While mini-camp is a place for players on the bubble to show coaches they deserve a spot on the team, the star for the Riders has been someone whose name could be at the top of the depth chart.
The green and white are in Bradenton, Fla., with many players battling for a spot on the team’s roster for the upcoming season.
While his name will be a new addition to a Riders uniform, Zach Collaros isn’t a new face in the CFL.
The veteran quarterback is entering his seventh season in the league and his first for the Riders since being acquired in a trade in January.
“He just looked on-point with everything he was doing, in and out of the huddles, those kinds of things, directing guys around, he did everything you expect of a veteran quarterback to do at a mini-camp like this,” the Regina Leader-Post’s Murray McCormick told the 980 CJME Morning Show from Bradenton.
One of the things coaches have noticed with Collaros is that he’s not lacking confidence despite going 0-8 last season and losing his last 12 starts.
“He’s still a very confident guy and I think they’re very aware of that, so it bodes well for the quarterback position early in the season anyway.”
Despite Collaros being the standout of the group, McCormick noted the other quarterbacks — including Canadian Brandon Bridge — were not far behind but Collaros’ experience was the difference maker.
“He’s the best player here in my mind so far.”
Powell, Marshall also standing out
While the quarterback battle has the brightest lights on it, every other position is up for grabs for players wanting to make a mark at camp.
McCormick said Drew Powell and Nick Marshall are two names that have been catching his eye due to their backgrounds.
Powell is a former quarterback turned defensive back. He played quarterback in the Arena Football League among others.
Nick Marshall is another quarterback turned defensive back who was a star at Auburn University when he played there.
“Once again Chris (Jones) is trying to find these guys, these diamonds in the rough, who played a different position and turn them into starters,” McCormick commented.
He said the secondary has held the advantage over the receivers so far in camp but that could change as they get more comfortable with the offensive system and terminology.
The Riders will once again hit the field for a few hours Wednesday. About 25-30 players are expected to possibly move on to the main training camp in May.