Alouettes and Elks team up to make noise at Canadian Football League Draft

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Together and separately, the Montreal Alouettes and the Edmonton Elks made the most noise in the first round of the Canadian Football League draft on Tuesday.

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Hours before the Alouettes selected Syracuse linebacker Tyrell Richards at No. 1, they secured that fourth-round pick from the Elks and the rights to offensive lineman Carter O’Donnell, who was a third-round pick in 2020, and is now with the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League.

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“We are extremely happy to have done (what is) necessary to be able to select Tyrell. When we saw him at the CFL evaluation camp, we knew immediately that we were going to try to get our hands on the first overall pick and make sure Tyler wears the Alouettes’ uniform,” said general manager Danny Maciocia.

The Elks then used the traded fourth pick to nab Coastal Carolina defensive back Enock Makonzo, and wrote themselves another title by using the eighth pick to pick Waterloo quarterback Tre Ford. He becomes the highest-drafted quarterback since Calgary won No. 7 Sheldon Paris in 1980. Ford won the Hec Crighton Award as the best U Sports player in 2021.

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The Alouettes then finished off the first-round fireworks by ensuring the Philpot twins were both out of the picture, selecting Tyson ninth overall. The Calgary Stampeders had previously used the fifth pick on his brother Jalen, who is seven minutes older, and now holds a four-pick advantage over his sibling. Both receivers played for the University of Calgary Dinosaurs. Their father is former CFL running back Cory Philpot, an outstanding offensive contributor who scored 22 touchdowns in 1995, so they have shoes to fill.

Richards, a 23-year-old from Brampton, Ont., is also feeling some pressure as the first player was drafted.

“I most definitely think so,” he told reporters on a post-draft Zoom call. “I was kind of not expecting the pressure, but I feel like I know how to handle myself in those situations, just keeping my head straight and not worrying about what anyone has to say and just making sure that I’m as ready as I can be so that I can go out there and perform well and that’s all there is to it.

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He is seen as a player capable of lining up on the edge of the defensive line, as a linebacker and as a defensive back.

“The preference right now is definitely linebacker, just because as a linebacker you kind of have to understand what’s going on everywhere,” he said. “And with that, it will also help me play in multiple positions within defense, so linebacker right now.

“I just want to come in and prove myself throughout camp and try to show the type of player I can be on the pitch. I hope I can come out and be a dominant force.

Earlier in the day, the Alouettes also made the first pick in the world draft, taking another Syracuse University player, defensive lineman Kingsley Jonathan, a native of Nigeria.

Other players selected in the first round of the College Draft were uOttawa offensive lineman Zack Pelehos (No. 2 in Ottawa), uSa defensive lineman Nathan Cherry (No. 3 in British Columbia), St. Francis Xavier offensive lineman Gregor MacKellar (No. 6 in Toronto) and Louisiana Tech wide receiver Samuel Emilus (No. 7 in Saskatchewan).

Neither Winnipeg nor Hamilton had a first-round pick. With the 13and choice, Winnipeg chose Tre Ford’s brother, Tyrell, a defensive back in Waterloo. A total of 74 players were to be selected in the eight-round draft.

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