Watch the video above: Riders’ prospect learning the ropes
SASKATOON – A Saskatchewan Roughriders rookie defensive end is learning from two of the best pass rushers in the business at training camp.
The change of pace from college to professional football was a shock at first, but Dylan Ainsworth feels he’s adapted quickly.
“It’s all about keeping with it and improving every day, and that’s one thing I think I’ve been doing,” said Ainsworth after practice at Griffiths Stadium on Saturday.
The Roughriders selected Ainsworth with their first pick in the 2014 Canadian Football League (CFL) draft. He was the first defensive end taken and 11th overall.
While the 21-year-old was an elite Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) player, Riders head coach Corey Chamblin thinks Ainsworth will need some grooming.
“He has the skill set, the biggest thing is just the effort level,” said Chamblin on Saturday.
“He has to get used to how we run each and every play. It’s not like college where you can take a play off, we demand the best out of those guys on each and every play.”
The plan is for Ainsworth to play primarily on special teams this season.
Quite simply, there’s no room on the defensive line for the rookie. John Chick occupies one defensive end spot while the other belongs to Ricky Foley, a player Ainsworth has looked up to for a long time.
“It’s cool to have a guy who had a CIS career and came into the CFL and done as well as he has.” Ainsworth said of Foley.
“I definitely look at that as inspiration for sure.”
Ainsworth, of Delta B.C., wants to be a star in the CFL someday, but won’t put a timeline on when he thinks he’ll be a starter.
He is currently the third youngest player on the Riders roster, so he has some time to develop his game.
“It’s all about learning right now and getting my reps in as much as I can on specials. If they need me, if injuries are happening or whatever, I’m able to jump in and perform my job on defence.”
When his number gets called, Ainsworth says he will be ready.