Argos sign former Riders’ ratio-breaking Canadian linebacker Cameron Judge

The Toronto Argonauts have signed ratio-breaking Canadian linebacker Cameron Judge, per league sources.

It’s a one-year contract for Judge through the 2021 season. He became a CFL free agent on Tuesday, February 9, but wasn’t snapped up due to a scheduled NFL workout with the Las Vegas Raiders.

Judge was in Sin City on Thursday, February 11 and impressed Raiders football executives, including general manager Mike Mayock. He was a little light checking in at six-foot-two and 217 pounds. If he can produce at a high level, pending the CFL playing football this year, another NFL shot should come his way.

The 26-year-old recorded a career-high 61 tackles, 11 special teams stops, five sacks, two interceptions, and one forced fumble in 2019 with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He was named the West Division’s Most Outstanding Canadian for his efforts with the Green and White.

In December 2019, Judge worked out for the Los Angeles Chargers and did the same for the Jacksonville Jaguars the following January. He was not offered a contract by either team and chose to return to Saskatchewan on a one-year deal for 2020. When the CFL season was cancelled, he opted out of his contract to pursue NFL opportunities.

Judge showed he could lay the gavel down in 2018 when he made 41 tackles, two sacks and forced one fumble in 18 games. He turned the promise shown as a prospect when Saskatchewan selected Judge in the first round, second overall during the 2017 CFL draft into production.

Judge has developed into a ratio-changing defender, looking every bit the player scouts envisioned while watching him in the NCAA at University of California, Los Angeles with the Bruins. He played in 47 games for UCLA, recording 46 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, two passes defended, one forced fumble and one interception while serving as a special teams captain.

At UCLA’s pro day, Judge measured six-foot-one and weighed 220 pounds, running a 4.50 40-yard dash, 6.69 three-cone, while recording a 10-foot, one-inch broad jump, 36.5-inch vertical leap and 19 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. He has a complete package of speed, agility, explosiveness, power, and playmaking ability.

Judge earned an increased role with the Bruins each passing season at UCLA, starting games at linebacker in his junior and senior seasons and being named the weight room captain, too. The Houston Texans invited Judge to rookie mini-camp in May 2017, but he did not receive a contract offer.

In the CFL, Judge is a rare defender who can play any linebacker position, weak-side, middle or strong-side. His versatility is why defensive guru Chris Jones fell in love with Judge during the evaluation process.

During the 2019 season, Judge was a major factor as the Riders allowed the least amount of points (386) in the ultra-competitive West Division. Judge has the ability to raise the level of a defence all by himself because offences never know where he’s going to line-up on the field.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.