My RedBlacks Expansion Draft Argos Protection List

Hey Argos Empire!

The Ottawa RedBlacks…Sorry, the Ottawa REDBLACKS (gah) have joined the CFL and they need players.

                                    Decent logo, brutal name. Let's not pass judgment 'til we see the unis.

Decent logo, brutal name.
Let’s not pass judgment ’til we see the unis.

The league has decided that there’ll be an expansion draft, where Ottawa will be able to choose three roster players from each of the eight CFL franchises.  The Argos are allowed to protect one quarterback, ten import, and six non-import players.  To protect the relationship between players and ownership (gah) the league has decided to not release the names of the protected players.  Don Landry has put together a list that he’d protect and I figured I’d give it a shot. I mean, who loves speculating more than me?

There was a report that the RedBlacks wouldn’t draft players that weren’t under contract, so I won’t have any Argos from their free agency list here, but feel free to check out my Argos free agency post (C’mon…Be a pal!).

One Quarterback
Ricky Ray
We’re talking about the East’s Outstanding Player nominee.  Zach Collaros is gonna be a starting QB in this league, but not in Toronto next season.  Ray ain’t done yet.

Ten Imports
Chad Owens, Slotback
The Flyin’ Hawaiian is a threat to score from any point on the field.  Whether catching a screen pass, coming across the middle, or in the return game, the 2012 CFL Outstanding Player always contributes.
John Chiles, Wide Receiver
The team’s top offensive rookie led the Argos in receiving touchdowns and was third on the team in yards per catch.  With this much talent, the only way the Argos should expose him to Ottawa is on the field.  Not to mention he’s contributed to some of ArgosEndZone’s best posts.
Marcus Ball, Linebacker
Arguably the the Argos top defender this year, Ball really does do it all.  Sideline to sideline speed, ferocious tackler, stops the run, defends the pass, pressures the QB.  I’d much rather see him make an impact in Ottawa wearing the Double Blue.
Khalif Mitchell, Defensive Tackle
There was much speculation as to which Khalif Mitchell would arrive in Toronto for his first season with the Argos; Would it be the defensive all-star 2011 version, or the on field and off field discipline issue 2012 version?  The Argos Empire got the former as Mitchell returned to his all-star calibre play in 2013, making life miserable for opposing offenses and embracing his new surroundings.  He anchors the Argos defensive line and should continue to do so.
Shane Horton, Linebacker
The first year Argo is listed as a linebacker on the Argos site but also played on the line in his rookie season.  The USC Trojan led the Argos in forced fumbles and tied in recoveries also showed his versatility by contributing on special teams as well.  Another youngster who should continue to excel in the CFL game, he’s a keeper.
Chad Kackert, Running Back
The 100th Grey Cup MVP had an injury-plagued 2013 season but you won’t find a better fit for Scott Milanovich’s offense at RB in the league.  Kackert contributes in the passing game as a receiver and blocker as well as providing a speedy ground attack.  He needs to stay in Toronto.
Jamie Robinson, Defensive Back
An eventful first year in the CFL for the Florida State product.  Robinson was third on the team in tackles and tied for second in interceptions.  I know what you’re thinking, “But Jube, a defensive back that makes that many tackles usually gives up that many pass completions.”   This is true, but I’m gonna argue that as a rookie he was  able to finish the play and another year of experience will have him making up that step meaning more INT’s & fewer tackles.
Jason Barnes, Slotback
Ricky Ray deals the ball to his receivers better than a blackjack dealer with cards in Monte Carlo.  As a result there’s not a, “go to” receiver on the roster.  But nobody can deny that Barnes gets open when Ray needs him most.  Being second on the team in TD catches attests to that.  Barnes is a consistent inside deep threat that’ll block downfield with the top receivers in the league.
Aaron Maybin, Defensive Line
Young, fast, hungry.  Three words that describe Aaron Maybin.  He’s only two CFL games under his belt but his speed was on display in both.  This is a young man with a lot of versatility as he’s able to play the linebacker position or with a hand on the ground.  It may seem like a stretch to protect a player after only two games but his age & athletic ability present far too much upside to leave him exposed.
(Thanks to Don Landry for the Maybin call.  Love it!)
Tony Washington, Offensive Line
Instrumental in the 100th Grey Cup championship run, Washington was in ‘n’ out of the lineup in 2013.  What he brings to the offensive line a big body (Does ‘big’ cover it?  6’7″, 318 lbs.  The man is HUGE!) with long, powerful arms to control & deflect pass rushers attacking Ricky Ray’s blindside.  His contract extension was no accident; you control the line of scrimmage, open holes for your running game, and keep your QB’s jersey clean, you win football games.  A healthy Washington means wins.

Six Non-Imports
Andre Durie, Slotback
What can be said about the York Lion that hasn’t already been said?  The team’s Outstanding Canadian led the Argos in receiving yards and yards from scrimmage.  If he hadn’t sat the final game of the regular season it’s not a stretch to believe he would’ve had his first career 1,000 yard receiving season.  It’s his yards after catch that never cease to amaze; Durie always breaks the first tackle attempt.  Always.  G’head, check the tape.  The first defender always misses.  Always.  Protecting Durie is a no-brainer.
Jeff Keeping, Centre
You’ve gotta check out Keeping’s career stats:  Tackles, receptions…Kick return???  The man has done it all!  This year the Grey Cup champion added the CFL East Outstanding Lineman to his impressive resume.  The brains of the Argos offensive line played an integral role in Ricky Ray’s CFL record passing completion percentage and the Argos’ four game road win streak en route to first place in the East.  You don’t let one of the league’s best walk.
Chris Van Zeyl, Tackle
If Keeping’s the brains, Chris Van Zeyl is the heart, the emotional leader of the offensive line.  The 2013 CFL All-Star plays at an elite level with a nasty streak that I’m sure makes Rob Murphy proud.  The Argos need him back in ’14.
Jermaine Gabriel, Safety
Gabriel’s rookie season began with him showcasing his blazing speed on special teams and ended with him as part of the starting defense.  Another youngster who’s just scratching the surface of his potential, you could see his confidence growing week to week.
Joe Eppele, Guard
The career Argo quite simply does his job and does it well.  The Washington State product was given time to grow into his starters role, resulting a polished veteran that you can count on in every situation.
Matt Black, Safety
Learning under the greats like Byron Parker and Jordan Younger, Matt Black has grown into leader in the Argos’ defensive backfield.  Another career Argo, Black brought skill and swagger to the defense.  I’m anxious to see what he’ll bring to the ’14 season.

Just for fun, Don Landry tweeted this juicy morsel after I started on this list as a teaser to his Jim Barker interview:

— Don Landry (@CFLLandry) December 10, 2013


So, the odds of this list matching the Argos list is nil.  But hey, it was fun, right?



That being said, make sure to give us your protected list in the comments.







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