CFL free agent rankings: linebackers
What’s a great defence without a great linebacking corps? Be it stopping the run, rushing the passer or dropping back into coverage, these guys do it all.
There’s a reason why linebackers were recognized as the CFL’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player eight times in the past decade. They eat up statistics and make big plays, serving as a bridge between the defensive line and the secondary.
1) Larry Dean, Edmonton Eskimos
The East Division’s former Most Outstanding Defensive Player had a solid first season in Edmonton, recording 86 tackles and one sack in 18 starts.
2) Solomon Elimimian, Saskatchewan Roughriders
The league’s former Most Outstanding Player has a great bounce-back season in Riderville, making 88 tackles, four sacks, and one forced fumble. His age (33) will limit his value on the open market, however.
3) Justin Tuggle, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
The converted defensive lineman put up an impressive 80 tackles, one sack, and one interceptions in 2019 at middle linebacker in the Hammer.
4) Maleki Harris, B.C. Lions
The 27-year-old is coming off a quietly productive season in Vancouver during which he made 67 tackles and one interception despite starting just seven games.
5) Jovan Santos-Knox, Edmonton Eskimos
The 25-year-old is a huge contributor when healthy, but his lingering foot injury has some teams concerned.
6) Micah Awe, Toronto Argonuats
One of the league’s hardest hitters is coming off a 44-tackle season with the Boatmen during which he also added a sack, interception, and forced fumble.
7) Kevin Brown II, Ottawa Redblacks
The Cincinnati product recorded 55 total tackles, one interception, and one forced fumble in ten starts at weak-side linebacker in 2019.
Best of the rest: Eric Striker, Toronto Argonauts; DyShawn Davis, Saskatchewan Roughriders; Glenn Love, Montreal Alouettes; Marcus Ball, Calgary Stampeders; Korey Jones, Winnipeg Blue Bombers; Ian Wild, Toronto Argonauts
1) Chris Ackie, Montreal Alouettes
The athletic 28-year-old made ten starts at weak-side linebacker in 2019, recording 38 defensive tackles.
2) Nick Shortill, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
An underrated veteran who made 36 total tackles and one sack in 16 games with the Ticats in 2019. Shortill is considered a starting-calibre player at weak-side linebacker.
3) Alexandre Gagne, Saskatchewan Roughriders
The third-year man made 19 special teams tackles in 2019 — almost as many as the 23 he put up the year before.
4) Cory Greenwood, Calgary Stampeders
The Kingston native was excellent in 13 starts last season in Cowtown, but he’ll be 35 by the time the season kicks off in June.
5) Christophe Mulumba-Tshimanga, Edmonton Eskimos
The Maine product put up only ten special teams tackles in 2019 but has proven he can be a capable contributor on defence in the past.
6) Justin Herdman-Reed, Toronto Argonauts
The 25-year-old started six games in 2019, recording 42 total tackles, two sacks, and two forced fumbles.
7) Thomas Miles, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
The local product dressed for all 18 regular season games with the Blue Bombers, making twelve total tackles.
Best of the rest: Paul Kozachuk, Montreal Alouettes; Frederic Chagnon, B.C. Lions; Nicolas Boulay, Free Agent; Frederic Plesius, Montreal Alouettes; Brandyn Bartlett, Saskatchewan Roughriders; Terrell Davis, B.C. Lions