I decided to do a mock protected list a few weeks ago, and today I did another one. Some choices are blatantly obvious, and others some of you may not agree with. Here it is:
QB: Ricky Ray
Imports: WR Chad Owens, WR John Chiles, RB Chad Kackert, OL Jarriel King, DB Patrick Watkins, DB Alonzo Lawrence, LB Marcus Ball, LB Shane Horton, DE Aaron Maybin, DT Marcus Thomas.
We need to keep our playmakers intact on offense and the consistency in the back half of our defence. I decided on Maybin and Thomas on the D-line over Mitchell and Tripp because they are younger and fit Burke's D a lot better. I didn't protect Inman because he is a F/A and has tryouts south of the border.
Non-imports: SB Andre Durie, C Jeff Keeping, OL Tyler Holmes, FB Zander Robinson, DE Cleyon Laing, S Jermain Gabriel.
Durie and Keeping are obvious choices. I chose Holmes over Epple because he is younger and has way more upside. I don't believe we'll lose both Van Zeyl and Epple so one of them will be back. Robinson was a big part of our running game and red-zone offence. Laing and Gabriel are two young guys playing at a very high level already.
G Joe Epple
LB Jason Pottinger
WR Jason Barnes.
Leaving Van Zeyl exposed would be a huge risk, unless he is a FA and has agreed to re-sign with Toronto. I can't see Ottawa passing him up in favour of Eppele, who is unproven and inconsistent. VZ makes (and deserves) more money but you take an all-Cdn who can play both G and T if he is available.
Pottinger? First I think Yurichuk is better and has been stuck behind three all stars the last three years, Elimimian, Bighill, and McCune. In 2011, their Grey cup year, he filled in for an injured Elimian for during that run and played great. Still think he is a potential Starter in the right situation and a ratio Breaker.
Back to Pottinger? Van zeyl for sure or Ottawa will take him. Flexible OLine starter at RG or RT. Or if they are planning on using Sir vincent or King as import OT and Eppelle at RG then Matt Black should be protected before Pottinger.
Ottawa will take Vanzeyl if unprotected, who wouldn't? Holmes also potential to be a starting Canadian RT with Van Zeyl at RG
If Van Zeyl is protected leaving Matt Black off the list may not be able to be helped and Ottawa will select him. Definitely a good starting safety.
Who would protect Pottinger
Ottawa will get a quality Canadian Starter from Toronto whether Van Zeyl OL or Matt Black S
Marcel has said he is going to take two QB’s, a veteran (Glenn or Tate) and a younger one (Harris)? That would give Ottawa a pretty good one-two punch and they will still get a fairly good Canadian from Calgary and Toronto. Maybe not a grade A starter but still a player good enough to be one of their 7 or 8 starters. Maybe S Matt Black from Toronto and someone like Cote, Sinopoli or Mace from Calgary.
Providing Ottawa does take Harris from Toronto and with Collaros going the FA route, the Argos will be back to developing two rookie QB’s behind Ray in 2014. So the Argos may be in the market for a veteran back up for Ricky Ray this off season.
Watt really came into his own last season and very valuable as a Canadian that can do what he does.
They may end up losing Black. As Hamilton found out in the Grey Cup you need two good Safeties but they just may not have the room to protect and grabbbing a starting Canadian Safety would secure a starting spot for Ottawa.
With the signing of another to import RB for Ottawa giving them 3 that could point to that they will have available to them projected starting lineman Eppele may be one of them. When Van Zeyl moved back out to RT Eppelle moved into the starting RG spot.
I guess Joe Eppele was on just about everybody's list at one time or other to be the player Ottawa selected from the Argos. After Holmes, Keeping and Van Zeyl the Argos aren't all that deep now in starting Canadian O Linemen. I guess Andrew Jones needs to be resigned for depth along with Sewell and after that they need to start scouting. I don't see Wayne Smith coming back going on 35 years of age.
What it does is put the Argos Oline with tow import OTs. Without eppelle it moves Van Zeyl back into RG, Keeping at C and Holomes at LG. That is a pretting powerful interior. Washington and King along with SirVincent gives them three good import OTs. All three started a lot of the 2013 season and all three played very well.
They did not lose Matt Black so with he and Gabriel that is a solid duo of Canadians at Safety. Both great on specials and will be a strong pair of safeties for Cover 2 scheme. Durie and Watt two top Canadian receivers and have others for depth.
Rookie Cleyton Lang will be a mainstay Canadian on the Dline as well adding top Canadian players to the lineup.
They lost Pottinger but an under ratted James Yurichuk keeps that role strong
All the GM's were showing Crocodile Tears while trying to keep a straight face about all the players they were losing. Teams cut players every year the calibre of players Ottawa picked up and lose some to free agency. Most teams turn over about 25% of their roster every year, so what most teams lost was no big deal IMO. I was looking at the Argos roster of 2011 a while back. There were only ten players left from that team on this year's team. As long as a CFL team has a good QB and 7 or 8 good starting Canadians you're in business. There are just too many good American Football players out there looking for work for teams not to be competitive if they have the pre mentioned main ingredient, a QB and 7 Canadians. I could go to War with Deane and Eppele at Guard, Hage at Center and Lavoie as the H Back on offense. Shologan at Tackle, Pottinger at Middle Line Backer and Fraser at Safety on defense for a start. They eventually could then add young Canadians McMillan at offensive tackle and Kashama at defensive end as well as a Canadian slot back/receiver to their starting line up if and when needed. Injuries would be the killer to some of these key players though, as the depth will probably not be there. But I think they will be right there with Edmonton, Winnipeg and not far off the rest of the league. Which is good for the league.