2021 CFL free agent rankings: defensive backs

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

CFL free agency is just two days away, which means it’s almost time to wrap up our positional rankings.

Today we’re looking at defensive backs, including strong-side linebackers, cornerbacks, halfbacks, and safeties. It’s not the deepest group, but there is still some elite talent that is set to become available.

Check back tomorrow for our free agent specialist rankings, followed by our top 25 on Tuesday.


1) Patrick Levels, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The 26-year-old is an elite strong-side linebacker who is also capable of starting at halfback or cornerback.

He was an East Division all-star in 2019 with Montreal, recording 86 tackles, five sacks, and two forced fumbles. Levels’ combination of athleticism, physicality, and versatility make him one of the league’s best defensive backs.

2) Ciante Evans, Montreal Alouettes

The 28-year-old made 125 total tackles, nine interception, and three forced fumbles over 45 games with the Calgary Stampeders and was named a CFL all-star in 2017 and 2018.

His production remained high in 2019 with Montreal, making 29 tackles and three interceptions in 13 games. If teams are looking for a talented cover man at cornerback or halfback, Evans is the perfect fit.

3) Don Unamba, Ottawa Redblacks

He’s almost 32, but the six-year CFL veteran remains one of the league’s best strong-side linebackers.

With 228 career total tackles, eleven sacks, eight forced fumbles, and six interceptions, Unamba has the perfect combination of size, physicality, and cover skills to be a force on any team’s front-seven.

4) Otha Foster, Saskatchewan Roughriders

The 32-year-old has suited up since the 2018 season as a member of the B.C. Lions, but remains an effective strong-side linebacker.

With 242 career tackles, nine sacks, five forced fumbles, and three interceptions, Foster should still be an impact player if called upon.

5) Rico Murray, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The seven-year veteran will turn 34 midway through the 2021 season, but may still have some gas in the tank.

Capable of playing strong-side linebacker, halfback or cornerback, the three-time East Division all-star brings leadership, versatility, and experience.

6) Lorenzo Jerome, Calgary Stampeders

The 26-year-old appeared in seven games with the Stamps in 2019, making 17 total tackles and one interception.

He opted out of his contract for 2020 awaiting an NFL opportunity, though he remained a free agent.

7) Keon Lyn, B.C. Lions

The Syracuse product has bounced around the CFL with Winnipeg, Hamilton, B.C., and Edmonton, dressing for a handful of games.

8) Deandre Farris, Free Agent

The 24-year-old had one interception in 2019 with Ottawa but has since been released.


1) Taylor Loffler, Montreal Alouettes

The 28-year-old Kelowna native is an impact player at safety when healthy, though he’s coming off a torn ACL.

A three-time CFL all-star, Loffler has recorded 212 career tackles with nine interceptions, eight forced fumbles, and one sack.

2) Godfrey Onyeka, Edmonton Football Team

The former second-round pick is capable of starting at safety and field-side cornerback, which adds value for a Canadian player.

The Wilfrid Laurier product has dressed for 27 games over two seasons in Edmonton, making 18 total tackles.

3) Kerfalla-Emmanuel Exumé, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The seventh-round pick had a spectacular rookie season with the Bombers in 2019, making 25 special teams tackles.

4) Jordan Beaulieu, Edmonton Football Team

The 27-year-old was a third-round pick in 2018 and has since dressed for 30 games, making 12 total tackles.

5) Denzel Radford, Toronto Argonauts

The converted receiver had 24 special teams tackles as a rookie in 2017 but has dressed for just seven games since.

Click the link below for our previous positional installment and come back tomorrow for our defensive back rankings.

2021 CFL free agent rankings: quarterbacks
2021 CFL free agent rankings: running backs & fullbacks
2021 CFL free agent rankings: receivers
2021 CFL free agent rankings: offensive linemen
2021 CFL free agent rankings: defensive linemen
2021 CFL free agent rankings: linebackers