Preseason CFL All-Star Team: Kadeem Carey, Folarin Orimolade and more

2K8D70P October 22, 2022, Regina, SK, Canada: Calgary Stampeders quarterback Jake Maier (12) hands off the football to running back Ka'Deem Carey (35) during the first half of CFL football action against the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Regina on Saturday, October 22, 2022. (Credit Image: © Heywood Yu/The Canadian Press via ZUMA Press)

• RB Kadeem Carey, Calgary Stampeders: Last season, he led the league in rushing grade, missed tackles forced, yards after contact per attempt, explosive runs and first-down-plus-touchdown percentage.

• LT Stanley Bryant, Winnipeg Blue Bombers: Bryant is one of the best all-around blockers in the CFL and should continue to keep quarterback Zach Collaros clean.

• EDGE Folarin Orimolade, Toronto Argonauts: His 69 total pressures in 2022 were the most in the league, and his pass-rush win rate topped the charts too.

Estimated Reading Time: 9 mins


OFFENSE

QB: Zach Collaros, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Second Team: Trevor Harris, Saskatchewan Roughriders

Collaros is the top quarterback until somebody knocks him off his perch. He’s won the past two CFL Most Outstanding Player awards and returns to a Winnipeg offense that has somehow gotten even better around him. It’s not crazy to think he could become the fifth quarterback in CFL history to throw for 40-plus touchdowns in a season this year. 


RB: Kadeem Carey, Calgary Stampeders

Second Team: Brady Oliveira, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Carey has boosted his numbers in each season he’s played in the CFL. With a lighter load even among CFL running backs, Carey should still have legs this season. Last season, he led the league in rushing grade, missed tackles forced, yards after contact per attempt, explosive runs and first-down-plus-touchdown percentage. If he can come close to that kind of season again, he’ll be the top running back in the league once more.  


Outside WR: Eugene Lewis, Edmonton Elks

Second Team: Kurleigh Gittens Jr., Toronto Argonauts

After a season that saw him near the top of the league in nearly every receiving category, Lewis has moved across the country to try to help kickstart Edmonton’s rebuild. One of the best contested-catch receivers in the CFL (league-leading 23 contested catches last season) should do a lot to help quarterback Taylor Cornelius’ confidence and development. 


Slot WR: Dalton Schoen, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Second Team: Nic Demski, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Blue Bombers didn’t expect to have Schoen back on the team this season. Last year’s highest-graded receiver, the 26-year-old Rookie of the Year, was sure to find a spot in the NFL. But with his NFL window coming and going, Schoen will return to Winnipeg and no doubt pick up right where he left off: as the top wide receiver in the CFL.


Slot WR: Dominique Rhymes, BC Lions

Second Team: Keon Hatcher, BC Lions

It was a career season for Rhymes last year, as he led the league in explosive receptions (15-plus yards) and ranked second in both yards and touchdowns. While he will certainly miss the play of star quarterback Nathan Rourke, Rhymes is good enough that he’ll remain a top wide receiver in the league. Last season saw him finish with one of the best contested catch rates (59%) in the CFL.


Slot WR: Kenny Lawler, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Second Team: Tim White, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Lawler spent his first two seasons with the Bombers before leaving for Edmonton last season. That didn’t last long, as he returned to Winnipeg and adds another threat to what might be an unstoppable offense. Lawler was right among the top wide receivers in the league before missing time due to injury. Lining up across from Schoen will open up the field for him in new ways.


Outside WR: Malik Henry, Calgary Stampeders

Second Team: Jaelon Acklin, Ottawa Redblacks

After an unremarkable rookie season, Henry broke out in a big way last year. His 134.5 passer rating when targeted ranked second in the league, behind only Dalton Schoen. As the undisputed No. 1 receiver with a full offseason to work with young quarterback Jake Maier, Henry should see even more opportunities this year and could push to lead the league in receiving categories.


LT: Stanley Bryant, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Second Team: Joel Figueroa, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

When you win four of the past five Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman awards, you find yourself on this team. Bryant may start to show his age one day, but when that day comes remains to be seen. Bryant is one of the best all-around blockers in the CFL and should continue to keep quarterback Zach Collaros clean.


LG: Pier-Olivier Lestage, Montreal Alouettes

Second Team: Brandon Revenberg, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The run game is where Lestage really makes his presence felt. He finished last season with the highest percentage of impact run blocks among all offensive linemen. If he can tighten up his pass protection, he could be the best offensive lineman, period.


C: Sean McEwen, Calgary Stampeders

Second Team: Alex Fontana, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

McEwen is an all-around center who may not be flashy but gets the job done. He anchored the top running attack in the league last year and allowed just one sack. He missed time due to injury, but if he stays healthy, he’s the best center in the league. 


RG: Kristian Matte, Montreal Alouettes

Second Team: Coulter Woodmansey, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Matte is entering his 12th CFL season, all with the Alouettes. It's his consistency that the team values. He’s good at both run and pass blocking and will be part of Montreal's very strong interior offensive line once again.


RT: Jermarcus Hardrick, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Second Team: Dejon Allen, Toronto Alouettes

Hardrick is similar to Lestage above in that he’s a run-blocking mauler. His run-block defeat rate was the lowest in the league last year among qualified linemen. His pass blocking is solid too and, together with Bryant, he gives the Blue Bombers the best tackle duo in the CFL.


DEFENSE

DI: Casey Sayles, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Second Team: Makana Henry, Edmonton Elks

For someone consistently playing in the middle, Sayles' pass-rushing acumen is impressive. He can generate pressure in multiple ways, as evidenced by his 54 total pressures last year. Add in his second-most run stops last year, and you have the best all-around defensive tackle in the CFL.


DI: Jake Ceresna, Edmonton Elks

Second Team: Cameron Lawson, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Ceresna is 1b to Sayles’ 1a in terms of interior defender rankings. He’s a force up the middle, racking up 40 total pressures last year in only 12 games. He also had the highest percentage of positively graded run-defense plays.


Edge: Jackson Jeffcoat, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Second Team: Lorenzo Mauldin IV, Ottawa Redblacks

The sack numbers weren’t there for Jeffcoat last year, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a good pass rusher. Despite missing some games, he still finished with one of the highest pass-rush grades among edge players. His sack rate should increase this season if he plays at the same level.


Edge: Folarin Orimolade, Toronto Argonauts

Second Team: Pete Robertson, Saskatchewan Roughriders

The best pass rusher in the CFL last season earns a spot on this team. His 69 total pressures in 2022 were the most in the league, and his pass-rush win rate topped the charts too. He’s no slouch in the run game either and should challenge for the most defensive stops this season.


LB: Wynton McManis, Toronto Argonauts

Second Team: Jameer Thurman, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

McManis is the top linebacker in the CFL. He doesn’t really excel at any one specific aspect of defense but is great at all three. His coverage is excellent for a linebacker who often must match up against slot receivers, and he’s a strong run defender who will make multiple stops a game.


LB: Jovan Santos-Knox, Ottawa Redblacks

Second Team: Cameron Judge, Calgary Stampeders

If you want a tackling machine in the middle of your defense, then Santos-Knox is the guy. He finished last year with the second-most tackles and also averaged multiple solo stops per game. Santos-Knox is also a sure tackler, recording a missed tackle rate of just 6.8% last season.


Cover LB: Adarius Pickett, Toronto Argonauts

Second Team: Chris Edwards, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

After a rookie season playing all over the defense, Pickett moved full time to the Sam linebacker spot last year. It turned out to be a great move. His coverage skills are top of the league. He allowed just 12 of the 33 catches into his coverage to go for first downs, and quarterbacks posted only a 69.5 passer rating when targeting him.


CB: Garry Peters, BC Lions

Second Team: Jonathan Moxey, Calgary Stampeders

After some early-career growing pains, Peters has become the game’s premier cornerback. Last year, he allowed only 54.7% of his targets to be completed. Quarterbacks targeting him generated a lowly 52.1 passer rating. Look for Peters to compete for the league lead in interceptions this season.


CB: Ciante Evans, Montreal Alouettes

Second Team: Tre Roberson, Calgary Stampeders

With only one interception last year, Evans may not have the obvious numbers of a top cornerback. But his coverage grade was one of the highest in the CFL. He also forced an incompletion on 20% of his targets. Evans will be a huge boost to the Alouettes' defense this coming season.


HB: Richard Leonard, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Second Team: T.J. Lee, BC Lions

Defensive halfback is one of the hardest positions to play in the CFL. Nobody told Leonard that, though, as he’s become the best slot cornerback in the league. He allowed a mere 0.90 yards per coverage snap and a 70.5 passer rating last year.


HB: Marcus Sayles, BC Lions

Second Team: Rolan Milligan, Saskatchewan Roughriders

Sayles was named to the CFL All-Star team last year, and for good reason. His ability to cover out of the slot is impressive. In 2022, he allowed less than 61% of his targets to be completed and picked off four passes.


S: Marc-Antoine Dequoy, Montreal Alouettes

Second Team: Brandon Alexander, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Simply put, Dequoy is the best coverage safety in the CFL. He allowed just a 50.6 passer rating after picking off four passes and surrendering only one touchdown last season. He subsequently finished with the highest coverage grade in the league. Dequoy is the anchor of what should be a much-improved Alouettes defense this season.


SPECIAL TEAMS

K: Seth Small, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Second Team: René Paredes, Calgary Stampeders

As a rookie last season, Small missed a total of five kicks the entire season (73 attempts). He has a cannon of a leg, as evidenced by his four 50-plus-yard field goals (five attempts). His 58-yard field goal in Week 12 was the fifth-longest kick in CFL history.


P: Cody Grace, Calgary Stampeders

Second Team: Joseph Zema, Montreal Alouettes

There aren’t many punting categories that Grace didn’t lead in last season. The Australian paced the league in punting average, percent of punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line and hangtime. Grace can flip the field whenever he kicks, which makes him extremely valuable in a three-down game.


KR: Mario Alford, Saskatchewan Roughriders

Second Team: Chandler Worthy, Montreal Alouettes

One of two players with multiple kick-return touchdowns last season, Alford cemented his place as the top kick returner in the CFL. He had the longest kick return average and is a threat to break free every time he fields a kickoff.


PR: Janarion Grant, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Second Team:  Lawrence Woods III, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

This might be the most obvious pick of the entire team. Nobody in the CFL is a threat to break one free like Grant is when he catches a punt. In three CFL seasons, Grant has eight punt-return touchdowns, including four last season. His 13.1-yards-per-return average was the highest in the league.


Special Teams: Silas Stewart, Calgary Stampeders

Second Team: Tyrice Beverette, Montreal Alouettes

Stewart played more than 450 special teams snaps last year, featuring on every single special teams unit for the Stampeders. He had one of the highest special teams grades in the CFL and led the league in special teams tackles.

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