Draft Day. It’s a beautiful day. It’s a day like no other. It’s a day like a lot of days in your life where you achieve an accomplishment in life. You graduate from junior high and then move on to high school. After graduating from high school you move on to post-secondary education.
Once completing your post-secondary education, whether it is that of college or that of a university, you are part of another graduating class. Sometimes you will further your education and add to your resume to add to your success in life. Because after all, you only graduate once in life. And just like it was on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2023 for the 72 players selected in the course of 8 rounds, this was like a graduation to pro football.
Photo via Edmonton Elks
1st Round, 2nd Overall: Michael Brodrique, LB, University of Montreal, 6′-3″, 222 lbs.
The Quebec native has had a successful career playing for the Montreal Carabins. He has been a mainstay on the Carabins defence over the last 3 seasons. An All-Star selection in the RSEQ Conference in both 2021 and 2022 respectively. He would also achieve the same honours in 2021 in that of a Second Team All-Star selection nationally for USports.
In 22 career games at the University of Montreal, Michael Brodrique would accumulate 68.5 tackles (62 solo), 9.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries, and a lone interception.
For an Elks’ team that will try and beef up the defence, he will add a lot of value to the linebacking core. This will add more depth to help out Adam Konar, Enock Makonzo (2022 Draft Pick), and Woodly Appolon.
For Michael Brodrique, if his game does translate to the pro game, Edmonton fans will be in for a treat as he is a versatile player that covers key areas on the field when defending. He anticipates the play very well and has a keen eye for reading an offensive.
2nd Round, 18th Overall: Jake Taylor, LB, University of Alberta, (Territorial Pick), 6′-2″, 215 lbs.
The Edmonton Elks went local on this pick, and it addresses some of their needs that have been lacking in the past two seasons. No team had suffered the injury bug in the last two seasons more than the Edmonton Elks when it came to man games lost.
Last year alone was a big blow with Aaron Grymes who has been a staple for the Edmonton Defence. Aaron Grymes was all but lost for the entire 2022 season. However, Scott Hutter was thrown in the lion’s den and did a pretty good job. Add in the fact that the Elks were aggressive during the 2023 Free Agency in acquiring Loucheiz Purifoy, Jake Taylor will be an asset as he also has played in the secondary while playing for the Alberta Golden Bears.
Jake Taylor would compile 60 solo tackles in his three years at the University of Alberta. He was a player that got better while gaining more experience which helped out his status in the 2023 CFL Draft. A homegrown talent, and now playing for his home team. It’s everyone’s football dream.
Photo via Edmonton Elks
3rd Round, 20th Overall: Philip Grohovac, OL, University of Western Ontario, 6′-5″, 305 lbs.
It is without a doubt the most underrated position to play in pro football. But it’s also the most important position to play in pro football. No position takes more rigorous abuse than being an Offensive Lineman. Ask any Edmonton fan and they will tell you on the injury bug was more of a plague than bad luck during the 2022 season. It simply got to the point that were they even going to have enough players battling in the trenches at the rate of injuries that accumulated last season.
With that said, selecting Philip Grohovac is only going to make the Offensive Line better in the long run. The one thing going in Edmonton’s favour is that they are a very young team. He also comes from a program that was very run-heavy while playing for the Western Mustangs. He would suit up for 23 games and contribute to the Western Mustangs 2021 Vanier Cup Championship.
3rd Round, 23rd Overall: Luke Burton-Krahn, LS, University of British Columbia, 6′-1″, 206 lbs.
If Offensive Lineman gets no credit, then a Long Snapper gets no credit. Until you need one. But don’t let this pick fool you.
In selecting Luke Burton-Krahn, the Elks have double-dipped. He also plays on the Defensive Line in which he recorded 36 solo tackles, and 2 sacks throughout 4 seasons with 26 games played.
4th Round, 28th Overall: Noah Curtis, DL, Keiser University, 6′-6″, 302 lbs.
Noah Curtis could be a work in progress. He does come from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). It’s an NCAA II Conference. However, he did play for Florida International from 2017-2020 which did benefit him more in playing in the Conference USA.
He would contribute to Keiser University with 13 solo tackles, along with 4.5 sacks.
On size alone, you hope that this will translate into the pro game. If this is the case, he will be a big help on the Defensive Line in helping out Jake Ceresna, Mathew Thomas, AC Leonard, and Christian Rector.
5th Round, 38th Overall: Bertrand Terancy Beaulieu, University of Montreal, RB, 6′-2″, 229 lbs.
The Edmonton Elks looked to add more depth to the running game, so they looked to the University of Montreal once more to acquire talent. During the 2022 season, Bertrand Terancy Beaulieu would be a RESQ All-Star for his second season in a row. In 8 games played, he would grind it out for 464 rushing yards, and 2 touchdowns.
He could be a work in progress. He will also be beneficial in giving some rest when needed in between plays in the relief for Kevin Brown who will take most of the snaps this season.
However, that is not to say that for a player to obtain more playing time, he could also be pencilled in on Special Teams.
6th Round, 50th Overall: Spencer Masterson, University of Guelph, OL, 6′-6″, 295 lbs.
In general, the Offensive Line had a lot of issues in the last 2 seasons. More so in 2022. It was one thing regarding the injury bug, but it was another when the battle at the line of scrimmage was lost instantly at the snap of the ball.
During the first three-quarters of the season, the Elks were completely outmuscled. It was painful to see where the running game was non-existent and where holes were not able to be open.
It was not until the last 6 games of the schedule that things appears to get a little better. The Offensive Line gave more protection for Taylor Cornelius to make plays, and Kevin Brown was able to run the ball effectively.
At 6′-6″, and 295 lbs, Spencer Masterson can only add more depth for the Edmonton Elks going into the 2023 season.
7th Round, 56th Overall: Bruno Legace, University of Montreal, DB, 5′-11″, 199 lbs.
For a school in Quebec, the Edmonton Elks really like the roster from the University of Montreal making it the 3rd player taken by the Elks for the 2023 CFL Draft.
Aside from Laval University which has been a staple in the last 20 years in USports Football, the University of Montreal has produced some really good talent in the last 6 years. It’s only fitting that there have been quite a few players selected from this program.
Bruno Legace is another player that can help out the Edmonton Secondary. He was named to the USport 2nd Team All-Star in 2022. One of the biggest rivalries in the RSEQ Conference is the battle between the University of Laval and the Montreal Carabins. Playing them a lot of the regular season and playoffs, you have a player that has played in some big games that added to his development.
8th Round, 65th Overall: Derek Best, Langley Rams (CJFL) and University of Western Ontario, RB, 6′-1″, 200 lbs.
In Derek Best, you have a player that started in USports for the Western Mustangs. He did play his last 2 seasons with the Langley Rams in the Canadian Junior Football League. Just like the NHL Draft in the later rounds, it’s somewhat common to select players playing in Junior A. The CJFL equivalent is still a competitive league for players not playing at a Junior College or University level.
Derek Best will be a long shot to make the Elks starting lineup. However, he will benefit from going through a season and gaining valuable experience in learning the process of what it’s like to be in the CFL.
And just like that, the Elks build their roster for the 2023 CFL Season. What is great about this time of the year is the Edmonton Elks were aggressive during Free Agency to plug in the talent needed to make this team more competitive.
And that they did.
Sometimes a team takes a beating for a season or two in a row before you see the light at the end of the tunnel. With a young roster that obtained valuable experience last season, this is only the beginning of what the future might bring on any gameday for the Edmonton Elks. Keeping key pieces. Adding more via Free Agency. And adding more from the last two CFL Drafts. Maybe this is the year when the Edmonton Elks officially turn a corner.
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