiah Johnson deserves a spot on this list.

Cleyon Laing, defensive lineman, Toronto Argonauts

Cleyon Laing belongs in the conversation with Ted Laurent and Almondo Sewell as one of the game’s best interior defensive lineman. His numbers don’t pop off the page — although his five sacks were more than Laurent’s four — but he is a disrupting force in the middle and has been that for back-to-back Grey Cup champions (2016 with Ottawa, last year with Toronto). Laing may not be as flashy as some of the other players on the list, but he is still one of the best in the game at what he does and if you are going to put Laurent on the list, which you should, then Laing deserves to be there as well.

Antoine Pruneau, defensive back, Ottawa Redblacks

I know Canadian content isn’t taken into account when these lists are compiled, but maybe it should be. And if it was you would have to think that Antoine Pruneau would have been named to the Top 50. He was tied for seventh in the league with four interceptions, but he also added 73 tackles, which is more than T.J. Heath (No. 30), Chris Randle (No. 23) and Ciante Evans (No. 38). Eight of those tackles came on special teams, where he also contributes on a weekly basis, and he did find the end zone once last season as well. He may not be the best at any one thing, but he is a jack-of-all-trades-type player who does every really well. Ottawa’s defence is better for having Pruneau and he has done more than enough to earn a place on the Top 50 list.

Jalen Saunders, receiver, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Brandon Zylstra, S.J. Green, Greg Ellingson and Bryan Burnham. That’s the list of players who had more receiving yards than Jalen Saunders last year. There are 10 receivers on the list, seven of whom did not put up the numbers Saunders did in his first season in the CFL. DaVaris Daniels made the list a year ago with nearly 300 fewer receiving yards than Saunders had in 2017. I know it’s not all about the numbers, but the numbers have to mean something and based on the numbers Jalen Saunders should be on this list.

Tyrell Sutton, running back, Montreal Alouettes

I have used the term underrated a lot in this, but in each case it has been warranted, and it is again here. If Tyrell Sutton had played for any other team than the Montreal Alouettes he would get the respect he has earned. He led the league in rushing in 2015, he finished fifth a year ago and his five rushing touchdowns was good for fifth amongst running backs. Imagine what his numbers would be a on team that wasn’t dead last in scoring (Montreal’s 314 points were 129 fewer than the eighth-ranked scoring team). His number don’t match those of the league’s elite, because his offense is garbage. Considering what he does bring to the table, and considering the numbers he does put up even on a putrid offense, he deserves to be somewhere in the Top 50.

Spencer Wilson, offensive lineman, Calgary Stampeders

Last but certainly not least is Calgary’s do-everything lineman, Spencer Wilson. He is as versatile as any lineman in the league and I’m not sure what happened between last year and this year for Wilson to go from No. 36 in 2017 to off the list entirely. Feels like an oversight to me.

Josh Smith

Josh Smith

Josh has been writing about the Ticats and the CFL since 2010 and was sporting his beard way before it was cool. Will be long after, too.
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Josh has been writing about the Ticats and the CFL since 2010 and was sporting his beard way before it was cool. Will be long after, too.

16 Comments on Eight snubs from TSN’s Top 50 players list

  1. MR. Green // June 12, 2018 at 12:53 pm //

    The list will never be perfect. All guys listed are valid, then you take another off who is also deserving.
    I’d like to see for fun, a potential list of players not listed who could break out this season. For my team, Holley, Moncrief and Butler.
    One guy who I think will have a monster year is “Duke” in Edmonton at reciever. Walker is a beast there, however I feel this guy will crush it. I think he will also be the top red zone reciever this year. Wish we had him.

    • riderontheisland // June 12, 2018 at 2:07 pm //

      Mr. Green, I’m thinking Moncrief and Marshall will be big breakouts this year. I worry the Holley won’t stay healthy enough, but I believe with these 2 our coverage ability goes way up.

    • Kim Jong-Trump // June 12, 2018 at 6:41 pm //

      So which 8 guys should be taken off the top 50 list to make way for these also-rans, Josh? Otherwise they are not snubs at all.

  2. Josh, if you are going to list eight snubs tell us in the same breath the eight you will remove from the Top 50. It’s easy to talk about the omissions. It is much harder to look at the whole picture.

  3. RalphInTheCreek // June 12, 2018 at 1:23 pm //

    Johnny Aprile has been snub again.

  4. Sir Gallahan of the Prairies // June 12, 2018 at 1:47 pm //

    I agree with Bill. If 8 come in then 8 must go. I don’t think RB CJ Gable will be too impressed once again. He felt he was snubbed on the top 50. Now he’s snubbed again. Coming from Hamilton where they barely used him during the 0-8 start. He did so much more in Edmonton the rest of the way. Hang in there CJ. One full year on the EE who run a much more balanced attack. Stay healthy and you will be there 2019
    The one player I thought was rated too low. At #25 Naaman Roosevelt. Yes he got smoked a couple times last year but he was still a 1000 yard spectacular receiver. If Carter are 8 and 9 then Naaman should be 10. Without his injuries I would put him at 7

    • I agree and have said that from the start. Roosevelt is the Riders best receiver AND Duron is way too high. Roosevelt should be ahead of DC. Roosevelt might be our best, most consistent player. I feel like Duron is in the top 10 because he said they better put him high on the top 50 list before it came out.

  5. Muamba ?

  6. I’m surprised no Johnny Manziel with all the hype he gets LMAO

    • Garney26 // June 12, 2018 at 5:47 pm //

      Look I am not and wasn’t a Manziel fan I am a Tiger-cat fan tho. What I will say is Manziel has done well under all the pressure and press he has received. I will also point out to all you haters that Manziel’s presence in the league is GREAT for the CFL as a whole and you really need to let it go. TSN has the current tv rights and that contract is up soon. CFL viewers have leveled and declined some so if Johnny can increase those numbers I don’t give a rats ass. This league needs some exposure and he is bringing it and through it he has been very professional so we as CFL fans should be happy that he is here. Bring on his circus let Americans learn how great our league is. This will only help attract more quality players from down south again improving the league as a whole. So enough with the hate!

      • john gatti // June 12, 2018 at 6:04 pm //

        Who’s hating? The guy just pointed out the hype. I’m an Argo’s fan but agree with your comments 100%.

  7. Laing, Saunders, and especially Sutton are Top 50 players. No doubt

  8. Edward Leslie // June 12, 2018 at 8:59 pm //

    My boy Bryant Moniz didn’t make it??? Damn!

  9. Why is a has-been like Kyries Hebert on this list?

    Travis Bond is sitting on the scrap heap unwanted but he’s somehow ranked as the 46th best player in the league.

    Had a good laugh at the comment that Ray Loffler is ranked too low – – the doesn’t even belong on the list.

    Loffler is hopelessly slowfooted. Watch him trying to “run” in the open field – – the guy has a laughably awkward straight-legged style and never bends his knees.

    Chris Rainey is a good – – but not great – – return man. Certainly not in the class of guys like Gizmo Williams or Jimmy Cunningham. And Rainey doesn’t do much of anything on offence. Definitely does not belong in the Top 50.

    Darvin Adams has played FIVE (5) years in the CFL and has surpassed 850yds receiving in only ONE (1) of those years. Has no business being in the discussion of Top 50 players in the league.

  10. Edward Leslie // June 14, 2018 at 6:00 am //

    Area 51: I agree with 60% of your comments.
    Bond, Adams and Rainey shouldn’t be included.
    You’re totally wrong about the other two though.

    Taylor Loffler is taller than most DBs and might have a different running style, but he gets the job done.
    His coverage abilities are top notch. He wraps people up and doesn’t let his tackles slip away. Last and best of all, he hits to punish. He should be rated MUCH higher.

    I don’t much care for Kyries Hebert. He has made many dirty hits, including his most infamous one on my favourite player, Jon Cornish. HOWEVER, the guy is a damn good player. I have to give him that.
    I think he had more tackles last year than ever before. He’s not getting older, he’s getting better.
    He doesn’t make the dirty hits as often either.
    He DOES deserves to be on the list, and he DIDN’T deserve to cast aside by the Montreal Alouettes.

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