The Edmonton Elks wasted no time acquiring veteran Defensive Lineman A.C. Leonard after being released yesterday by the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Keeping up with signing internally before Free Agency, the Elks’ also extended Defensive Lineman Christian Rector.
A.C. LEONARD WILL ADD EXPERIENCED DEPTH
A.C. Leonard is no stranger to playing for Chris Jones. A.C. Leonard was part of Chris Jones’s Saskatchewan teams in both the 2016 and 2017 seasons respectively. During the 2016 season, A.C. Leonard would start for 16 games and contribute with 33 tackles, 2 special teams tackles, and 5 sacks. His numbers would be similar in that he would contribute to the Roughriders’ defence with 17 games played, 33 tackles, 5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble in the 2017 season.
Statistically, A.C. Leonard had his best season during his CFL career during the 2021 season. He would go on to break his personal best during his pro football career. Leonard would have a breakout season in 2021. In only 11 games played, Leonrard would elevate his game which would result in 41 tackles, 11 sacks, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble.
“A.C. is a dynamic player and who’s an elite pass rusher,” Geroy Simon, Elks assistant general manager, says. “We’re elated to have the opportunity to bring him to the Green and Gold and reunite him with Coach Jones.” – Via Edmonton Elks.
With A.C. Leonard now on board with the Green and Gold, this will only contribute to a young football team who will only grow with experience.
If A.C. Leonard can stay healthy, it will only add to the success of the Edmonton Elks going into the 2023 season. More importantly, it will take a load off of Jake Ceresna, Matthew Thomas, Adam Konar, Loucheiz Purifoy, and Scott Hutter, to name a few.
CHRISTIAN RECTOR WILL ONLY GET BETTER
Simply put, the Elks did the right thing in signing within for their talent pool. What the Elks invested in is growth within the club.
“Christian made great strides last season,” says Simon. “When healthy he showed great ability to get to the quarterback. We look forward to his continued development” – Via Edmonton Elks.
As painful as rebuilding might be, the best results come from within when there are accelerated results from gaining valuable experience when playing pro football.
As bad as the last two seasons have been for the Edmonton Elks, the best thing and only thing about this sub-par results from the club is evaluating who can play on your club long term.
And Christian Rector could be just that.
What the Elks get is a player who has plenty of years ahead of him. Christain Rector has not hit his potential at the moment, in which he will only get better.
STAYING HEALTHY WILL BE THE KEY
Just like the injury bug was all too prevalent for the Elks’ in 2022, it will be no different for Christian Rector and A.C. Leonard.
For Christian Rector in his rookie reason in 2021, he would suit up for 11 games. In that season Christian Rector would contribute with 10 tackles, 2 special teams tackles, 4 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles.
In 2022, Christian Rector would play only eight games for the Green and Gold. He would still make the most of his opportunities in collecting 13 tackles, and 3 sacks.
Hopefully, although it is inevitable, injuries in pro football are just the norm. No other team in the CFL last season had suffered more than the Edmonton Elks when it came to the number of man-games lost. If this can be limited in 2023, the Elks’ will be a more polished team with the internal experience, and that of Free Agency in 2023 to fill in other depth pieces.
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