The Argos were busy making player and coaching news on Monday. The team added a QB, let go of a player that they mistakenly traded for, they might be welcoming a former NFL WR, and experienced a shakeup on their coaching staff.
For those who missed it, Defensive Coordinator Glen Young and DB’s coach Joshua Bell are both on personal leave from the team. Young will retain his title with the team, but in his absence will be Rich Stubler calling the plays. Former CFL coach of the year, Chris Jones, is reportedly set to join the Argonauts coaching staff.
On Monday, the Argos also announced the signing of former Hawaii standout QB and 2020 Tennessee Titans draft pick Cole McDonald. In a corresponding move, the Toronto Argonauts have released OT Terry Poole from their practice roster. Cole McDonald is expected to join QB Antonio Pipkin on the Boatmen’s practice roster. Toronto currently has two quarterbacks on their active roster in Nick Arbuckle and McLeod Bethel-Thompson.
The Argos New QB Cole McDonald
Cole McDonald, the 23-year-old California native, and former high school track star, emerged on the scene for the University of Hawaii as a redshirt sophomore. In 2018, McDonald passed for 3,875 yards, completing 58 percent of his passes for 36 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. McDonald also rushed for 359 yards with 4 scores on the ground.
As a redshirt junior, McDonald passed for 4,135 and 33 touchdowns with 14 interceptions while also rushing for 383 yards and seven touchdowns and was named second-team All-MWC. Following the end of the 2019 season, he announced that he would forgo his final year of NCAA eligibility to enter the 2020 NFL Draft. McDonald received an invitation to the NFL scouting combine and posted the fastest 40 time (4.53) and the highest vertical jump (36.0) of all the quarterbacks in attendance.
The 6’4 220, Cole McDonald was then drafted in the seventh round by the Tennessee Titans. However, McDonald was let go by the team in August of 2020. He spent the entirety of the NFL season working out for multiple teams before landing a futures contract with the Arizona Cardinals back in February. The Cards let him go in May. Most recently, last month, McDonald worked out for the Minnesota Vikings.
Ironically, McDonald has similar skills as a runner that former CFL and current Arizona Cardinals quarterback Chris Streveler possesses. Cole McDonald has upside as a developmental project for Toronto if he’s committed to making the transition to playing the Canadian game. He has the size and running ability to excel as a backup in the future. The same way, Streveler did in Winnipeg.
The Argos Subtraction By Addition Of Terry Poole
For all the positive moves that GM Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons, VP of Player Personnel John Murphy, and Director of Scouting Vince Magri have made. The acquisition of OT Terry Poole this summer was not one of them.
Back in training camp, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers lost Mercy Maston to injury. So they made the call to Toronto to see if Alden Darby was available. The Argos obliged and sent Darby to the Bombers for American OT Terry Poole. Winnipeg had signed Poole close to the season, and in the XFL, with the Houston Roughnecks, Poole was the third-highest graded offensive linemen in the league by Pro Football Focus. The other two players rated ahead of Poole, Storm Norton, and Michael Dunn are on the active rosters of the LA Chargers and Cleveland Browns.
At the time of the Darby trade, it appeared as if a deal was consummated because Winnipeg was the desperate team. But little did many know that Toronto was also looking for a quick fix solution as well. That’s because the Argos lost their starting left tackle, Isaiah Cage, to a potentially season-ending ankle injury during practice in training camp.
At the time, the Boatmen weren’t sure what they had in CFL rookie Dejon Allen, who has done a good job to this point starting all five of Toronto’s games on the blindside. And the Argos wanted insurance on the left side, so they made a move for Poole. However, despite practicing with the team for nearly two months, Poole could not crack the starting lineup. And recently, Toronto acquired Trevon Tate off of waivers from Hamilton. So couple that with Allen’s play and the team’s investment in young players like Theren Churchill, and Poole has become expendable.
In the midst of COVID protocols and the difficulties in getting players onto your roster. The Argos decision to trade for Poole, a player who was already in Canada, was a bad gamble that didn’t pay off. And the net result is that the team traded one of its best defensive playmakers in their secondary in Alden Darby. The fan-favourite has started for the Bombers secondary the last two weeks, and coincidentally, Winnipeg’s defense has shut down Saskatchewan’s offense on the way to a 2-0 record with Darby in their secondary.
For Toronto, they have recently been without starting free safety Crezdon Butler due to injury. And in their last two games, the Argos have been forced to rely on sixth-round draft pick Josh Hagerty. The rookie Hagerty has been victimized by opposing team’s passing attacks, giving up several big plays in both encounters versus Hamilton. Toronto could’ve used Darby in weeks 5 and 6 and beyond.
Perhaps the door is not closed on Terry Poole’s CFL career, whether he’s back with Toronto or another team. But you can’t get a mulligan or a do-over for the Argos mistake in trading away Alden Darby. By releasing Poole, Toronto is taking their “L” and moving on.
Back To Double Blue In The CFL?
There are reports that the former 1st round NFL WR Kendall Wright is on his way headed to the Six.
Sources have indicated in the last week that the former Baylor star and NFL veteran WR is going to finally join the Toronto Argonauts after signing with them back in February. Kendall Wright, along with another prominent NFL receiver in Martavis Bryant, was placed on the Argos suspended list back on July 10th. Neither Wright nor Bryant showed up for Argos camp in the summer.
As of press time, the Argonauts have not confirmed the addition of Kendall Wright to their active roster. But despite Toronto’s deep receiving corps. The NFL veteran would bring a lot of experience and a great set of hands to the Boatmen. Wright has 339 career receptions for 3,858 yards and has scored 19 touchdowns throughout his pro career.
The Texas native, Wright, 31, hasn’t played pro football since a brief stint with the Arizona Cardinals in the fall of 2018. So it might take him some time to shake off the rust. But with Juwan Brescasion and Daniel Braverman on the shelf due to injuries. There could be an opening for Wright to contribute. The receiver who wore two shades of Blue for Tennessee in the NFL might be donning an Argos uniform for the original Double Blue.