Nine thoughts on nine teams: early standouts from camp

Nine thoughts on nine teams with more than one week of training camp in the books, let’s spin around the country and see which non-star players have made strong impressions.

B.C. Lions: Born and bred on the west coast – Chino, CA – George Uko already’s gotten comfortable in B.C. The six-foot-three, 284 pounder’s proven to be tough to block in camp so far.

Edmonton Eskimos: In 2015 Bryant Mitchell made five receptions for 45 yards in two pre-season games with Edmonton, but he didn’t do enough to make the Eskimos roster, among the last cuts before the regular season. A year later Mitchell’s earning reps with the starting offensive unit.

Calgary Stampeders: Ja’Gared Davis was signed on May 30, but he’s flashed pass rush ability since being a late camp arrival in Cowtown. For comparison, Davis is the same height and plays at the same weight as Charleston Hughes.

Saskatchewan Roughriders: Canadian Dillon Grondin has been active and around the ball in his first CFL training camp. He’s earned added reps at linebacker and impressed coaches. The 24-year-old played five years in the CJFL for the Windsor AKO Fratmen.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers: The ninth overall selection in the 2016 CFL Draft is quickly acclimating himself back in the three-down game. Trent Corney’s been rushing the passer as good as any player in camp with the Bombers. If he keeps it up, the ultra-athletic defensive end could see a lot of playing time as a rookie.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats: After Justin Hickman, Bryan Hall and Brian Bulcke left for the Argos, and Eric Norwood was released (signed by the Riders), Hamilton needed to find some new blood on the defensive line. Drake Nevis is showing the signs of a breakout campaign. The LSU product can get after the quarterback from his interior spot.

Toronto Argonauts: The Argos inked TJ Heath off a 2015 season where he bounced around to four different NFL teams. He’s an experienced pro cover man that has looked comfortable on the bigger Canadian field.


Ottawa Redblacks: Kendall Montgomery possesses fluid movement skills for a defensive lineman that checks in at six-foot-six, 278 pounds. There is lots of playing time available on the defensive line in the nation’s capital and Montgomery is making a push to earn some of it.

Montreal Alouettes: The sudden retirement of veteran offensive lineman Dominic Picard pushed the Als’ No. 2 overall selection, Philippe Gagnon into a starting spot on the depth chart, taking first-team reps at right guard. That’s sped up the process for the physical, tough and mean L’Ancienne-Lorette, QC native.


Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.