3DownNation top 100 CFL players: No. 52 SAM Kenny Ladler, Free Agent

Screenshot courtesy: Edmonton Football Team

A good strong-side linebacker is worth his weight in gold.

The native of Stone Mountain, Ga. appeared in 50 games at Vanderbilt University, recording 291 total tackles, 11 tackles for loss, nine interceptions, nine knockdowns, five forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and one sack. He made history as a senior, setting a school record with a Southeastern Conference-leading five forced fumbles.

Ladler ran a 4.70 forty-yard dash at the 2014 NFL Combine, which hurt his draft stock. He had the long frame, cover skills, and physicality that teams covet at safety, but speed is king in the NFL.

Screenshot courtesy: Edmonton Football Team

The six-foot-one, 210-pounder signed with the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent and made the team’s practice roster after training camp. He dressed for two games as a rookie, making four total tackles before being released in September of the following year.

Ladler signed with the Edmonton Football Team prior to the 2016 season and dressed for 17 regular season games. He recorded 72 total tackles, two interceptions, and one forced fumble in his first CFL season, establishing himself at strong-side linebacker.

His best season came in 2017 when he was named a CFL all-star after making 99 total tackles, three interceptions, and two forced fumbles. That caught the attention of NFL scouts, which led to the Washington Football Team signing the 28-year-old to a contract.

Ladler appeared in five games with the team in 2018, making six total tackles. Waived in November, he was claimed by the New York Giants and dressed for three games, making three tackles and one quarterback hit.

After returning to Washington for one game in 2019, Ladler was released in February 2020 and signed back in the CFL. He followed Ed Hervey, his general manager from Edmonton, to the B.C. Lions where he signed a one-year deal. It was a perfect fit considering the Lions’ strong-side linebacker from the last CFK season, Chris Edwards, had recently departed for the San Francisco 49ers.

B.C. Lions veteran LB/DB Kenny Ladler opts out to pursue NFL opportunities

Ladler opted out of the contract following the cancellation of the 2020 CFL season, but he remains one of the league’s best defensive playmakers. Still in the prime of his career, he will be a highly-coveted free agent come 2021.

3DownNation is unveiling its list of the top 100 active CFL players, a project that will run through December 31, 2020. To read the criteria for player eligibility, click here. The list to date can be found below.

53. DE Jackson Jeffcoat, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
54. SAM Dexter McCoil, Free Agent
55. OL Sean McEwen, Calgary Stampeders
56. REC Eugene Lewis, Montreal Alouettes
57. DB Greg Reid, Montreal Alouettes
58. DL Mike Moore, Edmonton Football Team
59. OL Ryker Mathews, B.C. Lions
60. DB Tunde Adeleke, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
61. LB Jameer Thurman, Free Agent
62. QB Matt Nichols, Toronto Argonauts
63. DB Jamar Wall, Calgary Stampeders
64. DB Loucheiz Purifoy, Saskatchewan Roughriders
65. REC Lemar Durant, B.C. Lions
66. OL Brendon LaBatte, Saskatchewan Roughriders
67. OL SirVincent Rogers, Edmonton Football Team
68. QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Free Agent
69. DB/RET Frankie Williams, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
70. DB T.J. Lee, B.C. Lions
71. QB Zach Collaros, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
72. SAM Anthony Cioffi, Free Agent
73. DB Shaquille Richardson, Toronto Argonauts
74. REC Kamar Jorden, Calgary Stampeders
75. OL Darius Ciraco, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
76. REC Jalen Saunders, Free Agent
77. QB Dane Evans, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
78. REC Brad Sinopoli, Ottawa Redblacks
79. RET Janarion Grant, Free Agent
80. DE Avery Ellis, Ottawa Redblacks
81. DE Cordarro Law, Calgary Stampeders
82. DB Brandon Alexander, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
83. OL Jermarcus Hardrick, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
84. DB Branden Dozier, Free Agent
85. SAM Otha Foster, Saskatchewan Roughriders
86. DB Antoine Pruneau, Ottawa Redblacks
87. RB John White, B.C. Lions
88. LB Avery Williams, Ottawa Redblacks
89. LB Jovan Santos-Knox, Free Agent
90. DB Richard Leonard, Calgary Stampeders
91. REC Armanti Edwards, Edmonton Football Team
92. RB C.J. Gable, Free Agent
93. DT Mike Rose, Calgary Stampeders
94. REC S.J. Green, Free Agent
95. DB Mike Edem, Saskatchewan Roughriders
96. DE John Bowman, Montreal Alouettes
97. DB Taylor Loffler, Montreal Alouettes
98. QB Nick Arbuckle, Ottawa Redblacks
99. ST Mike Miller, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
100. DE Chris Casher, B.C. Lions

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.