CFL free agent rankings: Defensive Line

As we approach the opening of CFL free agency on Tue., Feb. 13, 3DownNation’s Justin Dunk, Drew Edwards and John Hodge are ranking every player potentially available by position. Here are the defensive linemen, divided by nationality.

National

1. Ted Laurent, HAM
Age: 30
Starts in 2017: 12
Key stats: 13 tackles, four sacks
Notes: Disruptive ratio-breaking defensive tackle will still command elite money at the position, but it will be a pay drop from what he got the last time around.

2. Jamaal Westerman, WIN
Age: 32
Starts in 2017: 11
Key stats: 21 tackles, seven sacks
Notes: Soon to be 33-year-old brings instant pass rushing ability and plays the run well plus a Canadian passport. An instant starter for the team that secures him who despite his age has lots of miles left.

3. Zack Evans, OTT
Age: 27
Starts in 2017: 18
Key stats: 23 tackles, five sacks
Notes: Steady presence on the inside and coming into the prime production age, Evans should garner attention for teams wanting to start a Canadian at defensive tackle.


4. Arnaud Gascon-Nadon, OTT
Age: 29
Starts in 2017: 11
Key stats: eight tackles, three sacks
Notes: His play tailed off  last season which will cost him money in free agency, but he has starting experience and potential to reaffirm that role if given the proper opportunity.

5. Ese Mrabure, SSK
Age: 25
Starts in 2017: 2
Key stats: 17 tackles, two sacks
Notes: Ascending young player who has played multiple positions on the defensive line. Mrabure likely fits best at defensive tackle. His athletic traits are plentiful.

6. Eddie Steele, SSK
Age: 29
Starts in 2017: 18
Key stats: 23 tackles, one sack
Notes: Heart and soul type of player can be valuable to a team if used in a proper role.

7. Daryl Waud, TOR
Age: 24
Starts in 2017: 0 (1 GP)
Key stats: None in 2017. 25 career games played, 19 tackles, three sacks
Notes: Young with untapped potential. Waud can be a starter in the league. Staying close to home – Hamilton native – could be in play.

8. Jake Thomas, WIN
Age: 27
Starts in 2017: 7
Key stats: 21 tackles, four sacks
Notes: You’ll always get a full effort from Thomas who plays above his athletic capabilities.

9. Michael Klassen, CAL
Age: 26
Starts in 2017: 1 (10 GP)
Key stats: 10 tackles
Notes: Must stay healthy. Klassen has shown flashes of what he can do on the field, but he needs to keep himself on it.

10. Michael Atkinson, HAM
Age: 28
Starts in 2017: 1 (5 GP)
Key stats: two tackles
Notes: Athletic big-man has never been able to stay healthy on a consistent basis.

11. Cameron Walker, TOR
Age: 25
Starts in 2017: 0 (16 GP)
Key stats: seven special teams tackles
Notes: Core special teams contributor that can rotate or get you through a game up front if needed.

12. Don Oramasionwu, MTL
Age: 31
Starts in 2017: 6
Key stats: 14 tackles, one sack
Notes: Injuries have really held Oramasionwu back.

13. Evan Gill, HAM
Age: 25
Starts in 2017: 0 (1 GP)
Key stats: five games played in two seasons
Notes: A torn Achilles last August just the latest injury for this former first-round draft pick.

•••

International

1. A.C. Leonard, SSK
Age: 26
Starts in 2017: 17
Key stats: 33 tackles, five sacks
Notes: As far as American pass rushers go, Leonard will be the most sought after on the open market. In a scheme where he’s let loose after the quarterback he could have double digit sacks.

2. Euclid Cummings, EDM
Age: 26
Starts in 2017: 16
Key stats: 21 tackles, eight sacks
Notes: Coming off a bounce-back season, Cummings reasserted himself as an effective pass rusher from the inside. And he’s still just 26.

3. Alex Bazzie, BC
Age: 27
Starts in 2017: 6
Key stats: 12 tackles, three sacks
Notes: There are varying opinions on Bazzie, but what’s proven is his ability to take down the opposing passer. Needs to improve against the run.

4. Craig Roh, BC
Age: 27
Starts in 2017: 16
Key stats: 19 tackles, seven sacks
Notes: Roh put together three consistent seasons in B.C. and is in line for a pay bump.

5. Phillip Hunt, EDM
Age: 32
Starts in 2017: 6
Key stats: three tackles, one sack
Notes: The Eskimos released Hunt early and he hasn’t signed yet, which isn’t a positive development for the ageing defender.

6. Bryant Turner, BC
Age: 30
Starts in 2017: 9
Key stats: seven tackles, one sack
Notes: Turner’s games played and production were both career lows in 2017. Not ideal timing, but there could be a team who wants to see if any of that all-star ability from 2012 is left.

7. Zach Minter, SSK
Age: 27
Starts in 2017: 6
Key stats: seven tackles, one sack
Notes: Minter has flashed pass rush ability from the inside but he needs to find a more permanent home, three CFL teams in three seasons.

8. Kashawn Fraser, CAL
Age: 27
Starts in 2017: 2
Key stats: one tackle
Notes: Fraser suffered an ACL injury early last season that’s diminished his value.

9. Ivan McLennan, MTL
Age: 24
Starts in 2017: 1 (11 GP)
Key stats: 17 tackles, one sack
Notes: Young player who can help on specials.




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