Tongues are wagging in Rider Nation after it was learned over the weekend the BC Lions will likely be releasing linebacker Solomon Elimimian with one of the teams being interested in his services being the Riders.
Make no doubt about it, Elimimian, who missed most of last year, can still play, but do the Riders have interest in the 32 year old. If I were them, I would. Looking at the depth chart, it is rather thin at linebacker. I would think going into camp, you would have Derrick Moncrief, Sam Hurl and Cam Judge likely pencilled in as starters with free-agent Dyshawn Davis. Micah Teitz and Alexandre Gagne also in there. I would think Elimimian could provide an upgrade at a position where the team perhaps needs to make one.
When you look at this roster going into the draft, there is still a question at the quarterback position moreso as to who the backup may be should Zach Collaros go down.
I would say the team is set at running back and while the receiving group is a young one, they have a year of seasoning under their belt which should make players like Kyran Moore and Shaq Evans better with this year maybe being the year that former Ram Mitch Picton cracks the opening day roster. There is also that veteran presence with Naaman Roosevelt.
When you look at the o-line, I would think your starting 5 going into camp would be Dan Clark at center, Dariusz Bladek and Brendon Labatte at guard with the tackles being Takoby Cofield and Thaddeus Coleman. I would think that Dakoda Shepley and Phillip Blake will be pushing to be on that starting five as well and with Labatte's versatility it could mean a lot of change.
Defensively. Chad Geter and Charleston Hughes are likely pencilled in as your ends for the beginning of camp with A.C Leonard right there as well. Zack Evans and Micah Johnson will be your tackles with the secondary looking like Nick Marshall and Crezdon Butler with the halfbacks being Ed Gainey and Loucheiz Purifoy and Mike Edem at safety.
Will any of this change after Thursday's draft. That is doubtful as I can't see the team's first round pick--6th overall being a starter but who knows. The team should have their choice of offensive linemen, but there are other positions to look at as well. I just wonder how the Riders draft board along with the boards of other teams changed after the NFL draft with many who will be taken this week signing free agent deals in the NFL including Laval DL Mathieu Betts who is said to be the number one prospect. Personally, I would like to see the team roll the dice again like they did with Shepley last year and take Arkansas State WR Justin McInnis. The team needs Canadian receivers. He may not be there at 6 though. He will be heading to the rookie camp of the Indianapolis Colts so he could be a guy that shakes free sooner than later. Time will tell!
--Meanwhile, some Rider fans are unimpressed with the fact their season tickets came in a clear, plastic bag. Really? Did you want the keys to a car or something? Clear, plastic bags are becoming the norm at stadiums for security reasons. Why do you feel the football team is obligated to give you something else besides your season tickets. It just never stops! Can we bring up the water-fountain issue again?
--It will be the Prince Albert Raiders vs the Vancouver Giants in the WHL final. I have seen the Raiders and know what they are all about. I don't know much about the Giants for the fact I haven't seen a lot of them. The Western Conference champs are no pushovers as we have seen the last couple of years. It is just nice that after years and years of not seeing a Saskatchewan team in the league final, that we have one three straight years.
--Nikita Kucherov, Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby are the finalists for the Hart Trophy, symbolic of NHL MVP. Not one of them registered a playoff win. I'm shocked to see McDavid make the final three and I'm stunned to see Crosby there as well. Yes, Sid had a 100 point season, but it was a quiet 100 point season. Patrick Kane, Alexander Barkov and Nathan McKinnon should have gotten some consideration.
-- I just can't buy that Mike Babcock's job is on the line in Toronto after the Leafs first round playoff exit. I thought Kyle Dubas was supposed to be smart? Even considering removing Babcock from behind the bench is stupid. Was it Babcock that signed William Nylander to a huge contract?
--While down 2-0 in their 2nd round series to Carolina, is it safe to say the Islanders were not bothered by the John Tavares defection to Toronto via free agency. Is it safe to say the Islanders were the better team between the two? Oh how an Eastern Conference final between those two teams would have been salacious in nature.
--The only player that might be better in the NHL right now than Connor McDavid is Nathan McKinnon. It is so much fun watching him play. He is a little more physical than #97 as well and while not as quick, he isn't that far behind.
--The kid can play the game, but I have to admit I was hoping to see a little bit more from Vladimir Guerrero Junior this weekend I was ready to see what the Blue Jays prospect could do Friday night agianst major league pitching and it looked for a moment as if his 2nd at-bat was going to be a homer. It was just a deep flyball to left.
At the end of the weekend, VGJ did not mash the ball, but he created some excitement. I don't know what numbers he can put up this year, but I would look at what Juan Soto did in Washington and what Ronald Acuna Junior did in Atlanta during their 20 and 21 year old seasons to get a solid estimation as to what Guerrero can do with the bat.
--Cookie Monster has had a Twitter account since 2014, but I am just finding out about it now. HOW??
--Who remembers the day when "The Avengers" were John Steed and Emma Peel? They were the originals!
That's all I got. Have a great weekend!