By Terry Hogan
Re-signing has started. The off-season has officially kicked off. This week is all about the players staying put with their teams, pulling on that familiar jersey for at least one more season. But what about those players attempting to move to pastures new? Terry Hogan has cast a keen eye over the Free Agents looking for a new home and a new payday, and come up with a ‘Top 10’ of sorts. Let’s have a look at who to look out for this off-season.
Note: Players who have signed with teams at a staff position are not included in this list.
#1 Sir Chappell, Free Safety
He’s the crown jewel of this years free agency. He really played consistently all season, ending with 5 interceptions. Chappell locked one side of the field down for the Skyhawks. His 6’3 ft 234 pound frame really makes him stellar in zone coverage. Look for an all out bidding war on this guy. A change of scenery will do Chappell good as he looks to break the bank and be the golden standard to the safety position.
#2 Tristan Carr, Tight End
Was a very steady tight end for London team this year and will provide someone a very good security blanket. Will surprise people with his speed and knack for the football. Carr uses his 6’7 frame to get between the defender and the ball with ease, and is pretty much a sure thing when running routes over the middle. He was arguably the best tight end in the league in Season 11. He should command a high price tag.
#3 Mickey Martino, Wide Receiver
Was very steady during the season. Started off the season slowly but came on very strong, ending the season with back to back 100-yard games. At 6’3 he will be saught after by many teams looking to make him their #1 guy. Some question his maturity, seeming to have issues with putting his mouth in front of “his money” and Vancover seemed to have his number shutting him down in both games. Look for Martino to join a team that will give him the ball early, and often.
#4 Donk Bonkers, Running Back
Had great games and looked like a young star. Didn’t have the number of carries that he would like but was very steady and looked untackleable at times. Will provide a team a great running back and someone who can carry a team on his back. His receving skills are also elite and he would fit straight into an offense focused heavily on the pass. Hopefully last year was the motivation to bring this back into superstardom.
#5 Hunter Jones, Wide Receiver
I had the pleasure of playing on the same team as Mr. Jones. Game breaking at times and at other times he seemed to get lost in the shuffle. Was him getting lost in the shuffle a matter of play calling or him taking plays off? I would tend to say that it was a matter of play calling and that Mr. Jones will be a hot commodity for someone looking for a wide receiver. Looks like a #1 wide receiver, plays like a #1 wide receiver, but will he turn into a #1 wide receiver?
#6 Ray West, Linebacker
After playing well alongside Pro Bowler EK Vinson in Dallas, Ray West is looking to find a new home to potentially become ‘THE’ man at linebacker. West brings a All-rounder game with him, being equally adept at stopping the run and defending against the pass. A Jack of all trades bit a master of none, West is in that ‘great’ tier just below elite standards. Still, a talented linebacker is a must get for any team looking to improve it’s defence.
#7 Marquis Reid, Strong Safety
At 6’2, 245lbs Reid can play safety or hybrid linebacker in sub packages. He was very steady during the season, single handedly owning the Sioux Falls Sparrows, seemingly having their number. Can he be the man in the secondary? Or will he just fit in? Reid on the right team will be a superstar. Seemed to enjoy his time in Vancouver, although rumored to be looking to join the Sparrows. Will we see him in yellow next to AJ Levye?
#8 Abner St. John, Defensive End
He needed a constant double team or he would be in the back field before you could say go. At 6’2 295 pounds, he’s shaped like a bull but does he play like it? Towards the end of the season he played like he was in a china shop . Any team that takes a chance on this young player will be getting guranteed pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Is the price worth it?
#9 Badr Ajlouni, Wide Receiver
His numbers were impressive this season and for Houston he has been very steady. His 6’2 frame will have teams falling all over themselves, question marks on him will be can he step his game up and become that go to option that you want him to be? He needs to step up after living in D.R Sim’s shadow. Ajlouni will be looking to join a team that will utilize his talents and make him the go to option.
#10 DJ Majesty, Linebacker
Crafty vet who can lead an entire defense. Will be a great pick up for anyone looking to lock up a midfield lynchpin. He will create a calm steady presence for the defense. May never become the next Ray Lewis but will always give you a solid foundation for good defence. Will be perfect for a young team lacking in leaders.
Best of the Rest
Nathan Lee – Seen as interception prone this season, I believe that it was his offensive line who let him down. Lee will give someone a quarterback who is not shy about throwing the ball down field and getting the ball into his best player’s hands.
Kevin Bane – Seemed to be a monster on the outside for the Pride, had only one game where he didn’t have any stats. I believe that game he had an injury or he was schemed against. At 290 pounds, he will be a force on whatever team he ends up.
Chris Braun – Can this guy get his head on straight? Lets hope so, if he does he will be the stellar wide receiver of this entire free agent process. That is a HUGE question mark for many teams this off season. Hopefully for Braun, he will have put the past behind him and can make his lasting mark with his stats instead of his behavior.