CFL Week 4 Defensive Line Rankings: Argonauts hold steady at No. 1

2KG07P8 November 20, 2022, Regina, SK, Canada: Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Zach Collaros (8) throws the ball while under pressure from Toronto Argonauts defensive lineman Robbie Smith (40) during second half action at the 109th Grey Cup at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. (Credit Image: © Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via ZUMA Press)

• Sayles and Mason star: The Tiger-Cats' Casey Sayles and Trevon Mason finished Week 4 with position-leading PFF grades.

• Ottawa continues to drop: It was another average week for the Redblacks, and their opening game performance looks increasingly like an outlier.

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Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

1. Toronto Argonauts (No Change)

Base Defensive Set: Even Front

Field EDGE: Robbie Smith
Field DI: Jake Ceresna
Boundary DI: Jared Brinkman
Boundary EDGE: Derek Parish

• This unit performed well last week, earning a 72.1 overall grade, a 79.5 run-defense grade and a 66.8 pass-rush grade.

• Robbie Smith earned a 70.0 pass-rush grade with three quarterback hits, three quarterback hurries, a 12.5% pressure rate and a 15.9% win rate.

• Robbie Smith and Jake Ceresna were solid in the run game. Both earned run-defense grades above 72.0 — Smith (78.2) and Ceresna (72.6) — with a combined three defensive stops and no negatively graded plays.

2. Montreal Alouettes (No Change)

Base Defensive Set: Odd Front

Field EDGE: Shawn Lemon
NT: Mustafa Johnson
Boundary EDGE: Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund

• Montreal didn't play as poorly as last week, with the unit earning a 66.8 overall grade, a 70.6 run-defense grade and a 60.8 pass-rush grade.

• Mustafa Johnson was once again the Alouettes' top defensive lineman. This week, Johnson made his presence known in the run game, earning a 73.7 run-defense grade with a tackle for loss and no negatively graded plays.

3. Saskatchewan Roughriders (No Change)

Base Defensive Set: Even Front

Field EDGE: Bryan Cox Jr.
Field DI: Anthony Lanier II
Boundary DI: Micah Johnson
Boundary EDGE: Malik Carney

• No change for the Roughriders this week, as they were on bye.

4. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (No Change)

Base Defensive Set: Even Front

Field EDGE: Nick Usher
Field DI: Casey Sayles
Boundary DI: Trevon Mason
Boundary EDGE: Brandon Barlow

• The two interior players, Sayles (80.2) and Mason (78.8) were stellar this week, each grading above 78.0.

• Backup Kobe Jones was the most productive edge rusher for the Tiger-Cats, as he earned a 75.9 overall grade and a 72.3 pass-rush grade. He could push Nick Usher for more playing time going forward, as Usher struggled to a 55.9 overall grade and a 53.4 pass-rush grade.

5. Calgary Stampeders (Up 2)

Base Defensive Set: Even Front

Field EDGE: James Vaughters
Field DI: Mike Rose
Boundary DI: Josiah Coatney
Boundary EDGE: Julian Howsare

• Calgary is the top riser in this week's rankings due largely to their two edge defenders' performance in the run game. Vaughters (79.0) and Howsare (75.9) were two of the four-highest-graded run-defending defensive linemen in week 4, with four combined defensive stops and no negatively graded plays.

• Last week brought the first interception of the year from a defensive lineman. Backup edge defender Clarence Hicks dropped into coverage across the middle and scrapped across to jump in front of a pass.

6. Ottawa Redblacks (Down 1)

Base Defensive Set: Even Front

Field EDGE: Bryce Carter
Field DI: Cleyon Laing
Boundary DI: Michael Wakefield
Boundary EDGE: Lorenzo Mauldin IV

• The Ottawa defensive line failed to make much of an impact this week. This unit earned a 62.0 overall grade, a 62.5 run-defense grade and a 61.7 pass-rush grade.

• To further nail home the point above, no player earned a grade above 68.0 in any category this week.

7. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Up 1)

Base Defensive Set: Odd Front

Field EDGE: Owen Hubert
NT: Jake Thomas
Boundary EDGE: Willie Jefferson

• Winnipeg beat its season-best performance from last week, setting a new season-high unit overall grade this week. This unit earned a 74.2 overall grade, a 76.0 run-defense grade and a 66.1 pass-rush grade.

• Rotational defensive interior lineman Jamal Woods was the top-graded run-defender in the CFL last week and the only defensive lineman with a run-defense grade above 80.0 (815). He recorded a tackle for loss, no negatively graded plays and was positively graded on 33.3% of his snaps.

8. Brtish Columbia Lions (Down 2)

Base Defensive Set: Even Front

Field EDGE: Pete Robertson
Field DI: Christian Covington
Boundary DI: Josh Banks
Boundary EDGE: Sione Teuhema

• Three out of the four starters had a negative impact on the game: Robertson (59.3), Covington (58.2) and Teuhema (56.2) all graded below 60.0.

• Interior defender Tibo Debaillie (88.0), edge defender Siddiq (76.7) and interior defender Marcus Moore (75.6) all posted excellent overall grades in limited roles and could look to push the starters as the season progresses.

9. Edmonton Elks (No Change)

Base Defensive Set: Odd Front

Field ED: Elliott Brown
NT: Robert Nkemdiche
Boundary EDGE: Noah Curtis

• The Elks defensive line as a unit ranked seventh in overall grade (63.4), run-defense grade (67.7) and pass-rush grade (61.6).

• On the season, the Elks defensive line ranks last in overall defensive grade (62.1), last in run-defense grade (60.8) and second-last in pass-rush grade (64.0).


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