Canadian quarterback Noah Picton didn’t take a snap in either of the Toronto Argonauts pre-season games, but that was by design according to head coach Marc Trestman.
“My only goal for Noah was that he gets back safely and can play for his team during next season. So I wasn’t going to put Noah out there and be part of a situation where heaven forbid something would happen to him without any practice time and have to go back to his team an injured player,” Trestman said after the Argos closed out their exhibition schedule on Guelph on Thursday night. “He wants to finish with his team and I was going to make sure he gets on that plane safely and has a great season out west.”
Picton has one year of eligibility remaining at the University of Regina and the 22-year-old is already the Rams and Canada West conference all-time leading passer with 9,840 yards. While didn’t take a single physical rep in practice with the Argos, Picton absorbed a lot of information.
“I have no regrets. Coming here I learned a load and physically the reps may not have been there, but mentally I felt like I made strides, so it was definitely a huge benefit to me just to get your name in front of guys like Marc Trestman and make yourself noticeable. Now he is going to be watching Can West film,” Picton said.
Trestman said he is going to watch every game Picton plays for Regina during his final USports season. The Argos offensive mastermind and the CFL’s career leading passer Anthony Calvillo spent individual one-on-one time with Picton during training camp meetings.
“He’s captured it all, he’s been a great student, he’s done everything we’ve asked – I can see why Jim [Popp] signed him. I think he’ll have a chance to come back here after another year and have a chance to compete to play in this league,” Trestman said. “He’s a talented young man, he can make all the throws, he’s a natural leader, he’s charismatic. When his time is ready he’ll come here and he’ll compete to play quarterback.
“I just feel like he’s got the makeup, personality, he’s extremely intelligent, he’s got an ability to assimilate a locker room, you just see that in his personality. I’m really excited about him, I’m excited to watch him play this year, I’m excited where his career takes him.”
Picton plans to use the experience in Toronto to take his game to a higher level.
“It’s motivating, you have some eyes on you now, the pressure is on but it’s exciting. I’m looking forward to getting back with my guys and taking the things I’ve learned from coach Trestman and A.C. and Ricky [Ray] and apply it to the Rams,” Picton said.
Back in 2015, Picton attended the Saskatchewan Roughriders training camp as part of the CFL’s internship program. He readily admits this experience was much different.
“In Saskatchewan, I was still very young and I didn’t know how to operate as a true pro, how quarterbacks act or lead by example within their teams. I learned a lot of that in Saskatchewan with Kevin Glenn and Darian Durant,” Picton said.
The Argos offered and signed Picton to a formal contract which allowed him to be with the team for the entire training camp, allowing a more mature Picton to glean exactly what he must do to make a legitimate push for a CFL roster spot in the future: work on his arm strength, enhance his athleticism and bulk up.
“You get here and its one thing to see it from standing behind the line of scrimmage at practice, but it’s another thing to actually be out there with the bullets flying and take those hits,” Picton said.
“I’ve seen it up close and I’ve realized that I’m going to have to put on a little bit of weight and some muscle to hang with these guys.”