The Edmonton Eskimos are tied at 17 sacks with Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Calgary Stampeders for the Sacks lead in the CFL after week 7. Of course, both the Stampeders and Eskies have a game in hand over the Bombers. Meaning that both the Esks and Stamps are on a phenomenal pace and one that has the potential to have the Esks over 60 sacks.
In 2017, the Esks managed 44 sacks. A decent number, but certainly not CFL leading. In 2016, it was only 33 sacks and in 2015 it was 49 sacks. For the Eskies to break 50 sacks and be at the top of the defensive line food chain would prove this defence has turned the corner as an elite defence. It would also make the Eskimos a Grey Cup contender.
Kwaku Boateng leads the Esks with 5 sacks in 4 games and that puts him on track to be right around 20 sacks for the year. Not bad for a second-year player. Gerald Rivers should chip in with 4 or 5 sacks from the rush end. That's 24 from the rush end position.
Almondo Sewell is getting double teamed often and as such is more a space eater than an effective pass rusher. Not that this is a problem, but it does mean 6 sacks from the NT position.
Jake Ceresna has looked good in the middle taking over for Da' Quan Bowers and should grow into 8 sacks for the year while platooning with rookie Mark Mackie in support. Mackie had his first CFL sack against the Toronto Argos, but Mike Moore, who had a sack in his first game as a starting DT, is due back in Week 9. Moore could also chip in 4-5 sacks giving 12 sacks to the position.
Alex Bazzie is off to a slow start in replacing Odell Willis with only 1 sack in 6 games. Neither Nick Usher nor Darius Allen has proven effective, but yet as Ceresna and Moore go so will Bazzie. It doesn't take a football genius to understand the interior of the line pushes the QB or RB outside as the pocket collapses right into the waiting Bazzie. Fully expect 8 from the edge.
That means the line itself is on track to deliver on 50 sacks, now add in linebackers J.C. Sherritt who is on track for 3 sacks along with the combination of Christophe Mulumba and Adam Konar for another 6 sacks. That's 59 before the DB's like Josh Woodman and Nick Taylor who have chipped in each with a sack.
The story that the numbers tell is one of pressuring the QB while sitting back in a hybrid cover 2 or 3 zone then jumping the route. We saw this on the Aaron Grymes interception against the Montreal Alouettes. The Esks are now tied for second in interceptions with 7 and that has everything to do with the QB pressure.
Can the young rising star Boateng lead the Esks sack attack to be the best in the CFL and cause turnovers as a result? Time will tell, but it looks promising so far.