TORONTO — Jonathan Rose is on his way to being one of the best defensive backs in the Canadian Football League.
The Ottawa REDBLACKS’ corner had a career year in 2018, forcing four fumbles and intercepting five passes along with a touchdown. Now, at just 25 years old, he’s got a chance to hit the open market on Feb. 12 as one of the league’s most coveted free agents.
“His anticipation and aggressive style is what sets him apart,” said CFL.ca’s Marshall Ferguson. “For such a long defender he has a great first step once the ball is out that many young DBs should aspire to.”
While Rose passes the eye test, the numbers back up his ability as a boundary corner in the CFL. In three seasons with the REDBLACKS, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound defender has racked up 153 tackles, eight interceptions and six forced fumbles. Rose won a Grey Cup with Ottawa in 2016 and returned to the big game in 2018, intercepting Bo Levi Mitchell in a losing effort.
Last season, Rose played a starring role on a revamped REDBLACKS defence run by Noel Thorpe. With a more aggressive attack, the third-year defensive back was responsible for five of the team’s 16 interceptions on the season. As a whole, Ottawa forced 41 turnovers, tied for third in the CFL, while boasting a turnover ratio of plus-nine.
One of the most coveted defensive backs going into free agency, Rose won’t come cheap. While the REDBLACKS’ addition of Chris Randle might just rule out a return to the nation’s capital, teams across the league will have an interest in a young corner who continues to trend upward.
In the pass-oriented league that is the CFL, proven defensive backs are a hot commodity, which Rose will certainly be should he remain unsigned at noon on Feb. 12.
Get all the top stories from across the league delivered to your inbox.