Roster Review: Wide Receiver

The receiving corps of a football team in the CFL is divided into two primary positions.  Wide receiver and Slotback.  As we continue our Roster Review series, we will be looking only at the wide receivers on the team. Wide receiver has long been a position of strength for the Green & Gold and it will continue to be so in the upcoming season, however a lack of quality depth is a little concerning.

What the coaches might be looking for.

Play makers. Outside of Maurice Mann, the Eskimos receiving corps has precious little depth. No one else could even considered a big play receiver. There will be ample opportunity in training camp for someone to gain the coaches attention. The Eskimos have one of the best quarterbacks in the game in Ricky Ray, but unless there are talented wideouts that can make plays, the offence could suffer. 

Current Roster.

Maurice Mann. Entering his fourth year with the Green & Gold,  the CFL all-star is poised to take his place among the elite receivers in the game. Mann had a breakout year in 2009, recording 917 yards in receiving yards to go along with 6 touchdowns. He will certainly be one of Ray’s go to guys in the upcoming season.

Andrew Nowacki. Nowacki is a consistent performer for the Eskimos and as a non-import, fills a vital role as a Canadian receiver that can start opposite Mann. Nowacki is strictly a possession type receiver who will run good routes, but can’t be expected to challenge the top defensive backs when it comes to being a vertical threat. His numbers from last year were a bit inflated due to a very impressive week one performance where he caught 7 balls for 79 yards. Take away that first game, and he only had 23 catches for 344 yards the rest of the year. Nowacki is still valuable to the team however as he also contributes on special teams where he serves as the holder on place kicking plays.

Efrem Hill.  Hill was on the reserve list for most of the season and was only activated near the end of the season as an injury replacement. He finished with 12 receptions for 167 yards in the three games he did play and will need to have a strong camp to make the team. Hill is one of the players that needs to be a play maker if he wants to find a permanent home with the Green & Gold or else his stay in the City of Champions could be a short one.

Kevin Challenger. Challenger filled the sixth receiver spot for the Eskimos in 2009 as a non-import and made his money on special teams. He played in all 18 games last year, however he will only have value to the organization if they cannot replace him with someone of equal talent who might have a higher upside.

Kevin Wuthrich. Wuthrich is a product of the Edmonton Wildcats Junior Football team and was assigned to the practice roster for the duration of the 2009 season. He counts as an area protected junior, which means that for the moment, the Eskimos retain his exclusive rights. Wuthrich is an intriguing prospect and it will be interesting to see how he has progressed when the Eskimos training camp convenes in May.

Skylar Green. Although Green is still signed to the Eskimos, he will at best be on the reserve list as long as Tristan Jackson is healthy. Green was brought on to the active roster at the end of the 2009 season to replace the injured Jackson on the punt and kick return teams. He played well and had a monster of a game against Calgary in week 20 where he amassed 253 yards and took one back all the way for a touchdown. However Jackson is still the Eskimos go to guy and unfortunatly for Green, leaves him on the outside looking in. It will be tough for him to make the squad out of camp.

Changes???

As was previously mentioned, Mann and Nowacki are the only two dependable receivers of the bunch. Everyone else will certainly be in tough to the make the active roster coming out of camp. In six months time, I would not be surprised if all four of Hill, Challenger, Wuthrich, and Green are no longer part of the Eskimos organization. Of course, they could also all still be here. The intriguing piece of the puzzle is Hill.  If he can become a play maker, or at least continue progressing towards being a difference maker, the Eskimos might have already solved their depth issues at the wide receiver position.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: