1-800-dial-a-sack: Ticats need veteran pass rusher Shawn Lemon to replace Ja’Gared Davis

Photo courtesy: Bob Butrym

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have a glaring need at defensive end with Ja’Gared Davis all but signing on the dotted line with the rival Toronto Argonauts.

Enter: Shawn Lemon.

He’s by far the most proven pass rusher available and fits the Ticats in many ways.

The 33-year-old would mesh with the culture head coach Orlondo Steinauer wants within his team. That’s an aspect Steinauer believes leads to winning and Lemon has proven to be an excellent teammate in recent years, providing leadership when needed and endearing himself to those around him.

The six-foot-one, 249-pound sack master has experience in Mark Washington’s defensive scheme and he’s been coached by defensive line coach Randy Melvin. His knowledge of the defence should allow him to be instantly productive. He played 13 games and recorded 10 sacks during the 2018 season when Washington and Lemon were together with the B.C. Lions.

That was the first year of back-to-back in-season trades by Ed Hervey to bring Lemon to the west coast. Hervey was hired by Steinauer in December as Hamilton’s assistant general manager and director of player personnel. During those combined stints, Lemon suited up in 23 games and notched 18 quarterback takedowns along with three forced fumbles.

Lemon has lined up alongside disruptive defensive tackles Dylan Wynn and Micah Johnson in the past. He won a Grey Cup with both men, hoisting the CFL championship in 2014 and 2017, respectively. It would take no time at all for him to develop chemistry and anticipation needed to gain an advantage against opposing offensive lines.

Photo courtesy: Bob Butrym

If you look at the numbers, Lemon has the second most amount of sacks in the CFL over the last five seasons with only Charleston Hughes totalling a higher tally. He has eight more sacks than Davis and put up two more than the Argos prized free agent signing last season.

Top five sack totals in the past five seasons:

Charleston Hughes — 60 in 75 games
Shawn Lemon — 50 in 71 games
Ja’Gared Davis — 42 in 75 games
Willie Jefferson — 40 in 73 games
Almondo Sewell — 38 in 85 games

Following the 2021 season, Lemon ranks among the top-25 most prolific sack artists in CFL history. He’s played 118 career games and posted 78 sacks, averaging 0.66 per outing. The three-down league’s career sack record is held by Grover Covington with 157. The only active player with more than Lemon is Hughes with 132 in 190 games.

Lemon shares a record with legendary Tiger-Cats defensive end Joe Montford. Both men registered eight forced fumbles in a single season during their respective careers, the highest total in league history.

The Ticats need the ability to wreak havoc on the opposing quarterback and get sacks, it’s as easy as calling 1-800-Lemon.