There will be a lot of new names inside of the Saskatchewan Roughriders receivers room this year, but one of the familiar faces that will be back in green and white for his fourth season is Mitchell Picton.
The Regina product joined Michael Ball on the SportsCage on Thursday.
Like the Roughriders, Picton’s 2022 season got off to a great start before ending in disappointment.
In Week 2 against Edmonton, he had his best game which was highlighted by a 28-yard touchdown.
After scoring his second touchdown of the season against Montreal in Week 4, the 27-year-old suffered a sprained ankle injury against Ottawa the following week, forcing him out of the lineup for nearly two months. Picton says it was frustrating to go down.
“I felt like I was really kind of breaking out a little bit and then just bad luck and got rolled up there against Ottawa at home and the next thing you know its 8-9 weeks on the shelf and couldn’t go.”
At the time of his injury, the Riders were 4-1, but by the time Picton got back into the lineup, Saskatchewan’s record had fallen to 6-6.
Besides his injury, the former University of Regina Ram said that last season was like no other, with events like the games against the Argonauts where the Riders lineup was depleted due to COVID or the September 30 game against Winnipeg when the team was battling the flu bug.
“Seemed like the cards were stacked against us a little bit, can’t make excuses, right. We got to bounce back this year and get back into the playoffs.”
Even though he’s only entering his fourth season with the Roughriders, Picton has now become the current longest-tenured member of the team’s receivers following the departures of Shaq Evans and Kyran “Swerve” Moore.
Fellow Canadian receivers Kian Schaffer-Baker, Brayden Lenius, and Samuel Emilus will join Picton as holdovers from last year’s squad.
Some of the newest receivers that have joined the Riders recently include Jake Wieneke, Shawn Bane Jr., Juwan Brescacin and the newly signed Derel Walker.
The Regina product feels it’s bittersweet saying goodbyes to his former teammates but also welcoming his newest ones.
“Certainly going to miss Shaq, Swerve (Kyran Moore), Duke (Williams) in the room, those are some really fun guys to play with. We got pretty close as a room throughout the years but that’s pro sports right. ”
“Kind of a new looked room but still a lot of talent in the room still and looking forward to working with the guys. ”
A player with versatility like Picton’s should come in handy for the Roughriders as he played all five receivers positions last year. He says that he also tries to understand every position on the offence and the makeup of the opposing defence.
“It’s something that I always enjoy, I truly love the schematics of football right and understanding defences and how to attack it. So I try to understand the offence at a really high level to understand what we’re doing, I guess that allows me to know what’s going on in all positions on the football field.”
It’s been a busy off-season for the receiver. Picton is involved with the Saskatchewan Roughrider Foundation’s work with schools in the province. He has travelled to many different classrooms in Saskatchewan speaking about the importance of mental health. Growing up in Regina, Picton enjoyed having players like Gene Makowsky speak to his classroom and is happy to be paying back the favour by making visits of his own.
Later this month, Picton will trade in the football cleats for hockey skates. He will be one of the current players taking part in the Roughrider Foundation Winter Classic on March 18 in Saskatoon.
On February 10, Picton and the Roughriders agreed to a new two-year contract.