25 Canadian players to know on NFL rosters this season

Photo: AP/Jae C. Hong

The NFL season is set to get underway on Thursday night when the Buffalo Bills visit the Los Angeles Rams at 8:20 p.m. EDT.

There are 25 Canadian players currently on active and practice rosters around the NFL along with a handful of others who are likely to be signed at some point in the season. If you’re looking to following Canadians players closely this NFL season, bookmark this page to keep it handy as a reference.

Players are listed alphabetically by last name.

DB Tevaughn Campbell, Los Angeles Chargers

The Regina product and native of Scarborough, Ont. started a career-high seven games in 2021, recording 40 total tackles, four knockdowns, two fumble recoveries, and one fumble recovery that he returned for a touchdown. He is currently listed on injured reserve due to a knee injury.

REC Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers

The former second-round pick’s production declined slightly in 2021 but he still managed to record 59 receptions for 860 yards and two touchdowns. Claypool’s numbers are expected to improve this year following the free agent departure of JuJu Smith-Schuster, though he’ll have to develop quick chemistry with new starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky.

Photo: AP/Daniel Kucin Jr.

DL Neville Gallimore, Dallas Cowboys

The former third-round pick missed most of last season due to a dislocated elbow but still managed to record 13 tackles, three tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks over five regular season games. He is currently listed as a starter at defensive tackle on the team’s depth chart.

REC N’Keal Harry, Chicago Bears

The Toronto native has been given a fresh start after he was traded to the Bears in July, though it’ll be a while before he sees the field. Harry is currently on injured reserve due to a high ankle sprain he suffered at the start of training camp that is expected to keep him out for another few weeks.

DL Michael Hoecht, Los Angeles Rams

The native of Oakville, Ont. is entering his third season with the Rams and is currently listed as the primary backup behind future first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Aaron Donald. He made seven tackles over 17 games last season in a depth role, helping the Rams capture Super Bowl LVI over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Photo: AP/Doug Murray

DB Jevon Holland, Miami Dolphins

The former second-round pick had an excellent rookie year in 2021, recording 69 total tackles, three tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, ten knockdowns, two interceptions, and three fumble recoveries. He came close to being named to the Pro Bowl last season, so don’t be surprised if it happens this year.

RB Chuba Hubbard, Carolina Panthers

The former Heisman Trophy candidate started ten games as a rookie last year in place of an injured Christian McCaffrey, rushing for 612 yards and five touchdowns. If McCaffrey’s injury history is any indication, it seems reasonable to assume that Hubbard will get a decent amount of playing time again this season.

OL Alaric “AJ” Jackson, Los Angeles Rams

A native of Windsor who later spent his high school days across the river in Detroit, Jackson made the Rams as an undrafted free agent last season and dressed in four games, helping the team win Super Bowl LVI. He is currently the team’s backup right tackle behind Joe Noteboom.

DB Deane Leonard, Los Angeles Chargers

The Calgary native was a seventh-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft out of Ole Miss and made L.A.’s 53-man roster in training camp. He is currently listed as a third-string cornerback behind Asante Samuel Jr. and a third-string safety behind two-time Pro Bowl selection Derwin James.

REC John Metchie III, Houston Texans (non-football illness)

The Alabama product was a second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft despite being only partway through his recovery from a torn ACL. He is currently on Houston’s non-football illness reserve list as he was recently diagnosed with leukemia and isn’t expected to play this season.

OL Carter O’Donnell, Indianapolis Colts

The University of Alberta product went unselected in the 2020 NFL Draft and has spent the past two years on the team’s practice roster. He was moved to the team’s injured reserve list in August after suffering a season-ending injury during training camp.

Photo: AP/Derick Hingle

LB Amen Ogbongbemiga, Los Angeles Chargers

The Oklahoma State product went unselected in the 2021 NFL Draft but made the active roster with L.A. and recorded 26 total tackles, two tackles for loss, and one sack over 17 games with two starts. He is currently listed as a third-string middle linebacker behind two-time Super Bowl champion Kyle Van Noy.

DL David Onyemata, New Orleans Saints

The University of Manitoba product made 34 total tackles, two tackles for loss, two sacks, and one fumble recovery over 11 games with the Saints last year. He is expected to be a full-time starter for the fourth consecutive season and will play a large role in a talented New Orleans defence.

REC Josh Palmer, Los Angeles Chargers

The Brampton native was a third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft out of Tennessee and had a solid rookie campaign, making 33 catches for 353 yards and four touchdowns. His production should only improve as burgeoning superstar quarterback Justin Herbert continues to improve.

QB Brett Rypien, Denver Broncos

The nephew of Calgary native and former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien has dressed for four career games and completed 64.3 percent of his passes for 295 yards, two touchdowns, and four interceptions. He is currently listed as the team’s third-string quarterback behind nine-time Pro Bowl selection Russell Wilson and journeyman Josh Johnson.

DL Nathan Shepherd, New York Jets

The Ajax, Ont. native is coming off his fourth season with the Jets in which he recorded 28 total tackles over 17 games. He is currently listed as the primary backup to Stanford product Solomon Thomas, who was the third overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Photo: AP/Bart Young

LB Alex Singleton, Denver Broncos

The former Calgary Stampeder is coming off a strong season with the Philadelphia Eagles during which he made a career-high 137 total tackles, four tackles for loss, four knockdowns, one interception, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. He is expected to play a rotational role on defence while contributing heavily on special teams.

DB Benjamin St-Juste, Washington Commanders

The Montreal native was a third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and played nine games as a rookie with three starts, recording 26 total tackles, one tackle for loss, and three knockdowns. He is currently listed as a starter at cornerback on Washington’s depth chart.

DL Brett Urban, Baltimore Ravens

The Mississauga native has played 76 career games with the Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Tennessee Titans, and Dallas Cowboys, recording 107 total tackles, ten tackles for loss, nine knockdowns, and six sacks. He is currently listed as the primary backup behind six-time Pro Bowl selection Calais Campbell.

DL Luiji Vilain, Minnesota Vikings

The Toronto native went unselected in the 2022 NFL Draft but got $227,000 in guaranteed money to sign with the Vikings and made the team as an undrafted free agent. He is currently listed as a third-string defensive end behind two-time Pro Bowl selection Danielle Hunter.

The following Canadian players are currently on NFL practice rosters.

DL Christian Covington, Los Angeles Chargers
OL Drew Desjarlais, New Orleans Saints
TE Nikola Kalinic, Indianapolis Colts
DL Jonathan Kongbo, Denver Broncos
LB Jesse Luketa, Arizona Cardinals
OL Dakoda Shepley, Dallas Cowboys

The following Canadian players were in NFL training camps but are currently free agents.

DL Eli Ankou (injured)
TE Antony Auclair (injured)
OL Sage Doxtater (injured)
K Lirim Hajrullahu
OL Ryan Hunter
TE Rysen John
P Jake Julien

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.