Writers’ Picks Extra: 2023 award winners


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TORONTO — The 2023 CFL season is finally upon us. While there are 21 whole weeks of games to unfold, laced with storylines and developments that no one can possibly list off at this point, it’s fun to throw out some guesses on just what might happen this season.

That’s what a selection of’s writers did recently, as they made their picks for this year’s award winners.

Matt Cauz, Kristina Costabile, Don Landry, Jim Morris, Jamie Nye, Chris O’Leary and Pat Steinberg all weighed in with their best guesses on which figures around the league might shine the brightest in 2023.

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Most Outstanding Player

Between the seven voters, two players got two votes each, with Zach Collaros and Jeremiah Masoli each staking 29 per cent of the early vote.

Masoli was the East Division’s nominee for Most Outstanding Player in 2018, while Collaros has won back-to-back MOP awards, while leading the Bombers to a pair of Grey Cup wins in the last three seasons.

Most Outstanding Defensive Player

New Hamilton Tiger-Cat linebacker Jameer Thurman took the majority of the votes in the group, with 43 per cent choosing him. Thurman edged out Saskatchewan Roughriders’ linebacker Larry Dean, who had a pair of votes in the process.

Most Outstanding Canadian

Kurleigh Gittens Jr.‘s impressive 2022 resume has clearly spilled into the group’s mind ahead of the 2023 campaign. The Toronto Argonauts’ receiver was the first name to come to mind for five of the seven voters. Enock Makonzo and Brady Oliveira got some love in this category as well.

Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman

We had a two-man tie for top projected o-lineman, with Ottawa REDBLACK Drew Desjarlais and Derek Dennis getting two votes each. Dennis, interestingly, is on the open market after the Calgary Stampeders let him go in their final round of training camp cuts over the weekend.

Most Outstanding Special Teams Player 

We have another two-way returner tie on this one, with Winnipeg Blue Bomber Janarion Grant and Hamilton Tiger-Cat Lawrence Woods III each getting a pair of votes. Saskatchewan Roughrider returner Mario Alford, last year’s winner, got a vote, as did the 2021 winner, Ottawa’s DeVonte Dedmon. Montreal Alouettes’ returner Chandler Worthy rounded out the picks, with a single vote.

Most Outstanding Rookie 

The voters went with the talent that they’d all been recently exposed to in this vote, exclusively choosing players taken in May’s CFL Draft. Calgary Stampeders’ first-rounder, receiver Cole Tucker, got three of seven votes while Edmonton Elks’ linebacker Michael Brodrique, the second overall pick, got two.

Coach of the Year

Despite it being his first season as a head coach, Ottawa’s Bob Dyce is the group’s choice to be named Coach of the Year. Dyce took four of the seven votes, with Winnipeg’s Mike O’Shea, Edmonton’s Chris Jones and Hamilton’s Orlondo Steinauer each picking up a single vote.

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