LWOS CFL Award Winners

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Last week our writers at Last Word On Sports issued our CFL playoff predictions.

This week, our writers are predicting who will be taking home some hardware next week in Edmonton.

Individual teams have released their nominations for the CFL awards, and the league has announced the divisional nominations

Note: These are based off our writers’ opinions, not the divisional nominations.

Most Outstanding Rookie

Nik Kowalski: Lewis Ward, Ottawa.
Having a 98% average on 52 field goals isn’t bad for your rookie season.

Jeff Burns: Lewis Ward, Ottawa.
Hard to argue with hitting 51 out of 52 field goal attempts. Also set a CFL record in converting 48 field goals in a row.

Stephen Bolen: Jordan Williams Lambert, Saskatchewan.
Sixty-two receptions for 764 yards and four touchdowns, impressive stats considering the dismal play from Roughriders pivots all season long. JWL gets the nod for Most Outstanding Rookie.

Brendan Panikkar: Lewis Ward, Ottawa.
While Jordan Williams-Lambert emerged as a favourite target for Zach Collaros, there’s little doubt that Ward should win Most Outstanding Rookie. Ward set the record for consecutive field goals made and was a large reason for Ottawa being able to capture first in the East.

Most Outstanding Special Teams Player

Nik Kowalski: Lewis Ward, Ottawa.
Ty Long is a tempting pick, but see above.

Jeff Burns: Lewis Ward, Ottawa.
See above.

Stephen Bolen: Lewis Ward, Ottawa.
Brett Lauther or Lewis Ward? Flip a coin. Ward gets the nod for me after breaking the record with 40 straight made field goals. Tack on his 98% conversion rate on field goals. This one is hard to argue.

Brendan Panikkar: Lewis Ward, Ottawa.
I’m not taking anything away from Ty Long’s booming leg that likely belongs in the NFL, but Ward should take home his second piece of hardware by winning Most Outstanding Special Teams Player. 169 points scored and an unbelievable 98.1% field goal percentage makes Ward an easy pick.

Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman

Nik Kowalski: Brendon LaBatte, Saskatchewan.
The versatile veteran was a constant stud for the Riders.

Jeff Burns: Brendan LaBatte, Saskatchewan.
The heart and soul of the Roughriders offensive line. Steady but not flashy, LaBatte dominates defensive opponents on a weekly basis.

Stephen Bolen: Derek Dennis, Calgary.
After being left as an afterthought, Dennis had a great bounce-back season on Calgary’s offensive line that allowed just 27 sacks all season.

Brendan Panikkar: Stanley Bryant, Winnipeg.
Bryant has been in the CFL since 2010 and since his arrival in Calgary, Bryant’s always been considered to be a top offensive lineman, if not the best. Throw in the fact that he anchored an offensive line that helped Andrew Harris rush for over 1,000 yards and the third-fewest sacks on Matt Nichols and Chris Streveler, and Bryant wins this award.

Most Outstanding Canadian

Nik Kowalski: Andrew Harris, Winnipeg.
A league-best 1,390 rushing yards, another 451 through the air and seven combined touchdowns is enough to edge out Ottawa’s Brad Sinopoli.

Jeff Burns: Andrew Harris, Winnipeg.
With his second straight CFL rushing title, Harris is the catalyst for the Bombers offence.

Stephen Bolen: Andrew Harris, Winnipeg.
There are several ways to go on this one. To me, it’s between Andrew Harris and Brad Sinopoli. Have to give it to Andrew Harris, combined 11 touchdowns on the season (eight by ground, three through the air) along with 1,390 yards rushing. Hard to go against that.

Brendan Panikkar: Andrew Harris, Winnipeg.
Harris keeps getting better and better with age. He’s well into his prime at age 31 and posted his career high in rushing yards with 1,390 yards and added 451 receiving yards, eclipsing 1,800 all-purpose yards from scrimmage. This award will be tight with stiff competition from Brad Sinopoli, but if you removed either Harris or Sinopoli from their respective offences, the Blue Bombers attack would suffer more than Ottawa’s.

Most Outstanding Defensive Player

Nik Kowalski: Adam Bighill, Winnipeg.
Bighill took over multiple games for Winnipeg – the Bombers likely miss the playoffs without him.

Jeff Burns: Adam Bighill, Winnipeg.
The addition of Bighill to the Blue Bombers this off-season cannot be overstated. 105 tackles, 4 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 2 interceptions, and 1 touchdown.

Stephen Bolen: Willie Jefferson, Saskatchewan.
Ten sacks, two interceptions, two touchdowns, and two forced fumbles. An absolute force to be reckoned with on the defensive line and he’s just getting started.

Brendan Panikkar: Adam Bighill, Winnipeg.
After a stint in the NFL, Bighill returned to the CFL in 2018 and continued where he left off with the B.C. Lions. Bighill had what may have been his best season in the CFL, with 105 tackles, four sacks, two interceptions, and four forced fumbles. The impact Bighill had on solidifying the front-seven vaunted a Blue Bombers defense that already had a great secondary. Welcome back to the CFL, Adam Bighill. You win Most Outstanding Defensive Player.

Most Outstanding Player

Nik Kowalski: Bo Levi Mitchell, Calgary.
Thirty-five touchdowns, 5,124 yards, a pair of 450-plus yard games, and first place in the West Divison with multifarious groups of receivers.

Jeff Burns: Bo Levi Mitchell, Calgary.
Mitchell’s 35 touchdown passes led the CFL, managing to do so despite the revolving door of receivers in Calgary. He also led his team to another first-place finish in the CFL.

Stephen Bolen: Bo Levi Mitchell, Calgary.
As cool as it would be to see this go to one of the two dominant defensive forces in the game today, Adam Bighill or Willie Jefferson. These types of awards are usually reserved for offensive players. Bo Levi, despite losing large chunks of his receiving core put up great stats and led his team to first in the West with a 12-6 record. Thirty-five touchdowns, 14 interceptions, 5,000-plus yards. Hard to argue his impact.

Brendan Panikkar: Jeremiah Masoli, Hamilton
Look at this. No Blue Bombers or RedBlacks winning an award! To me, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are very much like the CFL’s version of the Green Bay Packers. If you remove Aaron Rodgers from the Packers, outside of a few key cogs, the Packers aren’t a very good football team. I think the same happens if you remove Jeremiah Masoli from the Tiger-Cats. Masoli threw for over 5,000 yards (5,209 to be exact) and 28 touchdowns. Masoli was not only the Most Outstanding Player in the CFL this year but he was also the most valuable to his team as Calgary has a talented enough roster to win games with Nick Arbuckle. The same can’t be said for Hamilton if you removed Jeremiah Masoli.

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