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February 12, 2020

Wednesday Watch: CFL.ca’s Top 20 still on the board

Patrick Doyle/CFL.ca

TORONTO — The first wave of free agents has passed after a flurry of activity on Tuesday and Wednesday morning, but several big names remain.

A handful top receivers remain on the board led by Derel Walker, while interior defensive lineman Micah Johnson would be an upgrade for any team in the CFL.

CFL.ca lists the top 10 remaining free agents:

NOTE: This list includes only players that became free agents at Noon on Feb. 11th.  It does not include previously released players (ie. DeVier Posey, Ryan bomben, etc.).  It also does not include reported signings (ie. Chris Ackie, Arjen Colqhuon, etc.).


 

1. DEREL WALKER

Even with a quarterback carousel in Toronto, Derel Walker continued to prove why he’s one of the best in the business. The receiver hauled in over 1,000 yards, the third time he’s done so in his career. The productivity is there and with a consistent hand at quarterback, the sky is the limit for the 28-year-old.


2. DEREK DENNIS

After a year away from the Stamps in 2017, Dennis quickly returned to Calgary and has looked at home since. He’s started primarily at left tackle for the team for the last two seasons and was named a CFL West All-Star each year, winning a Grey Cup in 2018. Dennis may test his options, but Calgary has been a nearly perfect fit for him in the CFL.


3. CJ GABLE

C.J. Gable has been one of the best running backs in the league over the last few years, putting up back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons. Import tailbacks in their 30s aren’t often coveted but his ability to run and catch the ball as well as block sets the 32-year-old apart from the pack.

 


4. PATRICK LEVELS

At just 25-years-old, Levels became one of the defensive leaders for the Alouettes in 2019, finishing second on the team in tackles.  Levels is one of the best linebacking options still on the market, having locked down the SAM position for Montreal on their run to the 2019 playoffs.

EDIT: Patrick Levels has signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats


5. JONATHAN ROSE

Held to just three games in 2019, Jonathan Rose hasn’t gotten much press as a free agent this off-season. Still, the 26-year-old played an integral role in the REDBLACKS’ success from 2016 through 2018, and could easily return to elite status as a shutdown corner.


6. ‘MONEY’ HUNTER

In his second season in the CFL, Hunter showed out in all facets, finishing the year with 59 tackles, two special teams tackles, one sack and two interceptions.

At just 24 years old, the Arkansas State product is one of the most intriguing names still available on Day 2.

EDIT: ‘Money’ Hunter has signed with the Montreal Alouettes


7. MICAH AWE

In parts of three seasons, Micah Awe has earned a reputation as one of the CFL’s hardest hitting linebackers. The 26-year-old recorded 44 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble in 10 games last season and would be an impactful addition to almost any front seven.


8. DRAKE NEVIS

Nevis flew under the radar on the same defensive line that featured Willie Jefferson. The 30-year-old had 24 tackles and three sacks while playing in all 18 games for the Bombers in 2019.

The LSU product is a handful on the interior and would boost the talent of any team he goes to.


9. NAAMAN ROOSEVELT

With 946 yards on a career-high 112 targets, Naaman Roosevelt enjoyed a resurgent season for the Riders in 2019. The 32-year-old may no longer be viewed as a No. 1 option, but could still threaten 1,000 yards. A change of scenery might be just what he needs.


10. ARMANTI EDWARDS

A reliable second or third option, Armanti Edwards has averaged 983 yards per season over the last three years. The former quarterback has a unique skill-set as a receiver and proved last year — his first career 1,000-yard season — that there’s plenty left in the tank.


11. SHAWN LEMON

Truly underrated as one of the league’s most dynamic pass rushers, Shawn Lemon has 42 sacks to his name over the last four seasons. A Grey Cup Champion with the Argos in 2017, Lemon has one of the most valuable skills in football: the ability to get to the quarterback.


12. DOMINIQUE RHYMES

A forgotten name on a struggling football team, Dominique Rhymes quietly added a 1,000-yard season to his resume, accounting for nearly a quarter of Ottawa’s passing offence all season. At 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, Rhymes is an athletic receiver, and still just 26 years old.


13. LUKE TASKER

Held to just nine games in 2019, Luke Tasker had the worst season of his professional career, totaling 406 yards. The 29-year-old should still be an impact player, having logged three 1,000-yard seasons and 35 touchdowns in his seven-year career with the Ticats.

 


14. DAVON COLEMAN

Coleman was a part of a mid-season trade that saw him head to Toronto for Shawn Lemon.

He was still able to be consistent in 2019, racking up four sacks and 29 tackles in 14 games split between the Lions and Argos.

15. CORY GREENWOOD

Before getting injured in 2019, Greenwood was leading the league in tackles. He posted 79 tackles with two sacks, an interception and three forced fumbles.

The 34-year-old is a five-year CFL veteran who could help with the ratio, however, he’s had some trouble staying healthy.


16. ODELL WILLIS

The 35-year old has played has only missed two games over the past six seasons. Willis had 23 tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles while suiting up for all 18 games for the Leos.

The veteran defensive lineman can still bring a lot to the table on the field while providing veteran leadership in the locker room.


17. TOBI ANTIGHA

Antigha has had three straight productive seasons since entering the CFL. In 46 career games, the 26-year-old has 71 tackles, 11 special teams tackles, seven sacks and five interceptions.

He’s been able to prove his ability to get to the quarterback and all five of his picks have come in the last two years.


18. JOSH BARTEL

The 34-year-old has played in 117 career games, averaging 43.3 yards while netting 27,325 yards on 780 punts.

The native of Australia has proven to be one of the best punters in the league, and he should land somewhere soon with a few teams looking to fill a void.


19. RODNEY SMITH

In his second season with the Double Blue, the 29-year-old flourished, catching 51 balls for 646 yards and five touchdowns in 14 games.

Standing at 6-foot-5, 235 pounds, he presents a massive target for quarterbacks and had a couple of big outings in 2019.


20. TERRY WILLIAMS

Williams was used primarily as a returner for the Stamps in 2019, but he also started some games for Calgary, being used both as a rusher and pass-catcher on offence.