While most teams are busy building their squad for 2023 season by firming up those that they want to build around, Riders are destroying what they had and must be hoping to capitalize on FA in a couple of weeks. Cutting AC Leonard was a big mistake just to save $40K in bonus money. I think he will help the ELKS with their successes this year as Chris Jones continues to attempt a re-build. I'm not really convinced the Edmonton squad will be too successful but will come out of the basement to make room for the Riders. I guess until FA is over we can only speculate on these two teams
Yeah, way too early to speculate. See what happens Feb 14. Elks also have more draft picks than any other team with 10 - in a deep draft this year. Six of those fall in the 1st 28 picks. It will be interesting to see how the Elks use those & if they move, or switch, a pick or 2. Last year everyone expected them to take Richards but they moved down, got Makonzo who had a VG rookie year. Richards - not so much.
Good chance for them to beef up their ST's with National content & maybe get some immediate help as well. I'd consider them a dark horse at the moment.
That surprised me too. Lacey had a really solid season in Regina prior to going to the Elks & he's a Jones' guy. Totally agree on your comments on Konar. WIL is probably the weak spot.
It may depend how Jones' wants to work the ratio. He had 4 CDN's on D sometimes last year. If he uses up 4 spots on O - 3 on OL & a REC, then he may go with Makonzo, Konar & Hutter (Harry played significant minutes @ DB last year). Harry would likely be odd man out so Konar may be in. It will be interesting to see how he fits in Purifoy, Gainey & Grymes. They'll all start. My guess is Purifoy doesn't replace Hutter or Makonzo @ SAM. Grymes started his career @ CB so I'm guessing that's how they go. Or not😃 - you never know with Jones.
I would second that opinion. We tried replacing Hutter one game last season and that was a disaster. The team overall was far better against the run with Makonzo in the lineup and Grymes with Purifoy will work well short side. The other possibility is teaming Hutter and Purifoy at Safety.
Hopefully we can strengthen the other side. We had a pair of rookies over there with Gainey last year, one is in Montreal (Lyons), the other (Decoud) released. Too bad Decoud seemed to have skills but still made dumb mistakes every game, which was better than Carter who made mistakes every play.....
Plus there are some outstanding linebackers still unsigned less than a week for free agency........
As always - good comments. I think you have a really good handle on the Esks - & I like your comments on other teams. Always well thought out. IMO the Elks team is shaping up well on defence. Rector can play @ DT with Ceresna, & sometimes outside. Ross is a big DT who played with Dallas but was injured last year so it will be interesting to see what happens there & Pelley is a huge, athletic guy. He's planning to put his name in on the NFL draft but is signed for now. I can see them shopping for a CB, maybe a WIL.
They need to make a decision on receiver. I suspect they'll see what offers Lawler gets & give him an option or make a move for a less expensive guy, which could bring back Walker - IMO I'd like to see Walker back. A lot of teams have needs @ receiver. Bombers signed Demski but Bailey & Ellingson are out there. Als have Lewis, Wienke to name 2, Cats Tim White & Dunbar, Riders everybody. Once Lewis sets the market, everything gets clearer. He wants 350K, not sure he gets it, but you never know, Last year Duke & Lawler had 2 teams offering them in the 300K range & Derel got 275K from the Argos a couple of years back. I expect someone will be throwing stoopid money out there this week (hello Riders IMO). Everyone's looking @ the QB situation which has narrowed down to 2 spots. I'm really interested to see how the receiver situation pans out. There may be a lot of good talent looking for homes next week, depending how this week shakes out. I hope Jones doesn't bring in Shaq Evans, I guy he brought to the league. Too big a gamble.
Elks cut a lot of good players last year looking for the mix in the secondary. I think they were happy with Donavon Olumba who finished the season at corner. You know there will also be fresh talent in camp to compete.
I am wary at best on Aaron Grymes. Perhaps it is the hair. He has been off for some time and wish him the best in winning a spot. I see it as Olumba, Gainey, Hutter, Purifoy, and maybe Jamie Harry although Purifoy can also play other spots. If Grymes can play at a high level it will make them even better.
Trouble with having the best receiver is not having a QB that can get the best out of him. I liked how Derel Walker finished the year and think they should stick with it. Still room to let Manny do his thing and don't turn your back on him.
We need balance at receiver both inside and outside this year whatever they do. I also suspect they are letting the market set the price for Lawler but with all the guys available I would be putting in a few offers outside that.
Walker - I like and would like to see back but with Cornelius and his arm I would love to see them pick up a really speedy receiver (NOT that guy) outside to stretch the field.
As for Shaq Evans or other guys from Saskatchewan - I will say a lot of their stats are a result of quarterbacking issues last season.
Despite their love of Cody over there he has an arm like overcooked spaghetti. Not near enough height on lofted balls or zip on lower trajectory balls to throw deep. It's why they liked Williams - he was big and strong enough to go up and get the ball with 2-3 defenders on him.
Don't forget either that the Elks have a lot of draft picks this year too. We picked up draft picks with almost every guy we traded last season.......
Grymes should have no problem coming back. It was a broken bone that kept him out and there was no sense risking getting him hurt again when he was ready to come back.
Not only the most drafts but well placed. Five in the top 23, 6 in the top 28 - in a very strong draft. This should re-stock CDN talent for ST's which was sadly neglected in the Brock years. And I suspect they'll get a very good starter or 2 out of there too. I would like to see them pick up a couple on OL, sooner than later in the draft - very probable with 2 picks in top 12.