Chad Owens displays his impressive cutting ability

Owens in CFL race for most outstanding player

Toronto Argos kick returner/receiver having career year

Chad Owens is making a strong case to be the first non-quarterback since 2006 to win the Canadian Football League’s Most Oustanding Player award.

But if he’s going to pull it off, the Toronto Argonauts’ star will have to rise above a deep pool of candidates.

Here’s a look:

Chad Owens — Slotback — Toronto Argonauts

The diminutive slotback is putting together his best season and is clearly the most dynamic offensive player for the Argos. He has already surpassed his career high in receiving yardage and receiving touchdowns.

Once considered purely a return specialist, Owens has proved in 2012 that he is now complete player and is arguably the best receiver in the league. If he keeps playing the way he has, the league MVP title could be his.

Anthony Calvillo — Quarterback — Montreal Alouettes

The Als’ signal caller just keeps on producing in his 19th CFL season. Calvillo leads the league in passing yards and is second in passing touchdowns with 22. He has Montreal in first place in the East and second in the league behind the B.C. Lions.

While he isn’t approaching any of the lofty personal records that he has set, his passing percentage on the season mirrors his career mark at 62.7 per cent. As long as he keeps slinging the ball around and the Als are atop the East, Calvillo will be in the MVP conversation.

Chris Williams — Slotback — Hamilton Tiger-cats 

Adding a new dimension to his game this year, Tiger-cats slotback/returner Williams has become one of the league’s most exciting young return men.

With a ridiculous five punt return touchdowns this season, or more than Chad Owens has in his career, Williams would be a runaway candidate for the MVP award if it weren’t for Hamilton’s record.  A late season push from the Tigercats and another return touchdown would make him a leading candidate.

Jon Cornish — Tailback — Calgary Stampeders

The league’s leading rusher resides in Calgary and he’s 119 yards ahead of the field. Stampeders’ running back Jon Cornish is having his strongest year yet, despite a slow start, racking up 880 yards through 12 weeks.

With the Stampeders sitting in second place in the West, Cornish helps Calgary control the game on the ground. With six games to go he could realistically rush for 1,300 yards, a total that would make him a legitimate MYP candidate.

JC Sherritt — Linebacker — Edmonton Eskimos 

Defense usually doesn’t get much recognition in the MVP discussion but Eskimos middle linebacker JC Sherritt is having a standout season on defense.  He leads the league in tackles with 93, a total that is blowing the field out of the water as the next leading tackler has 63.

It would take a strong finish from Edmonton in the standings, plus a few miraculous plays from Sherritt in order for him to win the award but defense needs some representation on the list.

Travis Lulay — Quarterback — B.C. Lions

Current league MVP Travis Lulay is having another strong season and while he’s unlikely to put up the same gaudy passing statistics as he did last year, he does have the BC Lions in first place in the CFL. Lulay has thrown 20 touchdowns, while completing 66.5 per cent of his passes for 3,040 yards and a qb rating of 101.5.

Considering how important the quarterback position is in football and Lulay leading the top team in the league, another MVP for the BC quarterback wouldn’t be a surprise at all.