Roughriders’ homegrown wideout Picton looking for expanded role in 2023

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Roughriders home grown wideout Picton looking for expanded role
WATCH: Set to enter his fourth season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, wide receiver Mitchell Picton is aiming to build on a 2022 CFL season that saw him reach career highs in yards receiving and touchdowns – May 24, 2023

Progress has been slow and steady over the years for Saskatchewan Roughriders wide receiver Mitchell Picton, getting more and more chances to contribute to the Riders’ attack.

Counting down the days until the 2023 season begins, Picton is a candidate to break out amongst the Roughriders receiving core.

“I feel like I’m ready for a big year,” said Picton. “I can control what I can control. I go out there and do my job, catch the ball when it comes my way and we’ll see what happens from there. I’m just out here doing my job and help this team win football games.”

Entering his fourth season in the CFL, Picton is one of a handful of returning players to Saskatchewan’s group of wide receivers including Kian Schaffer-Baker and Brayden Lenius among others.

He’s set goals including a thorough review of the team’s playbook set by new offensive coordinator Kelly Jeffrey and becoming a larger part of Saskatchewan’s aerial arsenal in 2023.

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“The new offence, there’s a bit of a learning curve obviously when it’s a brand new offence coming in,” said Picton. “So, I think guys are picking it up well and it’s starting to come together.”

Through close to two weeks of main camp, Picton has impressed coaches on the field at Griffiths Stadium with his versatility and growth in his game since being drafted in 2017 from the Regina Rams.

While impressed, it’s come as little surprise to those who have spent the last handful of seasons in the locker room with Picton.

“You bring in guys every year and [Picton] just seems to outplay them,” said Roughriders head coach Craig Dickenson. “He’s one of those guys that was drafted I think a little bit later in the draft when he came out. You knew he had great ability, you were worried a little bit about his weight and his ability to hold up. But he got in the weight room, he got stronger, he’s as smart as they come.”

That hard work paid off to begin the 2022 season for Picton, as he came out of the gates with a pair of touchdowns over Saskatchewan’s first four games and posted a career high 220 yards receiving.

In a short amount of time, the soon to be 28-year-old Picton has also become one of the longest tenured weapons in the team’s receiving core.

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“I’m trying to take a little bit of a leadership role in the receiver room and offensively,” said Picton. “It’s something I think we need and we’ve had in the past. Now, I’m one of those guys that’s been here a couple of years. So it’s time to step up a little bit, be that voice for some guys, make sure we’re out doing things the right way.”

An ankle injury limited the Regina product to just 11 games last season, missing two months of action which halted his early season momentum.

“I’m hoping he just stays healthy [for] one and finds a fit in this offence,” said Dickenson. “This is a little different offence and he’s done a good job so far, but we’ll just see how it goes in the pre-season and just go from there.”

Saskatchewan’s revamped receiving team has added talents like Derel Walker, Jake Wieneke and Shawn Bane Jr. to name a few, meaning a healthy Mitchell Picton will be needed for the Canadian wideout to compete for every day snaps at the receiver position.

“I think I’m pretty tough on myself,” said Picton. “I put a lot of pressure on myself to go out and perform. My expectations of myself are to go out and perform to the best of my abilities and make plays. That’s what we’re paid to do, and that’s what we come out here and have to do.”

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The Roughriders will play their first game of the 2023 CFL pre-season on Saturday afternoon, hosting the B.C. Lions at Mosaic Stadium at 5:00 pm.

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