With equal talent, Danny Maciocia and the Alouettes will always pick players from Quebec – and we saw that again on Tuesday night. But according to those familiar with the prospects available in the 2022 CFL Draft, Tyrell Richards was in a league of his own at the top of the auction.
Updated May 3rd
That’s a view shared by Maciocia, who singled out Richards Tuesday night with the first-ever roster in the CFL’s annual draft. The Alouettes had announced earlier in the day that they had been given this pick by the Edmonton Elks in exchange for their own first round pick (4and in total) and rights to offensive lineman Carter O’Donnell, who spent the past two seasons on the Indianapolis Colts reserve team. The Alouettes chose O’Donnell in the third round two years ago.
Richards is a player who stands out for his great versatility, he can develop in different positions in defense, while being an ace in special teams.
“He can play on defense or as a linebacker, and he’s a player who covers a lot of ground. He will push himself physically. He dominated special teams at Syracuse University and dominated the evaluation camp in Toronto, where he was by far the best player. He will have an impact on our team from 2022,” said Maciocia.
As soon as he boarded the plane that brought him back from Toronto after national evaluation camp, the GM of the Alouettes began to figure out ways to get first pick of the design, and thus Richards.
“I’ve been working on this for almost two months and in the last 48 hours we’ve finally come to an agreement. There was a moment when I felt like it wasn’t going to happen. But we kept talking to Edmonton and we got on well. †
“I had the impression that the Alouettes were interested in me at the evaluation camp, but I had no idea that it would end like this. I’m very happy with the outcome and looking forward to getting started,” said Richards, an Ottawa native and raised in Brampton, Ont.
The team made a deal to get me, which makes it even more special. It is now up to me to return the favor.
“My dream was to play professional football, so being the first pick in the draft I think is the best feeling I’ve had in my life.”
A year without playing
In his final season with Syracuse University Orange, in 2020, Richards was named the team’s MVP in special teams. Like the vast majority of Canadian players, it is also within the special teams that Richards will have to distinguish himself first.
“I want to be a part of each of our special teams groups. I will play the part we want to give me in defense. †
The 23-year-old opened up about his decision to leave Syracuse University after his third season in 2020, but wouldn’t go into too much detail.
“There were a number of things going on in my personal life and in Syracuse, so I felt it was in my best interest to leave. I don’t think not playing last season will affect my game. I think I showed during the evaluation camp in Toronto that there was no rust.”
Three Quebecers in a row
Danny Maciocia made another big deal when he acquired the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ first pick, the ninth and final pick in the opening round, in the days leading up to the draft. The Bombers got defensive lineman Cam Lawson and 13and picks overall, while the Birds all 9 . receivedand and 18and selections.
With the 9and choice, the Als drafted recipient Tyson Philpot of the University of Calgary. at 18andMaciocia selected offensive lineman Rodeem Brown of the University of Alberta.
The Alouettes then fielded Quebecers with their next three picks. Recipient Vincent Forbes-Mombeau, a product of the Université Laval Rouge et Or, begins his professional career in Montreal after completing the 24and selected hope.
After choosing Forbes-Mombeau in the third round, the Alouettes chose Tysen-Otis Copeland as their defensive defender at age 33.and rank, then the attacking half Ryth-Jean Giraud at 42and rank. Both players played at the Université de Montréal Carabins and are therefore well known for the football activities of Maciocia and the Alouettes.
Four other players from Quebec were drafted in the first three rounds. The Elks used the fourth pick of the first round, given to them by the Alouettes, to select defending defender Enock Makonzo (Coastal Carolina University). Recipient Samuel Emilus (Louisiana Tech) was then the seventh draft prospect and is now a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Offensive linemen Cyrille Hogan-Saindon (Laval) and Joshua Archibald (McGill) were selected by the Ottawa Red and Black respectively in the 11and rank and by the BC Lions at 23and rank.
The overall design
It was also the Alouettes who kicked off the general design on Tuesday afternoon, they had first choice. They selected Nigerian defensive side Kingsley Jonathan with this roster.
Like Tyrell Richards, Jonathan played his college football at Syracuse University Orange. He recently signed a free agent contract with the Buffalo Bills, with whom he will try his luck in the NFL.
Along with their two other overall draft picks, the Alouettes selected Dutch tight end Thomas Odukoya (Eastern Washington University) and Australian kicker Kirk Christodoulou (University of Pittsburgh).