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.