Justin McInnis didn’t receive fair shake from NFL teams; garnering intrigue at Riders camp

Canadian receiver Justin McInnis is getting a much longer look with the Saskatchewan Roughriders compared to the NFL rookie mini-camps he attended.

“Tennessee I didn’t feel they really gave me a chance, it wasn’t a good deal. It was like that for most of the try-out guys, they had a couple guys that they signed as free agents, they had their draft picks and they didn’t really have a big mini-camp on top of that, so it was basically giving the reps to those guys,” McInnis said.

The Titans experience was much different from the Colts.

“Indianapolis, most definitely, they gave me a good shot, I did really well,” McInnis said.

There was no contract offer from either NFL franchise which benefitted the Riders. Saskatchewan general manager Jeremy O’Day and the rest of his staff could be heard cheering from the Riders offices when McInnis was still available with the sixth overall pick in the 2019 CFL draft.

“A guy that we were hoping to fall to us at six, and fortunately we got him. We thought McInnis would be gone at six,” O’Day said after the draft.

At Arkansas State University, McInnis finished his NCAA career with back-to-back productive seasons. He caught 49 balls for 800 yards and four touchdowns in 2017 and followed with 61 grabs for 748 yards and five touchdowns as a senior. Over the last 25 games as a Red Wolf, McInnis put up 110 catches for 1,548 yards and 10 touchdowns.

“I’m a tall guy, I can use my body frame to my advantage. All I got to do is learn the playbook, get up to speed with the rest of the guys and I’ll be right up there,” McInnis said.

The Riders selected McInnis in the first round believing he has the ability to be a starting receiver in the CFL.

“The fact that he’s six-foot-six, 210 pounds and runs a 4.54 (40-yard time) and he blocks, he’s got great hands,” O’Day said, “he’s played at a high level, productive at that level.”