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April 28, 2024

What Als have done early in CFL Drafts under Danny Maciocia

June 2, 2023 Pascal Ratthe-/Alouettes-Montreal

On Tuesday, April 30th, the Montreal Alouettes will be selecting last (9th) in the first round because they won the Grey Cup last season.

This will be Danny Maciocia’s fifth draft since taking over as general manager of the Alouettes in 2020. Despite not having their top pick in 2020 and 2021, the Alouettes have found a way to make it work.

A big reason they were able to win the Grey Cup in 2023 is because of the Canadian depth they built. That includes players like receiver Kaion Julien-Grant and running back Jeshrun Antwi, who were drafted in 2019, but we’ll focus on the work Maciocia and his staff have done since his arrival.

As general manager, Maciocia has a big say in what transpires in the moments leading up to the draft, but there are others in the front office who contribute as well. Prior to being named assistant general manager earlier this year, Pier-Yves Lavergne was the director of national scouting. The Draft was – and still is – his big project. Director of player personnel Byron Archambault, senior director football operations Eric Deslauriers and senior personnel executive Jean-Marc Edme have also had a hand in the Als draft success.

So, let’s analyze what the Als have done with their first picks since 2020.

2020:

The Alouettes had no first-round selection in 2020, but they made two picks in the second round. 14th overall, they took Marc-Antoine Dequoy, who has quickly become the best safety in the CFL. Not only was he named a CFL All-Star in 2023, but he also had the game-changing interception for a touchdown in the East Final against the Toronto Argonauts, which flipped the game on its head. It’s hard to argue that this pick wasn’t a home run.

With the 16th overall pick, the Als selected defensive tackle Cameron Lawson, who was traded to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in a trade that saw the Alouettes land another first round pick in 2022. That selection turned out to be receiver Tyson Philpot. Because Lawson is still a good player and that they were able to turn him into Philpot, that pick is also a success.

2021:

Just like in 2020, the Alouettes had no first-round pick in 2021. And again, they made it work. With the first pick of the second round, the Als selected University of Montreal offensive lineman Pier-Olivier Lestage.

After a stint with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, Lestage arrived in Montreal in 2022, and he immediately became a starter at guard for the Als. He has quickly emerged as one of the best players at his position in the entire league.

2022:

Not only did the Alouettes have a first-round pick in 2022, but they also had two! Maciocia traded up to from four to one to select Syracuse linebacker Tyrell Richards. The 25-year-old has missed time due to injury, but his upside is undeniable. He’s turned into an impact player on special teams, and he could become a star on defence as soon as this season.

With their second first-rounder, the Als chose Tyson Philpot ninth overall. On top of catching the game-winning pass in the Grey Cup game, he also has shown big-play ability time and time again. If the draft had to be done over again, he would go much higher.

2023:

For the second year in a row, the Als had two selections in the first round. They managed to acquire a second first-rounder from the B.C. Lions for quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. With their own pick, they selected linebacker Jonathan Sutherland, who spent the entire season with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks.

With their second selection, they took Lwal Uguak, who became a starting defensive end for the Alouettes in the second half of the season. Uguak was so good that he ended up signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason.