After Montreal quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. shared his ranking of the best CFL defensive ends, former Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman Derek Dennis decided to give everyone a tackle’s perspective.
Dennis shared his personal scouting report on the top seven defensive ends with 3DownNation and we are excited to pass on the detailed insight of one of the best blockers in the league over the last five years. His assessments are built from years of pre-game film work and opponent scouting, providing a fascinating insight for fans into the way players evaluate their opposition.
Here is Dennis’ ranking and assessments, edited only for grammar and clarity:
- Charleston Hughes: Best overall rush arsenal in terms of moves and very savvy. The most knowledgeable end in the league.
- Shawn Lemon: Underrated pass rusher who gets a bad rep for “supposed” inability to play the run, but statistically plays the run as good as Jefferson. His pure rushing ability and arsenal of moves is impressive and second to only Hughes.
- Willie Jefferson: One of the best athletes at the position and that’s where his game dominance comes from. A converted wide out with his long frame and arms, he’s the only end that can bat down passes and intercept them. His two rush moves work effectively against sloppy technique and leaners, but his exposed chest and wide arms make him an easy target for patient punchers who locate. If he can’t win on his first move, he will shut down his rush and jump to divert low passes.
- Ja’Gared Davis: Another great athlete with a high motor and speed to chase down plays. His above average ability to play low and bend the corner is something a lot of linemen have trouble facing, but he doesn’t have pass rush moves to combat different styles of offensive linemen. Plays with low hands so his chest is always exposed and he’s predictable. If he’s going against a LT, he’s a stutter outside chop/spin guy. If he’s going against a RT, he’s a stutter inside chop/swim. That’s it.
- John Bowman: Savvy veteran who can read linemen and schemes just as good as Hughes. A power rusher who utilizes his long arms to create push and separation. He takes advantage of mental errors and sloppy OL play, which is why he’s been doing it well for so long. Injuries have slowed him a bit, but his motor runs hot and he still plays the game with passion and fire.
- Cordarro Law: Another savvy veteran who’s injury history has slowed him a bit, but when healthy he can flat out get after the QB and play the run well. He has the third best pass rush package to me and can win from either side of the field in a variety of ways.
- A.C Leonard: Another converted WR who has the best speed off the edge rush of all DEs. He might be the best athlete at the position in the entire league, with a high motor and above average mobility, but his pass rush is still very raw. He needs to have more pass rush plans and not rely solely on being a better athlete than the offensive lineman across from him.