Ryan Grigson has shown throughout his career that he is not scared to locate talent all over the place. It doesn’t matter if you are a basketball player who has never played a down of football before (Eric Swoope) or a rugby player from Kenya (Daniel Adogo); if Grigson thinks you have talent then he will find a roster spot for them.
For most football fans the CFL, is a second rate league where players play when they are not good enough for the NFL. Simply put, those people are wrong and clearly don’t understand football. The CFL is a great football league where players can develop their talent to the NFL game. The NFL wants the game to open up. There are going to be more defensive holding calls this year for example. Also running backs in the NFL and CFL have to be able to catch the ball out of the backfield and pass protect; if they can’t do that then they are useless to most teams.
The NFL is a passing league, and the CFL is the perfect place to find talent that can play in the new league. The CFL involves more passing because it’s only two downs to get a first down, but that shouldn’t take away from the player’s skill level. In the CFL, linebackers for example are expected to play in space and in coverage. That is something that is now demanded at the NFL level. Gone are the days of linebackers who can only stop the run. You have to do more to make an impact in the league, and the CFL is the perfect example of this. Also in the CFL you have to be a better tackler from a technical standpoint. There is more space on the field, which means defenders have to square up the ball carrier and use perfect form or else you won’t be able to stop those kinds of athletes. That is one of the most underrated parts of being a linebacker; a solid tackler could be the difference between a three-yard gain or a 40-yard gain.
The Indianapolis Colts have a long history with the CFL. Former general manager Bill Polian use to be a personal director for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and scout for the Montreal Alouettes. Current GM Grigson was also a scout for the Saskatchewan Rough Riders.
The Colts have made a living in the past when it came to giving CFL players a chance to play in the NFL. Jerrell Freeman two years ago was making plays all over training camp to the surprise of many, but that was not a surprise not to the of the fans of the CFL. It also appears that Henoc Muamba is going to be the next great linebacker to make the jump from the CFL to the NFL.
Freeman is one of those linebackers who could play well in space. It is no surprise that smart teams like the Colts saw that talent and scooped him up before other teams could. Now he is making an impact at the NFL level and plays a significant role in the Colts’ defense.
Muamba is going to be the next player to make that jump to the NFL and play well for the Colts. He can play well in space and he is able to find the football through traffic. He also can contribute on special teams thanks to his speed, which is going to give him an edge over other players.
Being from Canada and watching the CFL, I know there are a lot of quality players at the CFL level. Smart teams like the Colts have been finding players for years at the CFL level. In a league where the talent is so thin among teams, any edge a team can find discovering players is a big one.