Eight players who should be punted from the TSN Top 50

We named our biggest snubs yesterday, but if you are going to say other players should be on the list then you have to find room for them and take some players off the list. I am not saying that any of these players are bad; far from it, actually. But based on what we saw a season ago, and based on who got left off, I think these are the eight players who should not have made TSN’s Top 50 players list in 2018 (in alphabetical order).

Travis Bond, offensive lineman, free agent

A year ago I took a lot of flak for saying Travis Bond wasn’t worthy of a Top-50 spot. A year, and one free agency, later and Bond finds himself out of a job after the Riders cut him over the weekend. I know this list was compiled before Bond was released, but his release speaks to exactly why he didn’t belong here in the first place. Many argued a season ago that he was the CFL’s best guard, but if he was that much better than the guy he was competing with a job for at Riders’ camp he would still be employed. Bond shouldn’t have been on the list last year and he shouldn’t be on the list this year.

Kyries Hebert, linebacker, Ottawa Redblacks

Hebert’s numbers were excellent last year, but they were a product of playing for a terrible Montreal team. Montreal’s defence was on the field for more plays than any other team in the league last year, and that allowed Hebert to be the big fish in a small pond. His numbers were a simple case of quantity over quality and high volume doesn’t a Top 50 player make.

Brendon LaBatte, offensive lineman, Saskatchewan Roughriders

At one time you could argue Brendon LaBatte was the best interior offensive lineman in the CFL, but that time is now past. Injuries and age have caught up with the former first-round pick and while he is still a heckuva football player, I think saying he is one of the 50 best in the entire league is a stretch.

Jeremiah Masoli, quarterback, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

I am a big believer in Jeremiah Masoli as a starting quarterback but I think these lists are too quarterback heavy. Six of the league’s nine starters made the list (down from eight of nine last year, so that is some improvement) and while I understand the QB position is the most important in the game, that doesn’t mean two-thirds of league’s pivots are Top 50 players. Masoli will probably prove me wrong in 2018 and make me look foolish for doubting him, but based on just 10 games of action, I’m not sure I’m ready to say he is one of the league’s 50 best players.

Sean McEwen, offensive lineman, Toronto Argonauts

McEwen isn’t even the best Canadian lineman on his own team — that honour goes to Chris Van Zeyl, the No. 45-ranked player — and I just don’t think his value is as great as someone like Ryan Bomben or Spencer Wilson, two players who are far more versatile and didn’t make the list. McEwen plays centre, and while I am sure he can play guard if need be, he probably can’t play tackle. Van Zeyl does, and both Bomben and Wilson can. Van Zeyl made the list with McEwen, but Van Zeyl probably should have made the list as the lone Argos offensive linemen.

Jerome Messam, running back, Saskatchewan Roughriders

Jerome Messam has been a phenomenal player for a long time, but it is fair to start wondering if maybe age is catching up with him. Yes, he finished third in the league in rushing in 2017, but he also had more carries than any back in the league and his 4.7 yards per carry average was over half a yard worse than any player last year with over 100 carries (Cameron Marshall was next worst with 5.4 yards per carry on 101 carries). Messam made the list based on his name and his reputation, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the final year we see the big guy on here.

William Powell, running back, Ottawa Redblacks

William Powell’s numbers were fantastic last year and there is no denying that. He finished second in the league in rushing, just nine yards behind league leader Andrew Harris, and he did that playing six fewer games than Harris. If Powell had played the whole year he would have run away (no pun intended) with the rushing title. But therein lies the problem: he didn’t play the whole year. He has played in just 19 games over his three years in the league. If he stays healthy, he’s a Top 50 player. But if you can’t make the club in the tub, you shouldn’t make the list from it either.

SirVincent Rogers, offensive lineman, Ottawa Redblacks

Rounding out the list is another Redblacks player who is very talented, but perhaps slightly overrated. The signing of SirVincent Rogers in 2015 was one of the best moves Ottawa made, but Rogers missed four games last year, six the year before that and other linemen (namely Ryan Bomben and Spencer Wilson) have proven to be more durable and thus more reliable for their teams, and probably deserve places on this list instead of Rogers.

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 Smith
About Josh Smith (351 Articles)
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.

54 Comments on Eight players who should be punted from the TSN Top 50

  1. Sun always shines at McMahon // June 13, 2018 at 10:17 am //

    Excellent assessment of Messam!
    People forget Calgary had to modify their game plan for the annual McMahon stadium Western final last year because Messam was showing that he couldn’t bear a full load anymore. Doesn’t bod well for a team that will need to rely on him big time just to meet to ratio.

    • Assuming you get dates, how much in terms of a percentage of time did the conversation include Chris Jones?

    • Riders do not need Messam to “make the ratio”. 4 nationals on D (2 DTs, 1 LB, and 1 S) and 3 on offence (2 lineman and 1 receiver). Messam will provide ratio flexibility when playing allowing 5 international receivers to play.

      • Sun always shines at McMahon // June 13, 2018 at 11:40 am //

        2 nationals on the D-line??
        Evans yes,but who else?? Steele?? If that’s the case you have 2 compromised positions.
        With the ratio you jest suggested, what happens if one of the
        D- linemen go down?

        • Well this may be too simple for you to understand but then the backup goes in (Henry) if Evans or Steele gets hurt. Those three will rotate at the tackle spots.

          • Sun always shines at McMahon // June 13, 2018 at 1:25 pm //

            Those are just names!
            Yes you can put Henry in to fulfill the ratio requirements, any team can! But the question is what kind of a drop off to you get with those players. I’d suggest Steele and Henry are a drop off as is Hurl at LB

          • Peter N // June 13, 2018 at 1:39 pm //

            You are free to have your opinion on the talent. No issues with that. Just pointing out Messam is not required to play to make the ratio work. All teams compromise as required with how they designate their national spots between offence and defence. Can change greatly from game to game based on injuries.

        • You don’t know what you’re talking about.

    • Thank you Miss Othmar – wah wah, wah wah wah wah…….

    • Rather Be In Hell // June 13, 2018 at 11:59 am //

      Then he won Most Outstanding Canadian in a Grey Cup game his QB literally threw away.

      So much for that theory.

  2. Bond is the only one who shouldn’t be on there. The rest are deserving though

  3. Scottsask // June 13, 2018 at 10:24 am //

    I don’t think Messam belongs there either, Labatte makes the top 50 if he’s healthy all year.

  4. Scottsask // June 13, 2018 at 10:40 am //

    Wonder why they put the picture of Labatte on the article, instead of Bond?…….oh right to generate clicks, we’ll i guess it works. Literally, what in the blue hell would this site do without the Riders?

    • Not sure about the site Scott – but manyhandles would be completely lost ! Wandering around behind the animals at the petting zoo, mumbling to himself, and kicking goat poop.

  5. KluelessKavis // June 13, 2018 at 10:43 am //

    “Hebert’s numbers were excellent last year, but they were a product of playing for a terrible Montreal team. Montreal’s defence was on the field for more plays than any other team in the league last year, and that allowed Hebert to be the big fish in a small pond. His numbers were a simple case of quantity over quality and high volume doesn’t a Top 50 player make.”

    You could say all of that about John Bowman, who you (and you alone) put in the top 50. But props to you for responding to my request for the 8 guys you’d leave out. Good to know that you read each and every comment we post.

    • You could also say that it’s pretty amazing that he could be on the field for so long at his age and make all those tackles.

  6. riderontheisland // June 13, 2018 at 10:52 am //

    Not a lot of thought put into this article and I will bring up Labatte (ya of course because I’m a Rider fan). The man hasn’t slowed and his value is huge with his seamless shift to Center when needed and hugely dependable. As for the injury comment with the exception of 2016 he had missed 8 games in 9 years. Now in 2016 he was only injured because on of the Lions plays who should have gotten a piling on penalty landed on his head and screwed up his neck. I would say half of the picks here make no sense and make this article a waste of time. This list should have been 3 or 4 players.

    • MR. Green // June 13, 2018 at 8:04 pm //

      Very dumb to do disrespect LaBatte by saying he should be punted. Like you said, he played 2 positions and was named to the CFL all-star team last season. Josh Smith does not know what the hell he is talking about.
      IMO, Josh Smith should be punted from writing about the CFL and stick to cats stuck in a tree.

  7. I think it’s fair to talk about Labatte’s injuries, but he’s only 31 which is not old for an OL. Stanley Bryant is slightly older. Chris Van Zeyl is much older. SirVincent Rogers is a bit older.

  8. I’m really surprised that Josh would pick 3 Redblacks out of 8… Did not see that coming ! /s

  9. Scottsask // June 13, 2018 at 11:04 am //

    Labatte does have a lot of hard miles.

    • Is there an OL who doesn’t? I think the marginal guys may drop off in their early 30s, but the perennial all-stars, from memory anyway, seem to last well into their mid-30s and sometimes beyond. How old was Fred Childress when he retired?

  10. BlindEyeTy // June 13, 2018 at 11:05 am //

    I swear H have no idea why people from other teams think Van Zeyl is good. The guy is a turstile and constantly commits the most penalties on the Argos O-line. Only reason he even has a job is that he is Canadian. Quit pushing that false narrative. McEwen is easily the best Argos lineman.

  11. Bond is one of the top guards in the league. To say he doesn’t belong because Chris Jones cut him is absurd. Chris Jones is the king of poor roster management. Bond will have a job soon enough, you can count on that.

    • Ridersrule // June 13, 2018 at 11:39 am //

      Bond didn’t get cut because he wasn’t good enough . He lost his job to a younger cheaper guy that was just as good .
      First year watching the CFL?

      • Nah I’ve been watching the Riders struggle for 30 years.

        • 30 years and you still think it’s Jones’ fault Bond stinks and came into camp out of shape? Okay buddy!

        • riderontheisland // June 13, 2018 at 1:08 pm //

          You should try watching with your eyes open. If he really was that good he would have been signed same day. Thanks for coming out though and maybe try back after you have been watching 40 years and this time with eyes open.

          • You’re right… Jones is a genius. Rider fans are known for their unbiased opinions, after all.

          • riderontheisland // June 13, 2018 at 3:25 pm //

            Ya and haters comment with their head up their *ss. And Jones has no credentials either……..hahaha.
            Seems pretty clear who is full of hot air or like the other haters you can spew BS and deny what everyone knows or can at least read

          • Bond was a CFL all-star you dunce.

          • Weird how CFL all-stars like Derek Dennis and Travis Bond all of a sudden “suck” once they show up in Sask eh? Must be a weird coincidence or something.

          • riderontheisland // June 13, 2018 at 5:27 pm //

            Never said they sucked, but they didn’t live up to expectations. And Dennis was the outstanding D player in 2016, but he looked bad last year so guess who is the dunce one. Hughes made him look like a high school player or was that Jones fault also. Man you haters are truly dunce (thanks for bringing that back, haven’t used in a long time). Again Jones is spewing with CFL success, but your analysis must be correct and it’s only a coincidence that his teams do so well. Thanks for that clarity. How do you breathe with your head up your *ss so far. That is a talent, but too bad you don’t know jack about football.

  12. TrueBlue // June 13, 2018 at 11:38 am //

    Tyler Holmes, Sean McKewen, Chris Van Zyl: all very strong linemen. McKewen, let’s recall, won best in the East last season – I doubt that his selection was an inappropriate one (not to mention upside).

  13. #1 name is SirVincent for sure!

  14. And I’ll add #1 commenter who should be punted off this site permanently….ManyHandles!

  15. Pennyrocker // June 13, 2018 at 12:36 pm //

    Bond didn’t make it through to starting position. Obviously how could you put him in the Top 50.

  16. Jack in Hamilton // June 13, 2018 at 1:01 pm //

    What an absolutely stupid column. Just when I think you guys are turning the corner.

  17. Scottsask // June 13, 2018 at 1:14 pm //

    Read the column about the Bombers new QB it’s actually pretty good.

  18. Evangelos // June 13, 2018 at 1:30 pm //

    Re: McEwan. You do realize that he was the Argos top o-lineman last year, right? I know, someone told you that tackle is the most important position on O-line, so now you think you know O-line play. Hilarious.

  19. Lancaster/Reed // June 13, 2018 at 2:00 pm //

    Uh, Josh? LaBatte was healthy all last year and played in 18 games, even playing a couple at centre for an injured Clark. I would say he is worthy of top 50.

  20. rockfish // June 13, 2018 at 2:08 pm //

    Re: William Powell…You can’t take a guy off the list because you “think” he might get injured.

  21. Josh Smith is a Rider hater! So much for his unbias opinion!!

  22. I agree totally Josh, good calls

  23. Sun always shines at McMahon // June 13, 2018 at 3:33 pm //

    I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m sure looking forward to some CFL predictions for the 3 Downnation writers.
    FYI,,,,, TSN panel all picked Calgary but for 1 rouge pick going with Edmonton

  24. Blue on blue // June 13, 2018 at 3:54 pm //

    I am a Toronto fan and don’t comment too often. What is so strange is how people who comment on here that are not Rider fans always make the articles about the Riders. Best example is the Sunshine guy and Adam guy. They attack and make up stuff about Rider fans. Blaming Rider fans for things and talking low of their team and coaches. When in fact it’s always them. I don’t see Rider fans start stuff. It’s these very strange people that start things and then point a finger

  25. Scottsask // June 13, 2018 at 6:16 pm //

    Cheers Blue, looking forward to Friday night!

  26. Cheers Blue , good luck to your team on Friday, hopefully it will be a slobber knocker great game.

  27. Anthony Kaduck // June 13, 2018 at 7:26 pm //

    Blue on blue I agree up to a point. There are several trolls who try to turn every post into Rider-haters vs Rider fans. Part of the problem though is that some Rider fans always take the bait. I agree with the desire to defend your team, but if we all collectively agreed to ignore anything the many-named guy says he would get bored and find another site to infest.

  28. Part of me agrees with this however there are some thins to point out. A successful defensive this limits their time on the field, and leaves more time for their team’s offensive(defensive producing many 2 and outs) is a top 50 worthy. Sort of like if a DB has practically no tackles, doesn’t mean he is a bad DB, for that he is doing his job at not being targeted and staying on his guy. Same goes for defensive. You don’t want your defense on the team, because ball possesion wins games when producing points(unless you have a turnover producing defensive with fumble, interceptions and pick-six).
    As for Oline, he has a point for SirV, as he tends to get injured around the last part of the season, but that comes with age, and he usually bounces back the next season. If it’s not Sirv, another import will step up in their Oline that will may make next year’s list.
    Messam, I completely agree. He still has the size, power and age, but last year he wasn’t as powerful or impactful as he was in 2016, not to mention a week Oline will strongly improve his performance.
    Overall, my option on this list, is that it is useless. Doesn’t say a thing because the season has not started yet and you never know until you see performances in games. It ranks players and creates a lot of arguments and disagreements. Although it is good to have outstanding player, this is a team, and players play as a team and rely on each other to perform their best. A QB is nothing without support from Oline to create time for him to pass, and he is nothing without his reliable pass catchers to make plays. DBs and pass rusher are nothing without each other, because in order to get enough time to sack the player, you need DBs to cover receivers well, and for DBs to successfully cover well, you want the QB to have no times, so that receivers do not eventually beat DBs. Although I see the idea behind this list to point out individuals who out perform others, I give credit to units who work as a team to win games and be successful rather than individual player, who you make it easy to make them egotistic and all about them.

    • Up here, auto-correct made me have a couple mistakes for common words I use. Some cases I mean field rather than teams, and some words may not be in the right context, or not completed like thins, when it should be things. I should start proof reading before commenting lol.

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