The snow flurries may continue in Saskatchewan, but the Canadian Football League off-season is almost over, as the Roughriders and the other eight teams in the league are now less than a month away from live on-field activity with training camps almost set to begin.
On Monday, the Riders head coach made his weekly appearance on the SportsCage with the Craig Dickenson Show alongside Brendan McGuire and Sean Kleisinger.
About two weeks remain until the CFL Draft and the CFL Global Draft.
Before the CFL Drafts happen, the NFL Draft will unfold April 27-29 in Kansas City.
Dickenson prefers holding the CFL Draft after the NFL’s.
“You don’t want to draft a guy and then find out two months down the road that he gets picked in the fifth round by an NFL team.”
Majority of the chatter on May 2 will be on the CFL Draft featuring Canadian players in the NCAA and U Sports. But the day will begin with the CFL Global Draft.
Dickenson gave credit to Assistant General Manager Kyle Carson for the Roughriders preparation ahead of the Global Draft and described Carson as Saskatchewan’s “point man” in the international player selection process.
Even though it’s mostly restricted to special team players including punters, the Saskatchewan head coach has faith in the Global Draft.
“It’s a lot of work and the argument can be made the juice and the squeeze aren’t quite the same at times, it’s worth it for us and we’re going to keep just plugging along. ”
Dickenson noted a Global player could be provide an important edge for CFL teams.
“The difference between losing and winning is small and if you can get a good Global player that can help you win, even just one or two more games, that makes a difference in the end. ”
KSB and his Temporary Replacement
The big news from Riderville last week was the announcement that wide receiver Kian Schaffer-Baker had signed a contract extension, keeping him in green and white through the 2025 season.
Saskatchewan’s leading receiver last year will be out of the lineup to begin the season as he recovers from hip surgery. Dickenson hopes to have Schaffer-Baker back on the field around Labour Day Classic in the beginning of September.
Despite a delayed start to his season, Dickenson is happy to have the Riders Most Outstanding Canadian in 2022 returning.
” He’s a really good ambassador, good team guy, very good in the community, I think really the fans love him and he loves playing for the Riders. ”
Already dealing with a lot changes at wide receiver, the Riders head coach is confident at the team’s Canadian depth at the position to replace the loss of Schaffer-Baker.
“They know they’re going have to step up and play well and contribute and I think they’re ready to do it.”
One player who will get probably get an extended look now with the injury to Schaffer-Baker is Samuel Emilus. Saskatchewan’s first round pick in 2022 suited up for 15 games last season. The majority of his stats came during a three week span (Weeks 5-7) where he had five catches for 120 receiving yards. Dickenson feels Emilus is capable of a break-out year.
“I think it’s time for him to grasp that starting role and make it his and I think he’s capable of doing it.”
Juwan Brescacin and Mitchell Picton are a pair of Canadian receivers that will also be counted on with the absence of Schaffer-Baker.