Every team’s top M.O.P. candidates

There is currently an article on NFL.com breaking down each team’s leading candidate for the league’s coveted M.V.P. award. I read the article, enjoyed it, and decided to write my own version for this year’s CFL season.

I’ve also included a handful of secondary candidates for each team. Though each club has a front-runner for Most Outstanding Player, a number of factors (injuries, playing time, scheme, etc.) will impact how players stand at the end of the season.

B.C. Lions — QB Mike Reilly

The Lions’ new starting quarterback won a Grey Cup in 2015 and an M.O.P. award in 2017. Reilly is no stranger to success and many expect him to thrive in B.C. where he will be throwing to Bryan Burnham, Duron Carter, and Lemar Durant.

It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Reilly remains healthy and does not receive the Lions’ M.O.P. nod. Should he suffer an injury, other candidates include Burnham, Carter, and defensive end Odell Willis.

Edmonton Eskimos — QB Trevor Harris

Harris is the undisputed starter in Edmonton and he’s got a solid receiving corps that features Greg Ellingson, DaVaris Daniels, Tevaun Smith, and Kenny Stafford. I have concerns about Harris’ protection but odds are that he’ll produce respectably.

Ellingson and middle linebacker Larry Dean are the Esks’ next top M.O.P. candidates. A pair of dark horses are defensive end Kwaku Boateng and strong-side linebacker Don Unamba.

Calgary Stampeders — QB Bo Levi Mitchell

The league’s reigning M.O.P. could easily repeat in 2019. Mitchell has Eric Rogers, Reggie Begelton, and Juwan Brescacin at his disposal and could get an injured Kamar Jorden back by the fall. Calgary lost a lot of talent on defence this off-season, meaning Mitchell will need to produce more this year if his team is to remain atop the West Division.

Rogers is a legitimate M.O.P. candidate provided he remains healthy. Terry Williams could also receive consideration if he’s able to contribute on offence while also producing as an elite returner.

Saskatchewan Roughriders — DL Micah Johnson

Johnson is coming off a monster season in Calgary and is arguably the best defensive player in the league. The Riders are unlikely to light it up on offence this year, giving Johnson plenty of time to wreak havoc on the field.

Running back William Powell will get lots of work, defensive end Charleston Hughes is a future hall of famer, and Nick Marshall is special at cornerback.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers — QB Matt Nichols

This is a make-or-break season for the Bombers’ starting pivot. Chris Matthews provides the Bombers with a much-needed number-one target, while Darvin Adams, Andrew Harris, Nic Demski, and Drew Wolitarsky round out a strong supporting cast.

Harris is the obvious secondary candidate for M.O.P. in Winnipeg, though the loss of Matthias Goossen and Sukh Chungh could limit his production in the run game. Linebacker Adam Bighill and defensive end Willie Jefferson should receive consideration as well.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats — QB Jeremiah Masoli

The East’s reigning M.O.P. is the heavy favorite to repeat this year with the Ticats widely considered the best team in the division. Masoli plays in a pass-happy attack, runs well, and has a number of excellent targets in his arsenal.

Receiver Brandon Banks remains extremely effective, while cornerback Delvin Breaux is the top cover man in the league. Defensive end Ja’Gared Davis is my dark horse — he can play the run, rush the passer, and doesn’t take plays off.

Toronto Argonauts — REC Derel Walker

Toronto’s top free agent signing becomes the team’s leading candidate for M.O.P. Walker is arguably the CFL’s best receiver and will provide the Argos with a much-needed deep threat along the boundary.

Quarterbacks James Franklin and McLeod Bethel-Thompson will likely end up sharing the starting duties, which hurts their M.O.P. consideration. Running back James Wilder Jr. is coming off a poor season, though he may bounce back in 2019.

Ottawa Redblacks — REC Brad Sinopoli

Ottawa lost a number of talented players over the course of the off-season, leaving local hero Brad Sinopoli as the team’s best player. The league’s reigning Most Outstanding Canadian is the Redblacks’ top candidate for M.O.P. unless someone else steps up in the nation’s capital.

Dominique Davis has impressed early this year, making him a legitimate candidate. Running back Mossis Madu should get a lot of work out of the backfield, while Anthony Cioffi is establishing himself as a difference-maker at strong-side linebacker.

Montreal Alouettes — LB Henoc Muamba

Montreal’s defence is going to spend a lot of time on the field this season, allowing Muamba to rack up some gaudy stats. The former first overall pick recorded 108 tackles, five sacks, and one interception last season en route to being named the Alouettes’ M.O.P.

DeVier Posey is a difference-maker at wide receiver, though there are questions about how much the Alouettes’ quarterbacks will be able to get him the ball. William Stanback looked great in spot duty at running back last season, while Taylor Loffler could be a dark horse at safety.

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