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Assembling a CFL Expansion Roster Composed of Players Not Currently on a CFL Team Mid Preseason

The purpose of this article is to demonstrate the depth of the talent pool among football players currently not on a CFL team. This is a hypothetical roster in which a 10th CFL team has a roster put together made up of players currently available today. This hypothetical team on paper looks like it could be a decent on-field product despite not having any draft picks.


QB1 Eric Barriere

We’re going to give Eric Barriere an opportunity to earn the starting quarterback spot. He was just released by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers today. He had a rocky debut in the Bombers’ first preseason game completing 3 of his 7 passes for 23 yards with 2 interceptions.

Barriere was the Walter Payton Award Winner in 2021 when he passed for 5,000 yards and 46 touchdowns for Eastern Washington. We have seen barely any of him play at the professional level so his ceiling is completely unknown but there is a legitimate chance for him to possess the potential to become a franchise quarterback. He has a cannon of an arm and the ability to extend plays with his legs while looking downfield.

QB2 Kai Locksley

Locksley started the season with Edmonton before he was released and quickly picked up by Hamilton last season. He served as the QB2 and QB3 at different points of the year for Hamilton. He even lined up as a receiver at times while playing in the Hammer which saw him make a 75-yard touchdown reception.

Locksley only had 1 pass attempt in the regular season last year but he had the 2nd most passing yards in the 2023 preseason. With Edmonton, he completed 30 passes for 44 yards (68.2%) and 341 yards and 2 touchdowns.

QB3 Tyrell Pigrome

Pigrome was electric in the 2023 preseason completing 7 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown. He also had the 2nd most rushing yards of anyone in the preseason as he rushed for 114 yards on 10 rushes with 2 touchdowns.

He was the third-string quarterback for Winnipeg to start the season until they brought back Dakota Prukop. He finished the year with Ottawa last year.

Other Quarterback Considerations

Recently retired Dane Evans would be another good player to reach out to if there was a hypothetical scenario of making a 10th CFL team this season. Dominique Davis is currently a free agent who was a short-yardage specialist for years.


RB1 Jamal Morrow

Morrow rushed for 907 yards and 4 touchdowns with Saskatchewan last year. He averaged 4.49 yards per carry with a team that had just the 7th highest graded run blocking. In 2022 he averaged 5.29 yards per carry.

RB2 Shannon Brooks

Shannon Brooks was impressive to me last year with his touches. He rushed 36 times for 175 yards (4.86 average). He added 101 yards receiving on 8 catches. 

Brooks led the 2023 CFL preseason in rushing after rushing 24 times for 144 yards (6 yards per carry).

RB3 Greg McCrae

Greg McCrae is another name that comes to mind. He hasn’t had a lot of touches on the ground over the last 2 seasons with Winnipeg but he has maximized when he does. He rushed 44 times over the last 2 seasons for 310 yards (7.05 average). He has also lined up at slotback in several games and has caught 31 receptions for 346 yards and a touchdown.

Other Runningback Considerations

Greg McCrae is another name that comes to mind. He hasn’t had a lot of touches on the ground over the last 2 seasons with Winnipeg but he has maximized when he does. He rushed 44 times over the last 2 seasons for 310 yards (7.05 average). He has also lined up at slotback in several games and has caught 31 receptions for 346 yards and a touchdown.

Shaun Shivers played with BC in 2 games. He rushed 24 times for 84 yards and a touchdown and caught 5 passes for 65 yards.

A Canadian runningback to consider would be Jared Chisari who was not selected in the recent CFL Draft. He rushed 186 times last year for 1,379 yards and 8 touchdowns while playing for Queen’s.

Wide Receivers

WR Lucky Whitehead

Whitehead was not resigned by the Lions this past offseason. He played the last 3 seasons for BC over which span he accumulated 2,671 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns over 43 regular season games. He began his CFL career with Winnipeg where he also demonstrated himself to be an excellent return man.

SB Nate Behar

Behar was released by Ottawa this offseason in a salary-saving move. The 29-year-old Canadian had 39 receptions for 334 yards and a touchdown last year. The season before he had 59 receptions for 727 yards and 2 touchdowns.

SB Siaosi Mariner

Mariner is another player who was with Ottawa last year which saw the team have somewhat of a rather inconsistent passing offense. He played in 16 games for Ottawa over 2022 and 2023 where he caught 26 passes for 317 yards and a touchdown.

He is currently playing in the UFL with the Michigan Panthers where a new setting has seen him thrive. In 5 games he has caught 12 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown. Outside of his first game with the team and the most recent game in which he left early due to injury, he was one of the most productive receivers on the team.

Technically he is not available to join a CFL team currently but he seemed interested in coming back to the CFL at some point in the future when I spoke to him following his first UFL game. Perhaps he could be this year’s Darnell Sankey joining the CFL midseason.

SB Tevaun Smith

Smith was a first-round pick in the 2016 CFL Draft although he did not join the CFL until 2019 due to being in NFL systems. The Canadian has played in 49 CFL games over which span he has caught 104 passes for 1,164 yards. Last year he only had 208 yards over the last 2 seasons with Ottawa but perhaps a new setting could help the 30-year-old veteran have a resurgance.

WR Steven Dunbar Jr.

Dunbar Jr. was a 1,000-yard receiver with Hamilton in 2022. Last year he had 39 catches for 536 yards and 5 touchdowns with Edmonton over 13 games. He is a proven starter.

WR2/Kick Returner Janarion Grant or Chandler Worthy

For this role, there are 2 solid options either 30-year-old Janarion Grant or 30-year-old Chandler Worthy. Grant was a CFL West All-Star in 2022 with Winnipeg, and Worthy was a CFL East All-Star in 2022 with Montreal. Both players were not brough back with their club this season for the purpose of saving on salary.

SB2 Daniel Petermann

Petermann only had 1 catch for 5 yards in the last 2 seasons playing in a depth role with BC and contributing on special teams. The 28-year-old did have 414 yards receiving and 4 touchdowns over 46 CFL regular season games prior to joining the BC Lions.

WR2 Quartney Davis

Some teams roll with 7 receivers in their lineup, some with 8. For this roster, I’m going with 8 because I like the talent available among receivers. Quartney Davis played in 5 games for Montreal last year before sustaining an injury. The 26-year-old caught 11 passes for 158 yards. He made a couple of great plays going up over defenders and winning some 50/50 balls just as he did at Texas A&M.

Other Receiver Considerations

There’s a lot of talent at receiver currently available who have had great success beyond who was already mentioned. Players such as Markeith Ambles, Maurice Ffrench, Cam Phillips, Carlton Agudosi, Kendall Watson, and Tommylee Lewis to name a few. Duke Williams, Jake Wieneke, and Manny Arceneaux are a few others fans would be already familiar with.


FB1 Kienan LaFrance

The 33-year-old from Winnipeg played in 6 games as a 2nd string runningback and 4 games as a fullback for BC last year. He missed some time due to injury last season. He has played in 98 CFL games and could bring some experience to an expansion team.

FB2 Anthony Soles

Soles rushed 93 times for 422 yards and 10 touchdowns last year for Queen’s. He went undrafted in the CFL Draft. He’s a little light for a fullback at 220 pounds but he’s not that far off.

Offensive Line

LT Tyrone Riley

Riley was the starting right tackle for Hamilton over their final 6 games last year including the playoff loss. He missed some time due to injury last year but started in 9 games total when he was healthy. He started in 9 games at left tackle for the Ti-Cats in 2022.

LG Geoff Gray

Geoff Gray started in every game for the Bombers over the last 2 seasons being a key part of what has been considered by many to be the best-performing offensive line over that span.

C Sean Jamieson

Jamieson started in 12 games at center for Montreal in 2022 when he was healthy. He missed much of last season due to injury although he dressed as a 2nd string left guard in the East Division Semi-Final and the Grey Cup

RG Jamal Campbell

Jamal Campbell played in 12 games for Saskatchewan in 2022 at right tackle with 2 starts. In 2023 he played in 13 games for Calgary as a 2nd string guard with 1 start at left guard.

RT Landon Rice

Started in 9 games at right tackle last year for Montreal. After missing time due to injury he played the last 4 games as the 2nd string right tackle. He was Montreal’s starting right tackle in 2022 as well.

An alternative choice here if Rice is slowing down at 36 years of age could be American Terry Poole. Poole had pretty solid marks by PFF before being released from the Memphis Showboats in the UFL this season. Poole was with Winnipeg in 2021 until he was traded to Toronto in exchange for Alden Darby midway through the 2021 season. He was All-USFL in 2022.

LG2 Patrick Davis

Davis was the 2nd string left guard for Montreal in 2022. In 2023 he was the 2nd string left guard for 6 games before sustaining an injury. He spent 6 weeks on the practice roster following an injury before being released. He was later signed by Edmonton but is currently a free agent.

Defensive Line

DE Jackson Jeffcoat

Jeffcoat retired early into CFL free agency essentially because he was not getting much interest from CFL teams during the negotiation window. In this hypothetical scenario, we are assuming an expansion would have had the capacity to pursue his talents. He was the 2nd highest-graded player hitting free agency by Pro Football Focus. He was the only player to have an above 80 grade in both run defense and pass rushing.

DT Ricky Walker

Walker played in 17 games with 17 starts with Winnipeg last year and accumulated 38 tackles and 6 sacks.

DT Vincent Desjardins

The Laval product re-joined the Montreal Alouettes for the final 10 games including the 3 playoff games in which he dressed as a 2nd-string defensive tackle in.

DE Ja’Gared Davis

Davis has played in 100 CFL regular season games with 91 starts since joining the league in 2016. He has amassed 268 tackles and 49 sacks. He didn’t have any sacks last year in his 11 games but had 7 in the season before.

DE2 Van Wishart

Wishart went undrafted in the CFL Draft this offseason. He played in 10 games last year and recorded 40 total tackles and 7 sacks for Queen’s. He was 2nd Team OUA last year.

DT2 Demarcus Christmas

Christmas played in 30 games over the last 2 seasons for Saskatchewan with 11 starts. Over that span, he made 43 tackles and 2 sacks.

DE2 Arnold Mbembe

Arnold Mbembe went undrafted in the 2023 CFL Draft. He has since added weight and continues to play at the arena level. Ahead of the 2023 CFL Draft, he was a participant in the College Gridiron Showcase along with 9 other CFL draft-eligible prospects. He was the only player out of those 10 to go undrafted, many of which were taken early in that draft and went on to play very well in the CFL last season.

Weathering Setbacks: Canadian UDFA DE Arnold Mbembe’s Journey from U Sports and NCAA to Arena Football


WLB DaShaun White

White was recently in the UFL with the Michigan Panthers until he was released this past week. He played 6 games as the weakside linebacker this season. Pro Football Focus currently has him as the 2nd highest-graded linebacker in the UFL in large part due to his cover grades.

MLB Avery Williams

Avery Williams was very good for Montreal at middle linebacker prior to an injury interrupting his status as the starting middle linebacker. He started in 6 games at middle linebacker and an additional 6 games as a second-string linebacker including the 3 playoff games. He made 35 tackles last season for Montreal.

SLB Douglas Coleman III

Coleman started in 17 games as a SAM linebacker for Ottawa last season. He recorded 60 tackles, 4 sacks, and 3 interceptions.

WLB2 Jordan Reaves

Reaves played in a depth role for Edmonton over the past couple of seasons.

MLB2 Charlie Moore

Moore played in a depth role over the last 2 seasons for the Calgary Stampeders.

MLB3 Ryan Baker

Baker went undrafted in this past CFL draft. He recorded 185 total tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 7 passes defended, a forced fumble, and an interception at UBC over the last 2 seasons.

SLB2 Lourenz Bowers-Kane

Bowers-Kane went undrafted this offseason in the CFL Draft. Last year he played in 11 games for Western over which he recorded 68 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and a pass defended.

Defensive Backs

CB Kordell Rodgers

Kordell Rodgers played in 12 games with 11 starts for Montreal last season as a rookie. He made 35 tackles and 2 interceptions over that span. He played at a high level and in my opinion, is a proven CFL starter.

HB Jeremy Clark

Clark has played in 35 games for Saskatchewan over the last 3 seasons all of which he started in. He has started at both cornerback and halfback over the last 2 seasons. He has made 63 tackles, 2 interceptions, and a sack over his CFL career.

FS Breton MacDougall

Was a 6th-round pick in 2023 by Winnipeg. He ran a 4.65 40 time at the 2023 CFL combine and also performed a 35.5-inch vertical.

HB Michael Holland III

Holland is an intriguing prospect who was most recently preparing to play in the Arena Football League. His career has been one with interruptions from missing 2 seasons due to a broken leg in college, another to COVID, and now his AFL team has ceased operations amid a rocky relaunch to the league. His athletic abilities make one wonder what his ceiling is as he has performed a 4.41 40-yard dash and 40-inch vertical this offseason.

DB Michael Holland III Reflects on Arena Football League Team’s Collapse and His Quest for CFL Opportunities

CB Winston Rose

Rose has played in 70 CFL games over which span he recorded 214 tackles, 18 interceptions, and 2 touchdowns. He started in 27 games at cornerback over the last 2 seasons with Winnipeg and is still playing at a high level.

CB2/PR  Mike Jones

Mike Jones was a valuable depth player for BC last season. He only played in 5 games with 4 starts when he was elevated to the roster due to injury but the CFL veteran is still playing at a strong level. He has played in 44 CFL games with 36 starts and has made 110 tackles and 3 interceptions since joining the CFL in 2019.

FS2 Jacob Dearborn

Dearborn played in 14 games for Saskatchewan in the 2019 regular season and started in the West Semi-Final at SAM linebacker. He played in 8 games for the Riders in 2021. In 2022 he was a member of the Canadian Olympic bobsledding team. Last year he joined Hamilton late in the season and played in 2 games as a 2nd string safety including the East Semi-Final.

FS3  Breton MacDougall

Was a 6th-round pick in 2023 by Winnipeg. He ran a 4.65 40 time at the 2023 CFL combine and also performed a 35.5-inch vertical.

Special Teams

Kicker Ryan Rimmler

The global kicker was the Special Teams Player of the Year in the ELF last year. He has also been the league’s top scorer for the last 2 seasons.

Punter Aldo Galvan

Galvan averaged 45.8 yards per punt last year over 27 punts for the Regina Rams. He had a similar average in 2022 when he averaged 45.6 yards per punt in over 80 punts. Galvan also attempted 86 field goals of which he made 86 over his collegiate career with his longest being from 45.

Long Snapper Tanner Doll

Doll played last year for the Ottawa Red Blacks. He was a first-round pick in 2015 ahead of the start of his CFL career.

@JonathanClink on Twitter

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Jonathan Clink Reporter
Jonathan Clink joined CFL News Hub in early April of 2023. His primary responsibilities are covering the BC Lions and Montreal Alouettes. He self awarded himself the CFL Rookie Journalist of the Year in 2023 following the 2023 CFL season. He also proclaims himself to be a "really cool guy". He was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and lived a large portion of his childhood in Northwest Ontario. He currently lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan and misses being being able to have 4 months of skating every winter. Clink has written over 240 articles for CFL News Hub. He was the publication's boots on the ground at the 2023 Grey Cup in Hamilton. Clink has always had an obsession for sport and has a background in other sports as well having played hockey all his life and soccer, basketball, and lacrosse in high school. As a young child he used to log his hockey statistics after every game which is either an indication that he was destined for the role or perhaps and indication that he is rather strange.
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