An Early Look at the Rider Player Award Nominees
Published: Thursday, Oct 4th 2018, 1:10pm
By: Sheldon Jones (@SheldonJones83)
As the playoffs are quickly approaching in the CFL, I think it is a great time to look ahead to see who the front runners are for the Saskatchewan Roughriders nominees for their Player of the year awards and who might move on to the 2018 Shaw CFL Awards that are handed out during Grey Cup week in Edmonton.
Most Outstanding Player:
Most years this is a category dominated by offensive players and more specifically quarterbacks. However, on a team where offense has been a question mark for most of the season I believe we will see a defensive player take it. There are quite a few players who could be in the running with Charleston Hughes and Nick Marshall leading the pack. Hughes is leading the league in sacks while having to deal with double teams often as we typically only rush 3 or 4 and drop the rest into coverage. Marshall has 2 interceptions that he returned for touchdowns and with his previous quarterback experience from his time at Auburn University, has emerged as the short yardage back with 6 touchdowns from the 1-yard line. As good of a year that Hughes is having defensively, I believe Marshal is having an overall outstanding year and he is my pick.
Pick: Nick Marshall
Most Outstanding Defensive Player
As stated in the above paragraph Charleston Hughes is having a monster year defensively. He is my pick and one of only a couple players I could see moving on to the league awards.
Pick: Charleston Hughes
Most Outstanding Lineman
While the Riders started off the year with a lot of question marks on the offensive line, they have quietly become one of the strongest units in the league. While only surrendering a league low 15 sacks and boasting second in rushing yards there isn’t necessarily one that is standing out head and shoulders above the rest. Dariusz Bladek is having a good rookie year and looking more than serviceable. Dan Clark has taken the role of center and has become the quarterback of the line. Brendan Labatte is still a great blocker and is the gutsiest Rider on the team for his ability to play through pain and has also become a vocal leader in the locker-room. He has called out poor practice habits and has seem to light a fire under the OLine to lead to it resurgence. He is my pick for those reasons.
Pick: Brendan Labatte
Most Outstanding Canadian
The Riders do have a good amount of Canadian or as the league likes to call the “National” talent. Cameron Judge is looking to be holding his own in the linebacking corps in his sophomore season. Dan Clark and Brendan Labatte are having good years on the OLine. Spencer Moore and Jordan Reeves are having a great season on special teams regularly getting down and making the tackles on punts and kickoffs. However, my pick is Zack Evans. He is enjoying his time back with the Riders after he was somehow left unprotected by the previous regime in the 2013 Ottawa REDBLACKS expansion draft. He is doing a great job on creating pressure up the middle and getting in the running lanes to disrupt the ball carriers. While he doesn’t have the all out stats one would look for in an award winner he is the type of player who comes to work and gets the job done.
Pick: Zack Evans
Most Outstanding Special Teams Player
At the beginning of the year most people (myself included) would have pegged Kicker Tyler Crapigna in this slot as he has been solid for the past couple of seasons. After injuring himself in training camp I was quite shocked with the sudden emergence of Brett Lauther. He has taken over the placekicking job with authority racking up a 93% average while also having split the uprights on two league leading 56-yard field goals. Brett is the other player on the team who should make it as the western nominee for the league awards.
Pick: Brett Lauther
Most Outstanding Rookie
In most cases this award would be a lock for Nick Marshall. However, as he has played games in the NFL he is ineligible. The two players who I believe will be in the running are Receiver Jordan Williams Lambert and Receiver / Returner Kyron Moore. JWL has had a very good rookie campaign and impressed enough for Chris Jones to deem veterans Bakari Grant and Chad Owens expendable. He is currently leading the league in receptions and yards for all rookies. Kyron Moore has more so burst on the scene after an injury to star returner Christian Jones. Moore has returned two punts for touchdowns and is now a legitimate threat to take any punt or kickoff to the house. This is a tough pick but for me it goes to the player who has played the whole season and been consistent in his progress. That player is Jordan Williams Lambert
Pick: Jordan Williams Lambert
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