September 11, 2020

Hogan: A Look at Five Offensive Neg. List Players

Aug 24, 2018; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Connor Cook (18) prepares to throw a pass against the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Argonauts.ca thought with the kickoff of the NFL season upon us, it would be a good time to focus in on some of the players on the Argos negotiation list. There’s no guarantee any of these players will ever suit up here, but if they end up coming to Canada, Toronto has their exclusive negotiating rights.

Here’s a look at five offensive players on the Argos neg list.

 

CONNOR COOK – QUARTERBACK, MICHIGAN STATE  

By any definition Cook was a star at the NCAA level.

A three-year starter at MSU (2013-15), he holds the Spartans record for most passing yards, most passing touchdowns and most wins by a quarterback. He led the team to Big Ten Championships in 2013 and 2015, where he was the MVP in both title games. Cook also led State to wins in the Rose and Cotton Bowls. He won the Johnny Unitas Award in 2015 as the top senior quarterback in the country.

One of his teammates with the Spartans was defensive back Arjen Colquhoun, who signed with the Argos in February. They played together in East Lansing for four years.

Cook was a fourth-round pick by the Oakland Raiders in the 2016 NFL Draft. While with the Raiders he became the first QB in the Super Bowl era to make his first NFL start in a playoff game, a 2017 AFC Wild-Card contest against Houston.

Perhaps thrown into the fire too soon in his NFL career, he never lived up to lofty expectations. After subsequently signing with three other organizations, he was released by Detroit.

He spent last season with the XFL’s Houston Roughnecks playing for former CFL head coach and one-time Argo quarterback June Jones.

Cook has good size at 6’4”, 220 pounds and is blessed with a strong arm.

Now 27 years old, he’s currently a free agent. There has been constant communication between the Argos and Cook since the end of the XFL and there was a good chance he would have donned Double Blue if a 2020 season had taken place.

KENDALL WRIGHT – RECEIVER, BAYLOR 

The Tennessee Titans first-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, he spent five seasons with them before moving on to the Bears, Vikings, and most recently, Cardinals. He has 19 career touchdown catches and 339 receptions, including 94 in 2013, which is the franchise record since moving to the Volunteer State from Houston.

He suffered a string of injuries which ultimately saw his playing time reduced in Nashville.

A star at Baylor, Wright holds the Bears records for catches, receiving yards and is second in receiving TDs. He was a teammate for three seasons at Baylor with new Argo offensive lineman Phillip Blake.

Not the biggest receiver at 5’10”, 185 pounds, he’s made up for lack of size with above-average quickness. He’s a free agent who will turn 31 in November. He turned down a chance to play in the XFL, keeping an eye on the NFL. Wright was leaning toward heading to the CFL if nothing in the NFL materialized.

TERRANCE WILLIAMS – RECEIVER, BAYLOR 

Was an All-American at Baylor and was teammates with Wright and Blake. Led the country in 2012 with 1,832 receiving yards. He was a unanimous All-American. He trails only Wright in the Baylor record book in career catches and receiving yards.

A third-round pick by Dallas in the 2013 NFL Draft, Williams spent six years with the Cowboys, starting 68 games and catching 20 TD passes. In his first season he caught touchdown passes in four consecutive games, setting the team’s rookie record.

Williams just turned 31 this week. He possesses good size at 6’2”, 210 pounds, and has the speed to get open downfield. He is a free agent after spending some time last season with St. Louis in the XFL.

NICK HOLLEY – RUNNING BACK/RECEIVER, KENT STATE 

A versatile offensive talent, he began his NCAA career at Toledo as a running back but finished it as an MVP quarterback. As a junior, while playing QB, he led the team in rushing, including a 224-yard, four touchdown game against U-Buffalo.

He wasn’t drafted in the NFL but signed a free-agent contract with the Los Angeles Rams just after the 2018 draft. He was released at the end of training camp.

Like Connor Cook, he spent last season with Houston in the XFL where he was sixth in the league in receiving yards. He’s listed as a running back, but almost exclusively played receiver with the Roughnecks.

Holley is certainly aware of the CFL. His twin brother Nate plays with the Calgary Stampeders and last year was named the league’s Most Outstanding Rookie.

He’s just 25 years old, 5’9”, 196 pounds and is currently a free agent. Holley’s skillset would make him a perfect fit to play “R” position in the offence, similar to the role Andre Durie or Anthony Coombs did in the past.

DEJON ALLEN – OFFENSIVE LINEMAN, HAWAII 

He started 49 games at tackle with Hawaii where he was named First Team All-Conference. As a junior he won the team’s Offensive MVP Award, named after the aforementioned June Jones, a longtime head coach of the Rainbow Warriors.

Allen went undrafted, but he was signed by the Chicago Bears as a guard and centre. He spent 2018 on their practice roster before being waived in May 2019. He was then signed by the Green Bay Packers but was released at the end of training camp.

The 26-year-old Los Angeles native spent last year in the XFL where he was traded from the St. Louis Battlehawks to the New York Guardians.

He’s 6’2, 300 pounds and is currently a free agent. Allen is quick, strong, is athletic enough to play left tackle in the CFL and has the capability of playing anywhere along the o-line.