5 CFL players in the NFL for the 2022 Season

With the ink drying on a new collective bargaining agreement, the CFL season is set to kick off on June 9th. The 2022 NFL season will begin a couple of months after that in September.

Historically, the leagues have had a lot of overlap, with many players having started out in the CFL before finding a home with a team in the National Football League. Some notable players that have made the transition include Joe Horn, Cameron Wake, Joe Theismann, and even Hall of Fame Quarterback Warren Moon.

This offseason, some CFL stars joined NFL teams on future/reserves contracts, including Brayden Lenius (Atlanta Falcons), Jamal Davis (Los Angeles Chargers), Drew Desjarlais (New England Patriots), and Nikola Kalinic (Indianapolis Colts).

There are a handful of Canadian Football League alums currently thriving in the NFL, so it will be interesting if the new guys can latch on and become regular contributors as well. Here are the top 5 former CFL players in the NFL for the 2022 season.

1. Erik Harris, S, Atlanta Falcons

A scrappy, jack-of-all-trades player, Erik Harris worked his way up from nothing to a starting spot in the NFL. After going undrafted in 2013, the Pennsylvania native signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

After 3 seasons there, where he played linebacker and halfback, he moved on to the NFL where he converted to the free safety position. Slowly, but surely, he got himself into a starting spot with the Raiders.

In 2022, Harris is set to enter his second year with the Atlanta Falcons where he started 12 games last season, scoring a 59.7 grade from Pro Football Focus.

2. Alex Singleton, LB, Denver Broncos

Alex Singleton has had one of the most interesting rises in recent NFL history. After coming out of Montana State, the linebacker was cut by three separate teams in 2015. SIngleton responded to this by packing his bags and coming up north.

Singleton flourished with the Calgary Stampeders winning a Grey Cup and the Most Outstanding Defensive Player award in 2017. In 2019 he got another crack in the States and made the most of it. Singleton came out of nowhere to become one of the most reliable players on the Eagles’ defense, even totaling 137 tackles in 2021.

He was rewarded in free agency, signing a contract with the Denver Broncos, joining forces with newly-acquired QB Russel Wilson on an improved squad that many sports betting apps have as having solid odds to win the Super Bowl next season.

3. Tevaughn Campbell, CB, Los Angeles Chargers

Hailing from Scarborough, Ontario, Tevaughn Campbell worked his way up in Canada. He attended the University of Regina in Saskatchewan and then spent several years in the CFL. After stints with the Stampeders, Roughriders, and Alouettes, Campbell made his way to the NFL in 2019.

After serving on the Practice Squads of the Jets and then Chargers for a full season, Campbell finally got to make his mark in 2020. For the past two seasons, Campbell has been a reliable depth player for the Bolts, starting 11 games over the past two seasons.

4. Greg Van Roten, G, Free Agent

After trying and failing to catch on with the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, Greg Van Roten spent his 2015 and 16 seasons suiting up for the Toronto Argonauts. In 2017 he made his way back to the big leagues when he was signed by the Carolina Panthers.

In 2018, Van Roten finally got the chance to contribute regularly in the NFL, starting all 16 of Carolina’s games that season. With the Panthers and then the Jets, Van Roten has started 40 out of a possible 47 games since the 2018 season, proving that he can be a regular contributor.

Van Roten was benched last season and cut by the Jets earlier this month, but is expected to sign on with another team as a starter, or possibly even re-join the Jets.

5. Brandon Zylstra, WR, Carolina Panthers

A 2017 CFL All-Star, Brandon Zylstra lit up the league during his two-year stint in Edmonton. With 134 receptions, 2,195 yards, and 8 touchdowns, it was no surprise when the NFL came knocking for the University of Arizona receiver.

After a one-year stop with the Minnesota Vikings, Zylstra caught on with the Carolina Panthers. He has played there for the past three seasons, primarily on special teams, while occasionally contributing offensively.

Photo:Joe Calomeni, Pexel