2019 CFL player award predictions revisited

3DownNation contributors Justin Dunk, John Hodge, Josh Smith, Santino Filoso, Joel Gasson, Ryan Ballantine, and Joey Alfieri gave their predictions for the 2019 CFL player awards before the season got underway.

As we’ve reached the midway point of the season, it’s time to revisit those predictions and make some new ones based on the action thus far.

Most Outstanding Special Teams Player

Dunk — DB Frankie Williams, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Original Prediction: REC Lucky Whitehead, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Lucky Whitehead started with a bang, but has since been used sparingly on special teams. Frankie Williams rips off chunk yardage seemingly every time he touches the ball with Jeff Reinebold as a major factor.

Hodge — DB Frankie Williams, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Original Prediction: RB Terry Williams, Calgary Stampeders

Lewis Ward, Terry Williams, DeVonte Dedmon, and Janarion Grant should push for this award in the second half of the year, but Frankie Williams has been electric thus far.

Smith — DB Frankie Williams, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Original Prediction: K/P Justin Medlock, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The year of the returner isn’t just a marketing slogan. This year has seen some tremendous returns from a plethora of talented players and right now the throne belongs to Frankie Williams.

Filoso — DB Frankie Williams, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Original Prediction: K Lewis Ward, Ottawa Redblacks

In the year of the returner, Williams has been the most consistent (so far). Should be a heck of a battle down the stretch between Williams, Chris Rainey and Terry Williams.

Gasson — DB Frankie Williams, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Original Prediction: RB Terry Williams, Calgary Stampeders

Hard not to go with a returner so far this year. Hamilton just keeps pumping them out.

Ballantine — DB Frankie Willams, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Original Prediction: RB Terry Williams, Calgary Stampeders

Looks like I was only half right on my original prediction. Williams leads in kickoff returns of over 40 yards and punt returns of over 30 yards, doing huge work for the Ticats.

Alfieri — DB Frankie Williams, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Original Prediction: RB Terry Williams, Calgary Stampeders 

Williams has had an awesome first half of the season and that should continue if he stay healthy. With Jeremiah Masoli out, the Ticats will need big plays from their special teams unit.

Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman

Dunk — T Chris Van Zeyl, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Original Prediction: T Chris Van Zeyl, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The Ticats’ offensive line has improved in a major way with Van Zeyl anchoring the unit at his right tackle spot.

Hodge — G Brandon Revenberg, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Original Prediction: T Stanley Bryant, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Revenberg is the only lineman to start every game for the Ticats this season, excelling in both run blocking and pass protection.

Smith — T Chris Van Zeyl, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Original Prediction: T Stanley Bryant, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Ticats had a good offensive line a year ago, but now they have a great one. Van Zeyl is the difference maker.

Filoso — C David Beard, Edmonton Eskimos

Original Prediction: G Sukh Chungh, BC Lions

Talk about a swing and miss. Chungh and company have made a weekly habit of treating their quarterback like a piñata. Beard, meanwhile, anchors the offensive line that has allowed the fewest sacks this season.

Gasson — G Brandon Revenberg, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Original Prediction: G Brandon Revenberg, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

I don’t really see a reason to change my prediction at this point. Revenberg has been outstanding.

Ballantine — T Stanley Bryant, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Original Prediction: T Stanley Bryant, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Most all-star voters go for the guy with the most name recognition on the team with the most rushing yards and/or fewest sacks allowed. That is Stanley Bryant.

Alfieri — G Brandon Revenberg, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Original Prediction: G Brandon Revenberg, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

I’m going to stick with my original prediction here. Revenberg and his fellow offensive linemen have had to get the job done for two different quarterbacks and they’ve been very solid.

Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com

Most Outstanding Canadian

Dunk — LB Cory Greenwood, Calgary Stampeders

Original Prediction: REC Juwan Brescacin, Calgary Stampeders

If not for Andrew Harris’ drug suspension this award would be a runaway. That’s recently changed. Greenwood quietly leads the league in tackles after stepping in for Alex Singleton.

Hodge — RB Andrew Harris, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Original Prediction: REC Lemar Durant, B.C. Lions

Durant has had a great season, on pace for 1,000 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Harris has been flat-out dominant, though his recent suspension will turn some voters off.

Smith — RB Andrew Harris, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Original Prediction: RB Andrew Harris, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Sean Thomas-Erlington may have challenged for this award had he stayed healthy, but Harris has been the league’s best Canadian player thus far. Unless voters are swayed by his positive drug test, he will run away (no pun intended) with the award.

Filoso — RB Andrew Harris, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Original Prediction: RB Andrew Harris, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Heading into the season, expectations were high for Harris. Somehow, the 32-year old has surpassed them. Harris has been nothing short of spectacular game in and game out.

Gasson — RB Andrew Harris, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Original Prediction: RB Andrew Harris, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

I don’t think the suspension is enough to cost him this one. The 32-year-old has been remarkable this year.

Ballantine — LB Cory Greenwood, Calgary

Original Prediction: RB Andrew Harris, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The drug suspension will play poorly for Harris, allowing Greenwood to capture the West nomination and crown.

Alfieri — RB Andrew Harris, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Original Prediction: REC Brad Sinopoli, Ottawa Redblacks

I think the two-game suspension is going to hurt Harris, but he’s just too far ahead of every other Canadian right now. Unfortunately for Sinopoli, the Redblacks just can’t get him the ball.

Photo by Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.ca

Most Outstanding Defensive Player

Dunk — DB Tre Roberson, Calgary Stampeders

Original Prediction: LB Larry Dean, Edmonton Eskimos

Roberson the Robber has nabbed six interceptions and put his hands on many other passes. Lock-down defensive backs don’t come around often in the wide-open CFL — Roberson is special.

Hodge — DB Tre Roberson, Calgary Stampeders

Original Prediction: LB Adam Bighill, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The shutdown cover man has been a game-changer, recording six interceptions. The NFL awaits.

Smith — DL Charleston Hughes, Saskatchewan Roughriders

Original Prediction: LB Adam Bighill, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The caveat here is that Hughes started off hot last year and trailed off as the season wore on. Tre Roberson and Ja’Gared Davis both have arguments to be made for them, but Hughes has been as dominant as ever.

Filoso — DL Willie Jefferson, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Original Prediction: DL Willie Jefferson, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Jefferson has been an absolute terror, single-handedly taking over games. He’s easily been the best off-season addition, proving his worth every week.

Gasson — DL Willie Jefferson, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Original Prediction: DB Ed Gainey, Saskatchewan Roughriders

Jefferson is still my guy and one of my favourite players in the league. He’s heating up again at the right time. Charleston Hughes may think he has it in the bag, but he’s been known to fade in the second half.

Ballantine — DB Tre Roberson, Calgary Stampeders

Original Prediction: DL Micah Johnson, Saskatchewan Roughriders

Roberson already has enough picks that he would have led the league last year. He’s currently on pace for 12, but 10 puts him heavily into this conversation.

Alfieri — SAM Patrick Levels, Montreal Alouettes

Original Prediction: LB Adam Bighill, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

I know my pick might raise some eyebrows, but Levels has played brilliantly at that strong-side linebacker spot that Chip Cox occupied for years. He’s helped change the attitude of the Montreal defence. He’s been that good.

Photo by Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.ca

Most Outstanding Player

Dunk — REC Brandon Banks, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Original Prediction: RB William Powell, Saskatchewan Roughriders

There is a solid argument to be made for Eskimos’ quarterback Trevor Harris, but for some reason Speedy B is scooting under the radar. Banks keeps producing even with Jeremiah Masoli out for the season.

Hodge — QB Trevor Harris, Edmonton Eskimos

Original Prediction: QB Bo Levi Mitchell, Calgary Stampeders

I’m not changing my prediction by position or province — only by team. Harris has been sensational all season long, on pace for a jaw-dropping 6,266 yards.

Smith — REC Brandon Banks, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Original Prediction: QB Jeremiah Masoli, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Despite missing one game due to injury, Banks still sits in the top-two in every major receiving category. The Harrises — Trevor and Andrew — get all the attention, but Banks has been the league’s best player this year.

Filoso — QB Trevor Harris, Edmonton Eskimos

Original Prediction: QB Mike Reilly, B.C. Lions

Hard to argue it should be anyone other than Harris. He’s completed 71.3 per cent of his passes, thrown just three interceptions, and amassed almost 900 yards more than the next closest quarterback.

Gasson — QB Trevor Harris – Edmonton Eskimos

Original Prediction: QB Jeremiah Masoli, Hamilton Tiger-Cats 

Harris is basically the only QB on a good team to stay healthy so far. I’d be tempted to pick Winnipeg’s veteran running back, but Andrew Harris’ suspension probably hurts him here.

Ballantine — QB Trevor Harris, Edmonton Eskimos

Original Prediction: QB Bo Levi Mitchell, Calgary Stampeders

Based off first half numbers, it’s hard to argue against Trevor Harris as the pick. You’d like to see him beat more good teams, however, with victories coming against only the Lions, Argonauts, Redblacks, and Alouettes this season.

Alfieri — QB Trevor Harris, Edmonton Eskimos

Original Prediction: QB Bo Levi Mitchell, Calgary Stampeders 

Harris is the only quarterback in the league to has surpass the 3,000-yard mark so far this season. There’s no way he can keep this up, but it’s impressive to see. His team is pretty good, too.

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