Realty One

Tuesday, December 18, 2018



Talking about quarterbacks is at times both the easiest, and hardest, thing to tackle and debate in the CFL. We love to rank them, pick who would be the best fit for your own team, rate the back-ups, and so on.

Back in May, we ranked the top-20 quarterbacks in the CFL. The top of the list has stayed pretty much the same while some moved up, some moved down, and some disappeared forever.

So, in the spirit of keeping the CFL water-cooler chatter 365-days a year, here are the post-season top-20 rankings with their previous ranking in brackets.

1.     (1) Bo Levi Mitchell – Calgary Stampeders

There was a question whether Bo Levi Mitchell could have another great season and win another Grey Cup. He did both and did it with a revamped receiving core and offensive line. Granted the bulk of the season was won by virtue of a great defence, but when needed BLM proved yet again that he was and is the best quarterback in the CFL. The free agent is now trying to convert his CFL success into a potential NFL opportunity. Considering the lack of mid-level pivots down south, he just may get that opportunity.

2.     (2) Mike Reilly – Edmonton Eskimos

The gritty gunslinger led the CFL in passing yards with his third straight 5,000-yard season. He kept his TD-to-INT ratio (30-18) to a minimum and had the highest yard per pass attempt average in the CFL. In the end though, missing the playoffs hurt his chances of taking over the number one spot. Yes, it’s not all on him but with a season like he had, it really should translate into a playoff berth. The other great thing about Reilly is that he played almost every snap at quarterback for the Eskimos in 2018. Reilly is also a free agent and it will be interesting if he stays in Edmonton or looks elsewhere.

3.     (4) Trevor Harris – Ottawa Redblacks

2018 was a bit of a Coming Out Party for Trevor Harris. He had his first 5,000-yard passing season and was lights-out when it counted in the Eastern Final throwing six touchdown passes leading the Redblacks to their second Grey Cup appearance since returning to the CFL in 2014. The Grey Cup was a dud of a game, but as a whole, it was a successful step for one of the league’s up-and-comers.

4.     (8) Jeremiah Masoli – Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Masoli experienced one of the biggest jumps of all the starting quarterbacks in the CFL in 2018. This was the first season that he was alone at the helm of the Ti-Cats. He was able to fend off the distraction of former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. So much so that Hamilton traded Manziel. In the end, he rewarded Hamilton with an East Final berth and a 5,000-yard passing season and the number-two passer statistically in the CFL.

5.     (5) Matt Nichols – Winnipeg Blue Bombers

It was an incredibly important season for the seven year vet in his third season as the starting quarterback for the Blue Bombers. He passed, not with flying colours, but he nevertheless had a passing grade in a season interrupted again by injury. There were times Nichols looked like a top-three quarterback and then there were times that he wouldn’t be a starter for most teams in the CFL. It was a decent step in his career that the Bombers hope continues to improve in 2019.
Catch Saints-Panthers Monday night at Famoso Downtown!
Here is where we begin to put the names in a hat and pull them out:

6.     (8) Zach Collaros – Saskatchewan Roughriders

This will be a bit of a “feeling” instead of the pure stats side of things, but the starting quarterback had to overcome concussions, vanilla play-calling and a very mediocre receiving corps to have an average season. Not a great one, not a bad one, just -- ok. The thing that makes it tough to put Collaros this high is that he is capable of so much more but wasn’t able to produce on the field. Where he lands in 2019 is anyone’s guess.

7.     (10) Travis Lulay – B.C. Lions

It was yet another injury-filled season for a player that has battled the trainer’s table over the past few seasons. When Lulay was playing, he was solid but was still prone to the big mistake and only threw two more touchdowns than interceptions (13 - 11). Father time is ticking for the 35-year-old quarterback whose best years are now behind him.

8.     (3) Ricky Ray – Toronto Argonauts

Even with what is more than likely a career ending injury in the second game of the season, veteran quarterback Ricky Ray is one of the top players in the CFL. Who knows what would have happened with the Argos if Ray played the whole season. Marc Trestman would probably still be leading the Double Blue and they would have had a better shot at defending their 2017 Grey Cup title.

9.     (NR) Chris Streveler – Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Here at Out of the Tunnel, we love Chris Streveler. He plays a lot like a young Mike Reilly. As a 23-year-old raw rookie out of South Dakota, he didn’t look out of place when he had to start game one of the season for the Bombers. There were times that he made the mistakes that rookies are bound to make, but boy if there was a potential “next one” in the CFL, it is Streveler.

10.   (6) Jonathan Jennings – B.C. Lions

After a 5,000-yard season in 2016, the former potential “next one” has had a couple of seasons to forget. The soon to be free agent will more than likely not be returning to B.C. and a fresh start may be what is needed for the 26-year-old.

11.  (9) Kevin Glenn – Edmonton Eskimos

The 39-year-old quarterback didn’t take a single snap for the Edmonton Eskimos in 2018, but his past resume, even in 2017 doesn’t change anyone’s mind on how skilled the journeyman is. He will be a great backup for whoever needs him in 2019.

12.  (11) James Franklin – Toronto Argonauts

The former hottest young quarterback had a difficult time when thrust into the starters role when Ricky Ray went down for the season. Franklin looked lost at times and at others he tried to force throws when he shouldn’t have. The talent is still there, and he is still young but a relative no-name when 2018 began, shared starting duties and will compete as a starter in 2019.

13.  (NR) McLeod Bethel-Thompson – Toronto Argonauts

That player competing with Franklin is McLeod Bethel-Thompson. The 30-year-old played in his second season in the CFL and was given a chance to compete as the starting quarterback with the Argos when Franklin struggled. Bethel-Thompson was ok, but was still adjusting to his surroundings and the CFL game.

14.  (20) Johnny Manziel – Montreal Alouettes

It was a very interesting first season for the former Heisman Trophy winner. He began the season with the Hamilton Ti-Cats but was deemed expendable with the play of Jeremiah Masoli. He showed flashes of what made him a great college quarterback but still has trouble reading a defence and still relies too much on his scrambling skills. It will be interesting to see where he ends up at this time next year.

15.  (12) Brandon Bridge – Saskatchewan Roughriders

In 2017 there were times that Bridge looked like he could be a starter in the CFL but 2018 was a step back for the lone Canadian quarterback in the CFL. The arm-talent and athletic ability is there but the rest of the skills needed to be a successful quarterback in the league still aren't there.

The best of the rest:

16. (NR) Antonio Pipkin – Montreal Alouettes

17. (19) Dominique Davis – Ottawa Redblacks

18. (NR) Cody Fajardo – B.C. Lions

19. (NR) Dane Evans – Hamilton Tiger-Cats

20. (20) Danny O’Brien – Edmonton Eskimos

A Canadian to watch in the NCAA
Justin McInnis (Sr.) - WR
Arkansas State
6’6” 206lbs.
Hometown – Pierrefonds, Que.
High School – Lindsay Place High School (Pointe Clair, Que)

After a couple of seasons at Dodge City (Kansas) C.C., McInnis found a home in the Arkansas State receiving corps. In his second and senior season with the Red Wolves, McInnis was second on the team in receiving with 694 yards and five touchdowns.

His performance garnered him a Sun Belt Conference all second-team honour.

He is one of the top players available for the 2019 CFL Draft and you can have a real good look at him on  December 29th as his Red Wolves take on the Nevada Wolfpack in the Arizona Bowl.



@mrt_man said...


Anonymous said...

Boy, things fall straight off a cliff after 1 and 2.

Unknown said...

With the greatest of respect, if Mitchell and/or Reilly head south and give the NFL a try, and with Ricky Ray being a year or two at most from ending his strong CFL career, there are no stars left at the QB position. As a result, the CFL had better get on attracking some higher end talent at the position, as it creates fan interest, not to mention it being the case that to win in this league a team needs an above average QB. There also needs to be more money on the table to get the attention of some decent QB's to take a serious look at Canada. It can work (playing in the CFL and then going to the NFL), as just ask Wareen Moon or Doug Flutie.

Dan said...

I agree with mrt man. Manziel may have some talent but his refusal to play as a team player rather than always trying to be the hero drops him way way down on the list. If he ends up in Regina I will be seriously upset.

Football Fan said...

@ Unknown
Losing BLM and Reilly to the NFL would obviously be a big loss for the league, but there are a lot of other potential top tier guys around. They just have more question marks around them.

Ray as you correctly pointed out has been a top tier guy and will be a hall of famer, and he had a 5000 yard season and won the cup just two years ago. He needs a very good OL in front of him and an offence that has great outlet options as well, however, because if he starts getting hit or even pressured a lot his effectiveness goes way down.

Lulay has also been a top tier guy and league MOP. He has had injury issues as well, however, and although he's a lot more mobile than Ray you'd still have to keep him healthy.

Collaros has also been a top tier guy. His concussion issues are now a concern, but if someone wanted to take a chance on him and they turned him loose and he managed to stay healthy he could be a top tier guy again.

Massoli is knocking on the door of being a top tier guy. He may be there already, but I'd like to see him have another year like last year and then I'd be ready to unreservedly include him in that club.

If Harris could resolve his inconsistency issues and consistently play at his top level he'd be there as well.

In the category of young guys who look like they have the potential to be top tier QBs I would include Streveler, Franklin, and yes Manziel as well.

SWC said...

I chuckle about the double standard for quarterbacks. The powers to be scout, draft and sign prospective quarterbacks based on their athleticism. Then as quick as they've made the team they start coaching them to be a stand in the pocket QB.

Tim said...

Agree 100% Football Fan

Old Rider Fan said...

Agree with SWC. Design the system based on the talent you have.

Tim said...

Agree with Old and SWC.
Darian was misused as a pocket passer.
Why Bridge didn't run run run in the playoff game last year I have no idea.