CFL Pass

Canadian Content: Ranking the National free agents

TORONTO — As we near closer and closer to the opening of free agency on Feb. 11, CFL teams are slowly starting to run out of time when it comes to locking up their players before they can field offers from other organizations.

While every member of CFL.ca’s Top 30 free agents remains available, those who were born north of the border may carry extra significance on the open market this year.

In a free-agent class that has a number of intriguing Canadian names, CFL.ca breaks down the top 15 available.

RELATED
» View CFL.ca Free Agent Tracker
» CFL.ca’s Top 30 Pending Free Agents
» The Great Debate: Who is the No. 1 pending free agent?

1. Cameron Judge

LB | SSK

Judge was one of the key cogs on the Riders’ defence in 2019, finishing with career highs in tackles (61), sacks (5) and interceptions (2). He had a pick-6 that sealed Saskatchewan’s first West Division crown since 2009. The 25-year-old was the West Division nominee for Most Oustanding Canadian this past year and could be either a crucial re-sign for the Green and White or a major addition for another team in free agency.

2. Sean McEwen

OL | TOR

The 26-year-old native of Calgary, AB., has been a staple on the Toronto offensive line since he entered the league back in 2016. He hasn’t missed a game in his four-year CFL career and provides a strong, athletic option in the trenches.

3. Lewis Ward

K | OTT

The 2018 CFL Most Outstanding Canadian improved on an already impressive rookie campaign by setting a record for consecutive field goals made with 69 — that carried over from 2018. Ward got more chances to kick from long distance, and while his conversion rate went down as a result, he’s still unquestionably the best kicker available.

4. Cleyon Laing

DL | TOR

Despite Laing missing three games due to injury during 2019, he managed to finish the year with 27 tackles and seven sacks — just one short of tying his career-high. Over his seven years in the CFL, the 29-year-old has proven his ability to get through offensive lines to disrupt the quarterback.

5. Juwan Brescacin 

WR | CGY

Brescacin had a very strong start to the year, finishing with 60-plus yards and at least a touchdown in two of his first three games. However, he suffered an injury that ended his season following Week 7. The Mississauga, Ont., native has become a dependable pass-catcher in the league and would be a welcomed addition to any receiving room.

6. Chris Ackie

LB | MTL

Ackie missed time during the 2019 season due to injury, however, he was still a contributor once he was out on the field with the Als. Finishing with 38 tackles and a pair of special teams tackles on the year. The Laurier product is a big body who can fly to the football.

7. Jamal Campbell

OL | TOR

The 22nd overall pick in the 2016 CFL Draft featured in all 18 games for the Argos this past season, holding down the edge for them. It’s the first time in his career that he’s played in every game. The Toronto, Ont., native stands at six-foot-six, 305 pounds and is a physical force at tackle.

8. Michael Couture

OL | WPG

Couture has been a constant on the offensive line for the Bombers during his first four seasons in the league. He’s never missed a game and was one of the individuals that helped the Blue and Gold finish first in the entire league in rushing yards per game (147.9).

9. David Beard 

OL | EDM

Beard has spent his entire five-year CFL career in Edmonton, playing in every game over the previous three years. The Eskimos finished first in the league in sacks allowed with just 25 on the entire year, and Beard helped anchor that offensive line from the centre spot.

10. Nick Shortill

LB | HAM

This past year was the best to date for Shortill. He got more opportunity due to injury and ran with the chance, collecting 25 defensive tackles and 11 special teams tackles along with a sack in 16 appearances with the Tabbies in 2019.

11. Jermaine Gabriel

DB | TOR

The veteran has spent all seven of his CFL seasons with his hometown Toronto Argonauts. He spent time mainly at safety this past year but also played WILL linebacker. He finished with 39 tackles and two sacks in 12 outings.

12. Arjen Colquhoun

DB | EDM

The 27-year-old featured in 10 games during the 2019 season — a career-high in the CFL — making 16 tackles while picking off one pass. Colquhoun was able to start in spots and contribute to a secondary that led the league in passing yards allowed per game (222.9).

13. Dariusz Bladek

OL | SSK

The 25-year-old dealt with injury troubles during the 2019 season, but he’s shown promise during the time that he has gotten into games with Saskatchewan over his time with them. Bladek could serve as a dynamite backup option on the Riders if he chooses to re-up with them, however, he could also land as a starter with another organization.

14. Jacob Ruby

OL | EDM

Alongside Beard, Ruby has been a constant at guard for the Esks. He played in 17 games this past season and was able to help open up running gaps for C.J. Gable and Shaq Cooper on the left while protecting the blind side of Trevor Harris.

15. Hunter Steward

OL | BC

Steward featured on a BC offensive line that finished last in the league in sacks, allowing 58 over the entire year. Despite that, he and the unit as a whole showed improvement as the season went on. The 28-year-old has played both guard and centre in the past. That versatility is something that teams won’t overlook.

The Rest

While the list of top Canadians in free agency stops at 15, that is far from the amount of options teams will have to choose from.

Let’s take a look at some other names that will be available in under a month.

RECEIVER

Felix Faubert-Lussier (MTL)

Nate Behar (OTT)

Jacob Scarfone (OTT)

Llevi Noel (TOR)

Jimmy Ralph (TOR)

Brian Jones (HAM)

Anthony Coombs (HAM)

Mike Jones (HAM)

Albert Awachie (SSK)

Denzel Radford (SSK)

Cory Watson (SSK)

Austen Hartley (CGY)

Anthony Parker (BC)

Rashaun Simonise (BC)

RUNNING BACK, FULLBACK

Ryder Stone (MTL)

Calvin McCarty (EDM)

James Tuck (EDM)

OFFENSIVE LINE

Sean Jamieson (MTL)

Jamal Campbell (TOR)

Mike Filer (HAM)

Michael Couture (WPG)

Dariusz Bladek (SSK)

Philip Blake (SSK)

Jeremy Zver (SSK)

David Beard (EDM)

Jacob Ruby (EDM)

Josiah St. John (EDM)

David Foucault (BC)

Jean-Simon Roy (BC)

Hunter Steward (BC)

DEFENSIVE LINE

Bo Banner (MTL)

Woody Baron (MTL)

Fabion Foote (MTL)

Ettore Lattanzio (OTT)

Connor McGough (HAM)

Jamaal Westerman (HAM)

Jake Thomas (WPG)

Ese Mrabure (CGY)

Junior Turner (CGY)

Jabar Westerman (CGY)

Mark Mackie (EDM)

Andrew Marshall (EDM)

Jesse Joseph (EDM)

Edward Godin (BC)

Junior Luke (BC)

David Menard (BC)

LINEBACKERS

Paul Kozachuk (MTL)

DJ Lalama (MTL)

Frederic Plesius (MTL)

Justin Herdman-Reed (TOR)

Nicholas Shortill (HAM)

Thomas Miles (WPG)

Brandyn Bartlett (SSK)

Alexandre Gagne (SSK)

Sam Hurl (SSK)

Christophe Mulumba-Tshimanga (EDM)

Cory Greenwood (CGY)

Frederic Chagnon (BC)

Khadim Mbaye (BC)

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Chris Ackie (MTL)

Dominique Termansen (MTL)

Jay Langa (HAM)

Derek Jones (WPG)

Adam Berger (CGY)

Jordan Reaves (SSK)

Courtney Stephen (CGY)

Arjen Colquhoun (EDM)

Jordan Hoover (EDM)

Anthony Thompson (BC)

Josh Woodman (BC)

Jean-Philippe Bolduc (OTT)

Kevin Francis (OTT)

Jermaine Gabriel (TOR)

Jeff Hecht (WPG)

SPECIAL TEAMS

Martin Bedard (MTL)

Zackary Medeiros (TOR)

Ronnie Pfeffer (TOR)

Jon Ryan (SSK)

Josh Bartel (BC)

QUARTERBACKS

Brandon Bridge (BC)

Source: www.cfl.ca




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