Last season when the question popped up “which team holds the best receivers in the league?”, the B.C. Lions and Edmonton Eskimos dominated the debate. At the time it was a valid argument but in 2018 the conversation should shift to Calgary. The Stampeders contain numerous play-making receivers that can take over games at any point. Five wideouts recorded two or more catches in the first two regular-season games, with at least seven hauling in at least one grab.
Let’s break down the group quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell called “the best group of receivers I’ve ever had.”
Calgary Holds Best Wide Receiver Core
The combination of Mitchell and Eric Rodgers was nearly unstoppable in 2015. The now 27-year-old led the league with 1,448 receiving yards, 10 touchdowns and sat fourth with 87 receptions. Of course with those sort of numbers, he was named a CFL All-Star.
He has the rare combination of size, standing at 6’3 and speed. The best attribute of Rodgers’ game has to be winning the 50-50 balls. No matter what position he’s in or how many guys are around, the Cal Lutheran product somehow comes down with it. A perfect example was in Week 2’s blow out win against the Toronto Argonauts. CFL All-Stars Markus Ball and T.J. Heath couldn’t stop Rogers from making an unbelievable catch.
After his breakout season in 2015, 16 NFL teams were interested in Rodgers’ services. He decided to head to the San Francisco 49ers with then head coach Chip Kelly. Unfortunately, he suffered a torn ACL that cost him two years of his career.
Now that he’s back north of the border, he adds another dynamic to an already potent offence. Rodgers’ presence allows teammates like Kamar Jorden and DaVaris Daniels one-on-one coverage. That’s scary to think about.
The best way to describe Kamar Jorden is Mr. Consistent. He doesn’t put up obscene numbers week-to-week, but the 29-year-old can be relied on to make the play when needed. No matter what asked of him, move the chains, haul in a big grab or touchdown, Jorden is there for Mitchell.
The University of Bowling Green product route running ability allows him to gain separation. That’s why he made five or more grabs in seven of 10 regular season games last year. Jorden ended the season with 52 grabs for 717 yards and six touchdowns in that span. His importance was on display in the playoff when he tallied 12 grabs for 228 yards and one touchdown.
The 6’3 veteran is the security blanket for Mitchell. He lines up in the slot majority of the time using the waggle rule to his advantage. If you’re watching any Stampeders game, Jorden’s name will be uttered a few times.
Similar to teammate Jorden, DaVaris Daniels just finds open areas. His skill set fits perfectly to the Canadian game from the moment he signed in 2016. The Notre Dame product posted five 100-yard games, a total of 885 yards and nine touchdowns in only 11 contests. His first career-game wasn’t until Week 9 against the Lions. He followed it up the next season with 743 yards and four touchdowns in 11 games. He also posted 18 play of 30-yards or more in the last two seasons.
Daniels is not flashy or grabs headlines. He’s the type of receiver that does his job well and has a good connection with Mitchell. When the spotlight is bright the 25-year-old makes things happen. In four playoff games, Daniels was the number one option in three of them. There is just a unique trust factor.
As Rod Black likes to say “Speed Kills.”
Marken Michel is a burner and can take the top off the defence at any moment. It didn’t take long for him to make a name for himself in his rookie season. The Massachusetts product racked up six grabs for 190 yards and one touchdown in his second career contest.
The 24-year-old is a big play waiting to happen. So far, the receiver recorded seven 30 plus yard plays in only 13 games. One of the most impressive things displayed by Michel was his ability to evolve from a one-trick pony. He worked on his route running in the offseason and everyone saw in Week q with five catches for 67 yards against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. If Michel can add those tools to his already electric play-making abilities, he will be one of the best in the league down the road.
Reggie Begelton continues to make significant strides in his development. The 24-year-old is the forgotten man in the mix. Last year there were times when he made eye-popping grabs or made something out of nothing. Of his 304 receiving-yards in 2017, 154 of them came after the catch.
Of course, Juwan Bresacin is known for the highlight of the year one-handed catch in Week 1. The Mississauga Ont., native has been making marvelous grabs like that since his Northern Illinois days. Entering his third season in the CFL, the Canadian’s name will continue to pop up with his natural gifted abilities.
A couple other Canadians to keep an eye on are veteran Lemar Durant, Richard Sindani and Julan Lynch. All of which are big receivers that can make a mark.
Mitchell was very excited in training camp saying “I’m salivating a little bit.” Who could blame him for feeling that way?
Main image credit:
Embed from Getty Images