The 2016 CFL regular season is coming to end with only two more weeks of play before the playoffs. One thing for certain is that the Calgary Stampeders have played their best season and may make CFL history with another win this weekend. Ask any player and he will say that it’s not down to any one player, but rather it’s a team effort. There are many breakout starters eligible for Most Outstanding Rookie this year. But one rookie does stand out. Calgary Stampeders DaVaris Daniels deserves to win Most Outstanding Rookie.
Stampeders DaVaris Daniels Deserves to Win Most Outstanding Rookie
He stands over six feet tall, is a Notre Dame product, and has almost one touchdown in every game he has played. DaVaris Daniels is arguably one of the best receivers in the CFL league right now. Daniels has been lighting up the charts since he started for the Stamps in week nine. Daniels has only played in 10 games, yet has nine touchdowns. He has made 47 catches for 849 yards. That’s great for any receiver, let alone a rookie.
Daniels started off his football career at Notre Dame in Illinois. In his best year (2013), he made 47 catches for over 700 yards and seven touchdowns. He went on to the NFL and signed with the Minnesota Vikings and attended training camp for the Philadelphia Eagles before he came to the CFL in 2016.
Most Outstanding Rookie
The CFL announced on Monday the eligible players for Most Outstanding Rookie. Daniels isn’t the only Stampeder who could be nominated for the title. He has tough competition, including the middle linebacker Alex Singleton and receiver Juwan Brescacin. And that’s only naming two from the Stamps; there are plenty of good players from other teams.
The CFL’s criteria for eligibility is that the player must currently be on the club’s active roster, must not have dressed previously for any CFL club, and must not be currently dressed for any NFL club. The winner will be announced at the Shaw CFL Players Awards on November 24 in Toronto.
Great Rookies from the Past
To prove why Daniels is the top contender, we have to look at some of the CFL’s best receivers in recent years and their rookie years. Ben Cahoon, the Montreal Alouettes award-winning slotback, had 1,183 yards in his rookie year. He won Most Outstanding Canadian and Player, but never rookie. One of the all-time best receivers, Allen Pitts had 1,172 yards with an average of 18 yards. Milt Stegall played only six games his rookie season in the CFL and averaged 18.8 yards. And Geroy Simon played 10 games his rookie year and averaged 9.0 yards per catch. These are only some of the greatest receivers in CFL history and Daniels is performing like all of them.
Why Daniels Deserves to Win
Some would argue that a receiver is only as good as his quarterback, and vice versa. Bo Levi Mitchell, who is rumoured to have locked down Most Outstanding Player this year already, would not have his completion numbers if it weren’t for Daniels. Sure, there are a number of great receivers on the Stamps, including Marquay McDaniel, Joe West, Anthony Parker and Simon Charbonneau-Campeau. But none of these have numbers like Daniels. Yes, McDaniel has more yards (over 1070), but he has also started in 16 games and averages about 12.9 yards per catch. Daniels on the other hand averages 18.1 yards per catch and if he had played all 18 games, his estimated production would be over 1,500 yards. That’s in line with the production of some of the greats listed above.
It’s not to say that the rookie award has to go to a receiver. Some names on the list this year, like Singleton or Kevin Fogg from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, make big plays game after game. Singleton is especially singled out (excuse the pun) because he has walked into a very young defensive line, and arguably one of the best defences in the league. That’s not a coincidence. But Calgary would not be sitting where they are if not for an extremely strong and powerful offensive line. True, a good defence wins games. But you can’t do that without a high-producing offence either. Daniels is proving himself to be one of the best and a key part of the Stamp’s success this year.
The next week will determine if the Calgary Stampeders can make CFL history books with only one loss in a season. But fans have to wait an entire month to see if Daniels will win the prize for Most Outstanding Rookie.