Derrick Moncrief is healthy and ready to be reinserted into the strong-side linebacker position locked down with his high-level play at the end of last season which carried into 2018.
Moncrief suffered a shoulder injury in the Riders 31-20 victory in Hamilton during Week 6. CFL newcomer and former first-round NFL pick Matt Elam took Moncrief’s place recording 18 tackles, two sacks and one interception. But Moncrief has quietly risen to the upper echelon SAM linebackers in the league.
The standout defender has secured Chris Jones trust in playing a demanding position, playing sound, assignment strong football since being inserted into the lineup in a permanent way last October.
Saskatchewan identified Moncrief at an open tryout prior to the 2017 season and to begin the last year he went back and forth between the practice and gameday roster when the SAM spot was in flux for the Riders.
Otha Foster joined Jones in Saskatchewan for the 2016 season and produced the best statistical of his career. That earned Foster an NFL shot Baltimore Ravens. So at the start of the 2017 campaign, Sam Williams and Erick Dargan took turns with the strongside duties with decidedly mixed results. Foster returned to Saskatchewan after the Ravens released him among final training camp cuts, but he was limited to three games and didn’t suit up after Week 15.
That’s when Moncrief took over the job. Big, physical, fast and instinctual: exactly what Jones likes on defence. The 25-year-old is currently playing the second of his three-year pact for Saskatchewan, which means the Riders have locked in a young stud at a crucial position to create stability on Jones’ unit.