The major CFL award team nominees have been released and so I wanted to take a good look at what their chances might be of being the Western representatives.
Most Outstanding Player
Stamps nominee: Reggie Begelton
Other contenders: Bryan Burnham, Trevor Harris, Cody Fajardo, Willie Jefferson
Begelton has had a phenomenal season with 1,384 yards and counting to go along with 10 touchdowns and is the deserved candidate for the Stampeders. He has been a near constant presence in the receiving corps and demands defensive attention which has allowed for other receivers to shine.
With a higher per catch average than Brandon Banks, Begelton has done more than enough to calm fans at the beginning of the year that were terrified about Kamar Jorden not being available.
However, despite Begelton’s brilliance this season, he is unlikely to represent the West Division on awards night. Both Burnham, as the lone bright spot in B.C., and Fajardo, the little backup that could, are more likely to garner votes than Begelton.
West Nominee prediction: Cody Fajardo
Most Outstanding Defensive Player
Stamps nominee: Tre Roberson
Other contenders: Willie Jefferson, T.J. Lee, Larry Dean, Charleston Hughes
Roberson was the statistical victim of his own early success.
Totalling seven interceptions on the year so far, Roberson was on fire to start the year as he picked off five passes in the first three games. After that, targets to the receivers he was covering fell off dramatically.
Roberson is the only defensive player this season to have a fumble recovery touchdown and an interception touchdown and is the only player on this list to have multiple scores.
Jefferson and Hughes have caused terror in opposition backfields this year, but week after week Roberson has taken away the other sides best weapon.
West nominee prediction: Tre Roberson
Most Outstanding Canadian
Stamps nominee: Cory Greenwood
Other contenders: Lemar Durant, Kwaku Boateng, Mike Miller, Cameron Judge
If Greenwood didn’t get injured he would have been a lock here.
Still in the top 10 for tackles this season despite playing only 12 games, Greenwood was a vacuum at middle linebacker for the Stampeders picking up 79 tackles and two sacks. However, based on him not being available for the stretch drive, Greenwood likely doesn’t catch the eyes of voters as recency bias will hit hard.
Miller has been a specials demon with 25 tackles, Judge has five sacks to go with his 70 tackles, both had impressive seasons. Boateng had eight sacks for the league’s top-rated defence as part of his 18-tackle year.
Durant did everything the Lions could have asked for as he more than doubled his career high in receiving yards, and if he hadn’t been injured had a real shot at a 1,000-yard season.
West nominee prediction: Lemar Durant
Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman
Stamps nominee: Shane Bergman
Other Contenders: Joel Figueroa, David Beard, Dan Clark, Stanley Bryant
Bergman has been one of the CFL’s best for a very long time and has had little to no recognition for it. Every Stampeders offensive lineman I talk to mentions Bergman as their best and are in continual amazement that he isn’t more recognized at a league level.
The problem with continued greatness on the O-line, especially in the interior, is that you never see them on TV unless they are guilty of a penalty, or got blown up for a sack. By the recollections of his teammates, Bergman has given up less than three sacks in his career.
However, name recognition means a lot for this award when it comes to voters.
West nominee prediction: Stanley Bryant
Most Outstanding Special Teams Player
Stamps nominee: Nate Holley
Other Contenders: Sergio Castillo, Sean Whyte, Jon Ryan, Mike Miller
Holley has 20 special teams tackles this season and has been all over the field for the Stampeders. We will address him again shortly though as he is also the Stampeders nominee for Outstanding Rookie.
Whyte and Castillo are the front-runners in this category with Whyte having the edge in total points and Castillo seeing a higher accuracy rate. Both being a product of the offences they had on the field, Whyte’s stalled more frequently in feild goal range.
Put their individual stats against one another and Castillo had the better year. Higher kick-off average, higher punt average, higher accuracy and also made six kicks of 50 yards or more compared to Whyte’s one.
West nominee prediction: Sergio Castillo
Most Outstanding Rookie
Stamps nominee: Nate Holley
Other Contenders: Jevon Cottoy, Vontae Diggs, Dakota Shepley, Kenny Lawler
Holley is tied for third in the league for total tackles this year with Larry Dean. Dean was the Eskimos pick for Defensive Player of the Year. Not bad for a rookie that wasn’t supposed to be a starter.
As both Wynton McManis and Greenwood dealt with various ailments this year, Holley stepped into the fold and performed better that the coaches even likely expected. McManis and Greenwood are also both in the top 10 right now for total tackles.
This means that Holley has been as good as the Stampeders absolutely needed him to be following the off-season departures of Jameer Thurman and Alex Singleton.
With all due respect to the other nominees in this category, this should be a unanimous nomination for Holley.
West nominee prediction: Nate Holley