Traditionally CFL teams don't start many Canadians on defence. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats were a bit of an anomaly this year, regularly starting three and occasionally four in 2014. If you don't start, you can't be amongst the top tacklers in the CFL.
So I decided to look at the top five non-import tacklers to try and figure out who the most valuable non-import defenders are in the CFL. Tackles aren't necessarily the best way to evaluate a player, but there is some valuable information there.
The player with the most tackles in the CFL in 2014 was BC's Solomon Elimimian with a massive 143 tackles, considerably more than Bear Woods of the Alouettes who was second with 89. That's obviously unusual.
The non-import with the most tackles in 2014 was the Argos' linebacker Shea Emry with 72 tackles (and a sack). That's good for 11th overall. Emry had 87 tackles in 2012 with the Alouettes.
Second was defensive back Antoine Pruneau from the REDBLACKS with 69 tackles, good enough for 13th overall. Pruneau was a rookie out of UQAM that I honestly didn't know much about, probably because I never paid much attention to Ottawa this season apart from how Burris was doing.
Third was former Ticat Matt Bucknor, who now plays for Winnipeg, a defensive back with 62 tackles, good enough for 23th overall with several players.
Fourth was another Winnipeg Blue Bomber, safety Teague Sherman, with 55 tackles, good enough for 31st overall.
Fifth was defensive end Ricky Foley from the Saskatchewan Rough Riders with 54 tackles, tied for 32nd overall with several players. Foley also had 12 sacks, which was close to the league leaders and I think the most for a Canadian in 2014.