The Canadian Draft is one of the most important dates on the CFL calendar. Teams attempt to select the best players available but they also have to consider adding depth to the positions where they start a Canadian player.
It’s not a coincidence that the Alouettes used two early draft picks on receivers in 2022. This year, the Alouettes will probably change their Canadian ratio on offence. In 2021, the Als used four Canadians along the offensive line and one at receiver. This year they’ll go with two Canucks in their receiving corps. Hergy Mayala and Kaion Julien-Grant are the favourites to start going into training camp. However, Ente Eguayoen, Mathieu Robitaille and the two other players drafted last week could compete for those roles.
Last week’s trade with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers allowed the Alouettes to obtain a second pick in the first round. With the ninth overall selection, the Als took Tyson Philpot from the University of Calgary.
Philpot accumulated 41 receptions for 746 yards and nine touchdowns in only six games with the Dinos last season. In 16 games during his university career, he caught 77 balls for 1,674 yards and 14 touchdowns.
GM Danny Maciocia saw Philpot up-close during the 2019 Vanier Cup game, as the receiver helped the Dinos beat the Carabins, 24-17, in Quebec.
Philpot got to spend his university days with his twin brother, Jalen, but the two will be separated to start their pro careers. Jalen was taken fifth overall by the Calgary Stampeders. It’s difficult to tell the brothers apart both on and off the field, but there are differences in the way that they play.
“We both play with a downhill mentality,” Tyson told MontrealAlouettes.com. “We never get tackled by the first guy. We’re big, physical receivers that can create yards after the catch. We’re pretty quick. I’m a vertical threat. Jalen runs short and intermediate routes and racks up the tough yards. (The fans) can expect me to be a playmaker that isn’t brought down by the first tackler and I will come ready to work every day.”
On top of experiencing this journey with his brother, Philpot leaned on his dad, Cory, who played with the B.C. Lions and Winnipeg Blue Bombers from 1993-2000. Cory, who was named a CFL All-Star in 1995 and who won a Grey Cup in 1994, was teammates with current Als head coach, Khari Jones, in Winnipeg.
“I think they spoke (last Thursday),” Philpot said of the conversation his dad and Jones had. “Khari called me on draft night and told me that he played with my dad, that he’s excited to have me, and that he knows I’m a hard worker. I told him I’m ready to come in, i’m ready to work, and I’m ready to exceed all of their expectations.
“My father taught us how to work from a young age. He told us that if we really want something we have to work hard for it and that we have to keep working. No matter how far your talent takes you, you always have to work hard. He was as excited as we were about getting drafted. He nudged me when Montreal selected me and told me that that’s where he wanted to play and that he was jealous (laughs). He told me that he’s going to make a few trips to watch me play.”
In the third round, the Als selected Laval receiver Vincent Forbes-Mombleau. Being drafted by Montreal was a dream come true for the Quebec native.
Forbes-Mombleau started playing football when he was five or six years old, and that’s around the time where he attended an Alouettes youth camp.
“I was probably five or six years old when I went to that camp,” he said. “I recently found a picture of (Als assistant coach) André Bolduc and I. His son, Thomas, and I are currently roommates in Quebec City. It was pretty funny. I showed Thomas the picture and we sent it to his dad. We had a good laugh.”
Technically, Forbes-Mombleau has two years of eligibility remaining at Laval, but he’s hoping to stick with the Als as soon as this season.