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2022 Hamilton Tiger-Cats Deep Dive Series Part 3: Defensive Breakdown by Position Group

As the Tiger-Cats prepare to visit the Saskatchewan Roughrider for their first game of the 2022 CFL regular season. We are taking a deep look at the key players that will lead Hamilton throughout the 2022 season. Today we will be examining Tiger-Cats defence which is expected to be the strongest unit for the 2022 Tiger-Cats. Let’s get started with the deep dive.

Defensive Line

The Tiger-Cats defensive line is widely viewed as one of the top position groups in the CFL. Julian Howsware and Micah Johnson are being viewed as excellent pass rushers, and it is expected that this pair of defensive ends will have a breakout season. Defensive tackles Dylan Wynn and Mason Bennett are expected to solidify the interior portion of the defensive line. Both Wynn and Bennett are athletic and will draw significant attention from the offensive lines that they will face in this 2022 season. Early in the 2022 season, it is expected that head coach Orlondo Steinauer and defensive coordinator Mark Washington will rotate several defensive linemen throughout games early in the 2022 season. Malik Carnes and Lee Autry are among the group of defensive lineman that will need to be contributors on the defensive line.


Middle linebacker Simoni Lawrence is viewed as the top defensive player in the CFL. This resulted in Lawrence being named the Defensive MOP in 2021. Simoni brings a diverse skill set that allows him to potentially be a big-time playmaker against the run and pass game of the Tiger-Cats 2022 opponents. Joining Lawrence in the unit, Kameron Kelly is expected to be the Strongside linebacker and Jovan Santos-Knox could potentially be the Weakside linebacker. Similar to the defensive line, the linebacking unit has excellent depth and most likely several other linebackers will be rotating regularly during the 2022 CFL regular season. Grant McDonald and Patrick Nelson are expected to compete for significant playing time for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 2022 defence.

Defensive Backs

The Tiger-Cats defensive backfield is expected to be the top defensive backfield in the CFL. Hamilton’s group of defensive backs are loaded with talent, and also have excellent depth. The leader of the Tiger-Cats defensive backfield is Canadian Tunde Adeleke and he is expected to be a candidate to be the 2022 MOP of the CFL. Adeleke is an outstanding safety, he has the instincts and athleticism to be a consistent difference-maker in the CFL. Jumal Rolle is a physical cornerback that can play man to man against the best receivers in the league. Ciante Evans is a veteran cornerback that has the experience and ability to play several positions and become a significant playmaker in any role that the Tiger-Cats assign to Evans.

Cariel Brooks is expected to have a successful 2022 season defensively, but it has been announced this week that Brooks will miss game 1 vs. the Roughriders due to an injury. This allows free-agent Alden Darby to step in and immediately play an active role for the Tiger-Cats defense. Darby brings a wealth of CFL experience, and he has a reputation for being a ball hawk. Stavros Katsantonis is a Canadian that has shown potential to become a great playmaker, in 2022 he is expected to fill in as needed. CFL Rookie Lawrence Woods drew attention last week in the preseason game vs. the Argonauts with a punt return for a touchdown. Woods has experience with the New Orleans Saints and the Tiger-Cats will expect him to contribute defensively in 2022.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats defence is expected to be the strongest unit and the foundation of the team for the 2022 season. It will be exciting to see how these talented defenders can work together to form one of the best defensive units in the CFL. The level of success that the Tiger-Cats achieve in 2022 will be determined by this defensive unit, especially as the re-built Tiger-Cats offence works to synchronize early in the season.

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Aaron Sauter Reporter
Aaron Sauter is a 23-veteran high school football coach that is also an fan of all levels of football. He is especially interested in alternative football leagues like the CFL, UFL, and IFL. Aaron enjoys analyzing innovative schemes on offense and defense during his free time.
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