Mitch Picton returns to Regina Rams
Mitch Picton used training camp to prepare for training camp.
Picton, a star slotback with the University of Regina Rams, practised with and played for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the spring before being returned to the Canada West ranks for a fifth and final year at that level.
“It was a hectic summer,” Picton says in advance of Saturday’s game against the University of Alberta Golden Bears (2 p.m., Mosaic Stadium). “It was busy and pretty tough on the body, but it was fun. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
“It was a busy summer full of football, so what could be better?”
Picton joined the Roughriders after they selected him in the fifth round (37th overall) of the 2017 CFL draft. Saskatchewan drafted Picton after he caught 58 passes for 830 yards and 11 touchdowns in eight regular-season games in 2016.
So far this season, Picton has 13 catches for 206 yards and one TD for the Rams (1-1). He has noticed a difference in his play due to the training camp stint.
“Anytime you play at such a high level, like at training camp, you’re going to pick up little things from the guys who are around you that you’re playing with,” Picton says.
“Working with guys like Rob Bagg and Naaman Roosevelt, it was amazing just being in the film room and at practice with them, looking at little things that they do on and off the field to become a better football player.
“That’s something that has definitely helped me out and I think I’m a better player because of it. There’s some little things that I learned in Rider camp that I’m definitely using in my game now.”
Picton attended Roughriders camp with the intention and hope of remaining with the CFL team, which had the convenient option of having him finish his U Sports eligibility close to home.
“I knew what the options were and what they could do, but I felt I had a good training camp,” Picton says. “I thought I was competing. Honestly, I was happy with whatever the outcome was.
“There really wasn’t a bad result. I just went out there and every day tried to be better than the last and do whatever I could to make the football team, because that’s ultimately what I was there to do.”
That said, Picton is delighted to be back with the Rams — whose starting quarterback, 2016 Hec Crighton Trophy recipient Noah Picton, is Mitch’s cousin.
“It’s great. It feels like home,” Mitch Picton says. “I’m playing with all my friends again. Obviously, coming back and playing another year with Noah is great for me. I love playing with him. There’s nobody better that I could ask for to play with. Having another year with him is huge and it means a lot to both of us.”
The Pictons have been teammates throughout their football careers, beginning with Regina Minor Football’s atom Bears.
“Any meaningful passes that I’ve ever caught, they’ve all been from Noah for my entire career — from the day we started until now,” Mitch says. “We’re coming up on 13, 14 years. We’ve built up some pretty good chemistry.”
Perhaps the collaboration will continue beyond this season.
“That would be incredible,” Mitch says. “Somebody at the next level has got to give Noah a shot. With the things he has done and the kind of player he is, somebody’s got to take a chance on him. Whoever does is going to be getting a hell of a player.”
University of Regina Rams slotback Mitch Picton says he’s applying some of the lessons he learned at the Riders training camp..