What Edmonton’s defensive line moves mean

Edmonton made a pair of transactions on Monday that appear to have signalled a ratio shift.

Eskimos general manager Ed Hervey signed international defensive lineman Euclid Cummings and later released national defensive lineman Eddie Steele.

That likely means Edmonton could be set to use an all-American starting defensive front with Odell Willis, Phillip Hunt, Almondo Sewell, Marcus Howard and Cummings playing major roles.

After letting Steele go, who was a starter for the Eskimos and played in all 20 games for the green and gold last year, Elie Ngoyi remains the lone Canadian defensive lineman currently on the Esks roster. Edmonton elected to let Canuck defensive lineman Don Oramasionwu go to the free agent market and he left for Montreal.

Seeing Steele and his primary backup, Oramasionwu, leave the Eskimos signals a change in where they could employ the required seven Canadian starters or more. Neil King at safety, Simeon Rottier, Justin Sorenson and Matt O’Donnell along the offensive line (2015 seventh overall draft pick, Danny Groulx has started games too and O’Donnell could play tackle in a pinch) and Cory Watson, Nate Coehoorn and Shamawd Chambers at receiver gives Edmonton seven national starters, with those three pass catchers each having lots of starting experience.

Meanwhile, one important note for Edmonton and the ratio: Arjen Colquhoun. After going undrafted in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Windsor, ON native signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys. The Eskimos selected the Canadian defensive back in the second round, 17th overall in the CFL draft. After going to training camp with the Cowboys, he agreed to an injury settlement and got released among Dallas’ first round of cuts.

Colquhoun did not get signed by any other NFL team last season and he’s still looking for interest down south, but it’s possible the six-foot-one, 189-pound cover man could suit up in the CFL this coming season. That would give Edmonton a national starter in the secondary. Andrew Lue, who was signed as a free agent by the Eskimos, could be a capable backup to Colquhoun.

One CFL scout said in advance of the 2016 CFL draft on Colquhoun: “He could come in and be a starter at corner in our league.”

There are still ways Edmonton can supplement their national talent, some impact Canadians are left on the open market, including linebacker Cory Greenwood, plus the 2017 CFL draft in May where the Eskimos hold the fifth overall pick.

Justin Dunk

Justin Dunk

Justin Dunk was a five-year starter at quarterback for the University of Guelph. He covers the league for Sportsnet and 3DownNation.
Justin Dunk
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Justin Dunk
About Justin Dunk (586 Articles)
Justin Dunk was a five-year starter at quarterback for the University of Guelph. He covers the league for Sportsnet and 3DownNation.

10 Comments on What Edmonton’s defensive line moves mean

  1. big news for Neil King today. That guy played his tail off last year and its good to see him *hopefully* get rewarded for his efforts.

  2. I wanted to make a comment before stampland! Yay I did it!! Stampland. Nobody cares about your sex life or better yet your lack there of. But seeing as you brought it up recently I will give you a tip. 1) move out of your parents house. More to follow: Go CFL

  3. Wow thanks VOR,kinda uncomfortable with your obsession,,but whatever
    Anyways to the topic at hand..Interesting move,Edmonton had a very mediocre pass rush and 2nd last in league in sacks. Cummings is a decent but not great player (best year was 8 sacs 24 tackles in 2015). Ratio changes are possible but I’m wondering if Esks wouldn’t use 5th pick in round 1 to draft one possible candidates could be Eli Ankou,Kwake Bouteng,Junior Luke

  4. Cummings is an interior lineman. 8 sacks from the interior is pretty darn good.

  5. Cory Greenwood, impact player? Yet to be proven. There’s a reason why he’s still out there.

    I’m surprised Edmonton went to Cummings instead of Cash. Cash is a machine despite any stat you’d raise. He got his numbers despite playing lots of 3-4, which doesn’t bring him many opportunities to shine. Would have been a better pick, but it seems he’ll rather land in Toronto.

    Another underrated guy is Andrew Lue. He’s a good DB and made things happen in Montréal the few times he was on the field. I don’t see him as a CB, though. DB or S is more suited for him.

    I still expect the Esks to be in the mix in 2017, but things will tighten up a little with Nichols being starter for the Bombers right from the start.

  6. Agree that Cash would have been a better signing than Cummings. Clearly looks to be an all American D Line. I am sure Steele won’t be out of work for long. 3 national receivers to start is something I don’t really like. Chambers is also on roster so it looks like that is a real possibility. That leaves Bowman and Zylstra as the two American starters. Lawrence will probably be used in specific packages as a scat slot or tailback. Neil King is going to have to duplicate his 2016 season. He really impressed me as I was skeptical with him and Cauchy in the secondary. But King exceeded my expectations.

  7. Cummings had his 8 sacks playing next to Laing in Toronto who had 8 as well. In Winnipeg he was playing with Shologan. Now he’s playing with Sewell, all Cdn the past 4 years, so he’s going to benefit. I expect a turnaround year for him. You never know how good they are when they line up with great players. I like Nevis but are the Bombers making the same mistake again. You’re bound to look good with Laurent. The Bombers think Jake Thomas may start @ DT as well so we’ll see how good Nevis actually is this year.

  8. Oh, about the ratio. The Eskimos have 6 National LB’s on the roster including the recently signed Lalama, Defensive Player of the Year in University this year. They’re quite high on Konar & Blair Smith has taken reps there as well. When interviewed re: the draft, Hervey mentioned he wasn’t concerned about replacing Lacey because he never worried about finding replacements in that spot. Could be he’s looking @ Nationals there – there’s a bunch of them on his team.

  9. guestcfl // March 1, 2017 at 7:12 pm //

    thing about Konar is he is always hurt. looked good a couple seasons ago but can’t stay on the field. Smith is the more likely choice to play on the D.

  10. i think maybe steele will sigh with the riders

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