Filling the Stamps Gap

 

With leading receiver Fred Stamps on the mend, the Esks will most certainly activate Jamaica Rector for this weekend’s game against Calgary. That’s the short term fix to getting a healthy body into the lineup. If Stamps is out of commission long term, the Esks will need to find someone that can play in the CFL immediately if another injury occurs. They do have Skyler Green at their disposal, but the kick returner has been less than dynamic this season and injuries have slowed him considerably. The Esks also have non-import Tyler Scott at their disposal, but Scott is hardly the receiving threat that the Esks need opposite Kelly Campbell.

Scouring the free agents out there, here are a couple of names that might make sense for the Esks.

Efrem Hill, WR

Hill’s advantage is that he knows the organization. He is familiar with the playbook and the coaching staff, so fitting him into the organization should not be much of an issue. That being said, Hill was released earlier this year for what appeared to be performance issues. He was a non-factor in the games he played in and fans were screaming for Jason Barnes to be activated once the Esks started the season by losing their first couple of games. With his flowing dreadlocks, he is also a dead ringer for Stamps on the football field.

Gerran Walker, SB

Walker played 12 games with Saskatchewan last year and caught 36 passes for 401 yards and two touchdowns. He became expendable in the off-season due to the signing of Prechae Rodriguez. Walker is a little small, standing only five-feet, 11 inches, but with two seasons in the CFL, he knows the league and could adjust fairly quickly to the Esks offensive systems without having to learn all the rules.

Nate Hughes, WR

Hughes was a recent cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars and he could be a player that might be well suited to the CFL game. A four-year starter in college at Alcorn State, Hughes was also a decathlete in college. At six-foot-two, he has a larger frame that can allow for him to compete with smaller cornerbacks for balls in the air. The one piece of information that makes Hughes an attractive candidate to come north is that for the past several seasons he has been hanging around the NFL on a part-time basis. If he wants to play full-time, the CFL might be a good option for the receiver.

Drisan James, WR

James played in nine games for Hamilton last year collecting 313 yards on 21 receptions. He made the Tiger-Cats this year out of camp and played in four games before being released on July 25th. Another player that knows the CFL game that could easily be inserted into the roster without too much of an adjustment. James was cut from the Tiger-Cats this year after struggling with a few drops and inconsistent play. The book on James is lots of talent, a good person, and great teammate,  but he sometimes lacked consistency at key moments in the game.

Who do they sign?

The above list is just a shot in dark when looking around the league at some of the notable free agents at receiver. Hughes was added because of all the recent NFL cuts, he appears to be the best fit for the CFL in terms of likelihood to catch on with another NFL team (low) while possessing the skills needed to play in the CFL. The Esks may sign none of the above and bring in somebody totally new, or maybe decide to wait and see how Stamps progresses over the next couple of weeks. With just over three weeks between Friday’s game against Toronto and the August 28th date versus Saskatchewan, the Esks and Stamps certainly have time on their side.

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