Today’s positional preview looks inside of the trenches with the Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive line.
A key part for of the Saskatchewan’s strong start in 2022 was the early season success of Anthony Lanier II and Pete Robertson.
Whether it was coincidence or not, the Roughriders struggles followed after both players suffered significant injuries.
The defensive line was a priority in the off-season as the team retained Lanier and Robertson and added Micah Johnson and Stefen Banks in free agency.
Here’s a look at the defensive linemen on the Roughriders roster.
Anthony Lanier II
The Savannah, Georgia product started the 2022 season off with seven sacks in the Roughrider’s opening ten games before being sidelined with an injury. He returned for the season finale and recorded a sack against Calgary. Despite missing nearly half of the regular season, Lanier still garnered consideration for the team’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award.
Saskatchewan convinced Lanier to resist free agency by locking him up to a new deal in February.
The former Alabama A&M Bulldog is entering his third season with the green and white.
Just like Lanier, Robertson was swayed by Saskatchewan to the tune of a new contract this past winter. The 30-year-old also enjoyed an explosive start in 2022, recording seven sacks in the first four games in the season and forced five fumbles.
A broken foot injury suffered the Riders “eventful” victory against the Ottawa REDBLACKS knocked Robertson out for six weeks.
“Texas Pete” is entering his third season with Saskatchewan.
2023 will mark Johnson’s third stint in Saskatchewan (2019 & 2021) after the former Kentucky Wildcat agreed to a deal with Saskatchewan in February.
Last season in Hamilton, the 34-year-old has seven sacks. Entering his tenth season in the CFL, Johnson has 54 sacks throughout his career and will add another veteran presence inside of the Roughriders locker room.
Saskatchewan agreed to a deal with Banks in February after the 26-year-old spent two seasons in Calgary. The former Savannah State Tiger collected eight sacks in a rotational situation in Calgary and will now challenge for more playing time as a member of the green and white.
Since 2019, Dabire has played in 37 games with Saskatchewan including a 2022 season where established career highs in games played (15), tackles (10) and sacks (2).
The former Wagner Seahawk was a Saskatchewan’s fifth round selection in 2019.
The former Arizona Cardinal made his debut in for the Riders in their Week 5 win over Ottawa and would go on to end the season with a pair of sacks. Brown also had two fumble recoveries.
Along with the Cardinals, he spent time with Tennessee (2020) and Detroit (2021).
Christmas also made his debut in 2022, the former Florida State Seminole would go on to record a sack in 15 games.
He was a sixth-round selection of the Seattle Seahawks in 2019 and also spent time with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Kenney saw action in one game with Saskatchewan. The 28-year-old had a pair of tackles. He signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent in 2019 would go on to join Winnipeg later that season.
The local product is entering his second with the Roughriders after spending his initial campaign with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Last year, the former Huskie chipped in with a pair of special teams tackles.
The 24-year-old will get an extended look in Saskatchewan in training camp after he joined the team in September. He saw action in a pair of games at the end of the season.
Another free agent addition in September, the former Indiana Hoosier saw action in a pair of games and made a pair of tackles. He attended the Ottawa REDBLACKS training camp in 2022.
The first overall pick of the 2019 CFL European Draft, he has played 38 games over the last three seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and registered 11 special teams tackles during that run in Steeltown.
Over five years at the University of Idaho, the former Vandal recorded 147 total tackles, 48.5 tackles for loss, 20.5 sacks, 21 pass knockdowns, nine forced fumbles, and five fumble recoveries, one of which he returned for a touchdown.
Last season, the former Ball State Cardinal signed with the Chicago Bears as an undrafted and attended training camp with the team.
In 2022, Tyson spent time with the USFL’s Michigan Panthers and played in seven games and had 21 tackles including three tackles for losses.
Spent four seasons with Troy (2016-2019). In his final season he had six sacks in a 12-game span.