Rushing the passer is everything in the CFL and having an elite defensive line is the easiest way to make that happen.
There are a number of impact players available at both defensive tackle and defensive end, including the league’s reigning Most Outstanding Defensive Player. Look below to see how they rank by nationality.
1) Dylan Wynn, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
The 26-year-old was dominant in 2019, recording 44 tackles and 11 sacks in 18 regular season games. The CFL all-star will be one of the top players available if he makes to free agency of February 11.
2) Micah Johnson, Saskatchewan Roughriders
The former CFL all-star is coming off a down year with the Riders during which he recorded 26 tackles and four sacks.
3) Drake Nevis, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
The 300-pounder is one of the league’s best run-stoppers, putting up 24 tackles and three sacks in Winnipeg in 2019.
4) Davon Coleman, Toronto Argonauts
The 29-year-old has been a member of three teams over the past three seasons, yet has still posted 127 tackles and 17 sacks.
5) Ryan Brown, Montreal Alouettes
The six-foot-six lineman was relatively quiet in 12 starts in 2019, making 12 tackles and three sacks.
Best of the rest: Lavar Edwards, Saskatchewan Roughriders
1) Cleyon Laing, Toronto Argonauts
The 29-year-old is a four-time East Division all-star who continues to be one of the league’s best Canadian defensive players. Laing recorded 27 tackles and seven sacks in 15 starts in 2019.
2) Fabion Foote, Montreal Alouettes
The McMaster product made six starts for the Alouettes in 2019, making 15 tackles and one sack.
3) David Menard, B.C. Lions
He wasn’t under contract to begin this past season, but the Montreal product eventually made 12 tackles and two sacks in ten starts.
4) Junior Luke, B.C. Lions
The former first-round pick was relatively quiet in 2019, making nine tackles, one sack, and one interception in four starts.
5) Junior Turner, Free Agent
The 31-year-old is a starter when healthy but has appeared in just 31 games over the past four seasons due to a slew of knee injuries.
Best of the rest: Ettore Lattanzio, Ottawa Redblacks; Mark Mackie, Edmonton Eskimos; Ese Mrabure-Ajufo, Calgary Stampeders; Jabar Westerman, Free Agent
1) Willie Jefferson, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
The league’s reigning Most Outstanding Defensive Player was dominant in 2019, making a career-high 12 sacks and forcing six fumbles. His domination continued in the Grey Cup, posting three sacks and two forced fumbles.
2) Ja’Gared Davis, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
The 29-year-old led the East Division with 13 sacks last year, also posting 54 tackles and three forced fumbles.
3) Chris Casher, Calgary Stampeders
The 26-year-old won a starting job early in the year and went on to record 34 tackles and seven sacks.
4) Shawn Lemon, B.C. Lions
The nine-year veteran continues to get after the passer, making nine sacks between Toronto and B.C. last season.
5) Odell Willis, B.C. Lions
The 35-year-old is coming off a down year that he played partly at defensive tackle, making just four sacks.
Best of the rest: J.R. Tavai, Ottawa Redblacks; Adrian Tracy, Hamilton Tiger-Cats; Tobi Antigha, Toronto Argonauts; Alex Bazzie, Edmonton Eskimos; Ivan McLennan, Calgary Stampeders; Gabe Knapton, Montreal Alouettes
1) Connor McGough, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
The former first-round pick lacks elite production — he has 47 tackles, two forced fumbles, and one sack in three seasons — but remains just 24 years of age.
2) Jamaal Westerman, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
The soon-to-be 35-year-old missed the entire 2019 season due to injury, but has played at an all-star level in the past.
3) Jesse Joseph, Edmonton Eskimos
A five-year veteran with seven sacks over the past two seasons.
4) Bo Banner, Montreal Alouettes
The 24-year-old is a solid contributor on special teams while also serving as a rotational pass rusher.
Best of the rest: Andrew Marshall, Edmonton Eskimos; Cam Walker, Free Agent; Edward Godin, B.C. Lions; Jordan Reaves, Saskatchewan Roughriders