Who should be the Riders Most Outstanding Player nominees?

Tis’ the season for awards in the CFL as we’re not too far away from the first round of voting being in the books and team nominees from across the league being announced.

Like in the East Division, where there’s plenty of questions around who will be the most outstanding player nominee, there’s certainly a debate to be had around who will represent the Riders in the next round of voting. Before you say it, yes, I know that none of them will have much of a chance of being a West Division nominee, but the team gets their nominees none the less.

Most Outstanding Player

For much of the season, Naaman Roosevelt was a slam dunk for this nomination. The Buffalo product was on record setting pace before suffering an injury in the Banjo Bowl back in mid-September. Here’s the thing, you could still make a case for Roosevelt as he’s still be targeted more than any other Rider receiver this year and continues to lead the team in catches and yards, but can you give the nod to a guy who’s missed roughly half the season? Ricky Ray was a MOP nominee in that case once, but he did set a completion percentage record, at least.

With all of that in mind, I’m going to go with Darian Durant. Yes, Durant hasn’t had the greatest year of his career but he’s still been their best player after Roosevelt when he was in the line-up and he’s been their best player since. Overall, it’s hard to pinpoint anyone who has single-handedly carried this team, though Durant has done it at times. For the most part, their wins (and losses) have been team efforts. Which is good for the team, but not as great for picking award winners.

Honourable mention: defensive back Ed Gainey has been steady most of the season and one of the team’s better defenders since just before the mid-point of the season.

Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant takes off against the Edmonton Eskimos on Sunday September 18th, 2016. The Canadian Press.
Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant takes off against the Edmonton Eskimos on Sunday September 18th, 2016. The Canadian Press.

Most Outstanding Defensive Player

If Henoc Muamba and Willie Jefferson had been in green and white all season you probably could have made a case for them if their play so far carried over to a full season, but they haven’t.

I’m going to go with the veteran in Gainey. The defensive back has been solid for most of the season and has improved along with the defence as the season’s gone along. Gainey’s coverage has been solid and has two picks and 14 knockdowns, which is currently tied for second in the league, to his name.

Honourable Mention: Justin Cox leads the team in interceptions but has been just a little more inconsistent.

Most Outstanding Canadian

I agonized over this one for a while and not in a good way. It’s hard to point to many Canadians who had made an impact this season. The offensive line has been average at best, Muamba was added too late into the season on defence, and the offensive numbers aren’t overly outstanding.

So, I’m going to go with kicker Tyler Crapigna. He’s been the most consistent Rider this season with just one bad game, having missed just five field goals all year making nearly 87 per cent of his field goal attempts.

Honourable mention: Rob Bagg has quietly put together a 600+ yard season but his impact on the offence has been up and down most of the year, kind of like the offence itself.

Saskatchewan Roughriders kicker Tyler Crapigna celebrates after kicking the game-winning field goal against the Ottawa Redblacks during CFL action in Regina on Friday, July 22, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Taylor
Saskatchewan Roughriders kicker Tyler Crapigna celebrates after kicking the game-winning field goal against the Ottawa Redblacks during CFL action in Regina on Friday, July 22, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Taylor

Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman

This is another one that isn’t easy to pick in Saskatchewan for the wrong reasons. The offensive line hasn’t had a great season. This might have finally been the year for Xavier Fulton to get nominated but he, of course, has been traded.

I’m going to go with Thaddeus Coleman because he’s played every game to date and has lined up at both right and left tackle.

Honourable mention: Dan Clark has missed just one game and remains a good option at centre despite some early season short-yardage struggles. The line also started to play better when veteran Jerriel King was added.

Most Outstanding Rookie

I think this one is pretty straight forward. Cox has been the Riders most consistent rookie. He leads the team in interceptions and has played an important role on defence.

Honourable mention: Samuel Eguavoen had a shot at being nominated before getting injured, Ricky Collins Jr. or Caleb Holley could have been considered too if they put up numbers they are capable of more consistently.

Most Outstanding Special Teams Player

Another pretty easy one here. Tyler Crapigna has had one bad game all year, and that mostly because of a struggling new long snapper in the Labour Day Classic. Crapigna has missed just five field goals all season. He’s also third in the league in field goals made between 40 and 49 yards behind some guys named Rene Parades and Justin Medlock.

Honourable mention: Punter Josh Bartel leads the league in yards, but that’s because he’s out so often because of the offence but he’s also been very good at pinning teams deep in their own end. Jeff Knox Jr leads the team in special teams tackles but 17 isn’t a mind-blowing number.

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