Edmonton Elks focus on versatility on CFL draft night

The Edmonton Elks draft room led by head coach and general manager Chris Jones right before the start of the first round of the CFL Drart on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. Morley Scott/630 CHED

Edmonton Elks head coach and general manager Chris Jones had 10 selections in the 2022 CFL Draft which began Tuesday evening.

The club’s first pick came in the first round at fourth overall when it selected Coastal Carolina defensive back-linebacker Enock Makonzo.

In the 2021 season, Makonzo recorded 71 total tackles and three forced fumbles in 13 games, earning a 2021 All-Sun Belt honourable mention.

Jones said Makonzo offers the versatility he is looking for in a defensive player.

“He can play safety, he can play SAM (strong-side) linebacker, and he can play WILL (weak-side) linebacker,” Jones said.

“He can play on three or four special teams, so he should be an extremely productive football player for us.”

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With the eighth overall pick, the Elks selected dynamic Waterloo quarterback Tre Ford. He played six games in 2021, recording 1,465 yards throwing for 10 touchdowns while adding 667 rushing yards and three touchdowns. He was named the Hec Crighton award winner in 2021 which is given to the most outstanding player in Canadian university football.

Ford didn’t perform in the 40-yard dash during the CFL combine, opting for his 4.4-second time in the 40 during his pro day at the University of Buffalo.

Jones said, like Makonzo, he sees plenty of versatility with Ford.

“He’s used to having the ball in his hands and he’s good once he gets out in space,” Jones said. “Ford is a tremendous competitor and you can tell he felt he should have went first overall.

“That’s what you want… a guy who is competitive.”

With a new rule in 2022 allowing two quarterbacks on the field at the same time, Jones said he sees Ford as a perfect fit for taking advantage of that rule.

“If you look at high school football in the (United) States, the best player on the team is often going to be the tailback or the quarterback,” he said. “Guys like that are used to having the ball in their hands.

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“The rule now, which allows you to have more than one quarterback on the field, allows you to be more creative at times.”

Ford is the first Canadian quarterback to be selected in the first round of the CFL Draft since 1980.

In the second round (19th) overall, the Elks went down the QE2 and selected University of Calgary Dinos defensive lineman Jacob Plamondon who qualified for the CFL National combine through the Western regional in Edmonton back in March.

The Elks owned two picks in the third round. With the 21st overall selection, the team picked Fresno State offensive lineman Marc-David Bien-Aimé who is noted as a strong run blocker. He’s coming off a knee injury which has bothered him since the start of the pandemic and is fully healthy now. With their second pick of the third round (28th overall), the Elks picked Queen’s long-snapper Peter Adjey.

Here are the rest of the Elks draft selections:

Fourth round (30th overall): University of Manitoba receiver Gavin Cobb who enjoyed a strong combine performance in March.

Fifth round (39th overall): Tuskegee linebacker Wesly Appolon who recorded 61 defensive tackles, one sack and two pass knockdowns in 11 games played in 2021.

Sixth round (48th overall): Charleston defensive back Jeremie Dominique who recorded 40 tackles, six tackles for a loss, two sacks and three pass knockdowns in 2021 earning second-team all-conference honours.

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Seventh round (57th overall): Ottawa running back Jean-Paul Chikimanda.

Eighth round (66th overall): McMaster linebacker/defensive lineman Nate Edwards who was ranked as the 18th best prospect in the 2022 CFL scouting bureau’s winter rankings.

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