Our Turn: The Way Too Early Power Rankings, players edition

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TORONTO — When it comes to CFL.ca’s off-season Power Rankings, we see a similar formula every year.

The team that’s ranked No. 1 is usually happy to get the glory. Disappointment rises as you make your way down through teams No. 2-9, though.

This year’s Way Too Early Power Rankings made similar waves. The Montreal Alouettes — last year’s last-place team — channeled that anger and sense of disrespect and turned it into a dramatic win in the 110th Grey Cup. The questions seemed to generally rise from fans of the Toronto Argonauts, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Calgary Stampeders, who sat fifth, eighth and ninth, respectively, in our rankings.

With two players from every team in the league in Hamilton last week for the CFL’s content capture, we thought it was only right to give some of them a chance to show us where they think everyone belongs at this point in the off-season.

The only caveat we gave them was that they couldn’t rank their teams first, as much as some of them wanted to (we see you, Tyrice Beverette). Contrary to the internal CFL.ca process, we’re sharing each players rankings below, rather than averaging out everyone’s picks for one final ranking.

The players’ edition of the Way Too Early Power Rankings is below.

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Reggie Begelton, Calgary Stampeders

You may be surprised to see Begelton put his Stampeders at sixth. The star receiver is in fact the only player that we polled who didn’t put his team second in their rankings.

“We have to prove ourselves,” he said, acknowledging the Stamps’ 6-12 record last year.

“We’re not nine, but we still have to prove ourselves.”

Ranking Team
1 BC Lions
2 Winnipeg Blue Bombers
3 Montreal Alouettes
4 Toronto Argonauts
5 Saskatchewan Roughriders
6 Calgary Stampeders
7 Hamilton Tiger-Cats
8 Edmonton Elks
9 Ottawa REDBLACKS

DaVaris Daniels, Toronto Argonauts 

“If I’m an outsider, you’ve got to give respect to the champs,” Daniels said, quickly writing the Alouettes in at the top spot after reminding us that he wanted the Argos at No. 1.

He said his toughest decision in his list was placing Saskatchewan fifth.

“I feel like they haven’t proven it yet,” he said, “so I had to put them in the middle of the pack. I think they’re in this top tier, for sure, just based off of the coaching staff and players that they gained in the off-season. But you also have to establish the foundation and the first year with that group, who knows?”

He also said choosing teams the last four teams was difficult and that they were all almost interchangeable to him.

“Hamilton, I really want to put them at nine. But I got them at seven, I’m going to be nice. Calgary, would love to see them do better than last year,” he said.

Ranking Team
1 Montreal Alouettes
2 Toronto Argonauts
3 BC Lions
4 Winnipeg Blue Bombers
5 Saskatchewan Roughriders
6 Ottawa REDBLACKS
7 Hamilton Tiger-Cats
8 Calgary Stampeders
9 Edmonton Elks

Eugene Lewis, Edmonton Elks

“I really don’t like giving BC all this credit right now,” Lewis said as he begrudgingly put the Lions at the top of his list.

His uncertainty on how the East might shake out this year made placing those teams tough for him.

“The West is hard in general because it’s a battle every week,” he said.

“If I thought an East team really, really was above everybody, I would have probably put them No. 1 but I just don’t feel like there’s (an) East team (in contention) right now. Even with Montreal winning the Grey Cup, them losing Stanback I think is huge. And then they lost (Austin) Mack, that’s huge. We’ll have to see how it works out.”

Ranking Team
1 BC Lions
2 Edmonton Elks
3 Winnipeg Blue Bombers
4 Saskatchewan Roughriders
5 Montreal Alouettes
6 Calgary Stampeders
7 Ottawa REDBLACKS
8 Toronto Argonauts
9 Hamilton Tiger-Cats

James Butler, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Count Butler as one of the players that really struggled with not being able to put his team at the top of the list. Resigned to placing them second, he gave his former team, the BC Lions, some love and gave some props to the work that’s been done this winter in Saskatchewan.

“I guess putting Montreal under BC (was tough to do) but I like I like VA (Vernon Adams Jr.). I like that they got (William) Stanback too and they reloaded on defence,” Butler said. “The hardest one for me though, if we’re being honest honest, is putting Hamilton at No. 2.”

Ranking Team
1 Saskatchewan Roughriders
2 Hamilton Tiger-Cats
3 BC Lions
4 Montreal Alouettes
5 Winnipeg Blue Bombers
6 Ottawa REDBLACKS
7 Edmonton Elks
8 Calgary Stampeders
9 Toronto Argonauts

AJ Ouellette, Saskatchewan Roughriders

Old habits die hard for Ouellette, who spent the last four seasons with the Toronto Argonauts. He’s left the Double Blue behind for the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ kelly green, but hasn’t quite been able to let go of the hostilities he feels toward the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Ouellette listed his former rival last in the rankings. He said he thinks they’re better than No. 9, “but I just don’t like them.”

Ranking Team
1 BC Lions
2 Saskatchewan Roughriders
3 Winnipeg Blue Bombers
4 Montreal Alouettes
5 Toronto Argonauts
6 Calgary Stampeders
7 Ottawa REDBLACKS
8 Edmonton Elks
9 Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Tyrice Beverette, Montreal Alouettes

Beverette managed to make his entry look the most like a CFL.ca Power Rankings voter. His list was full of scratched out names, entries, re-entries and re-re-entries, with the final result a graphic description of just how difficult this process can sometimes be.

We’ll note here as well that Beverette struggled the most with putting his team anywhere but No. 1. That’s fair, considering that’s where CFL.ca put his team for its most recent rankings.

Other than putting his team anywhere but the top spot, he said his most difficult placement was Ottawa at No. 6.

“I know they didn’t have the greatest season last year, but I know they made a few good pickups this year,” he said. “Adarius Pickett, I know that he’ll bring up their defence.”

Ranking Team
1 Winnipeg Blue Bombers
2 Montreal Alouettes
3 BC Lions
4 Toronto Argonauts
5 Calgary Stampeders
6 Ottawa REDBLACKS
7 Hamilton Tiger-Cats
8 Saskatchewan Roughriders
9 Edmonton Elks

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