The Montreal Alouettes have decided to trade away wide receiver Mario Alford. Alford will head to Saskatchewan, just after these two teams played each other a second time in as many weeks. It is always interesting to see trades such as these.
Super Mario No Longer More Than Worthy of a Roster Spot
Mario Alford is a desirable player, for a team lacking a threat in the return game. At 30 years old, the 5’9 182 lb wide-out hasn’t made many waves on offense, which is likely why the Alouettes decided to move on.
In last week’s victory, Chandler Worthy was able to return a kick for a touchdown. This was two touchdowns in his last two games as the primary return man. This essentially made Alford a luxury the Alouettes simply no longer needed.
With back-to-back games of over 180 yards in the return game and 1 touchdown in each, it’s safe to say Chandler has proven himself Worthy of the roster spot the Alouettes gave him just two days after being released by Toronto without ever playing a regular-season game for them.
Saskatchewan Special Teams
The Saskatchewan Roughriders, have a lot left to be desired from their special teams unit. Jamal Morrow has been the primary return man to this point. With 15 punt return attempts, he has averaged 8.6 yards per return, while he has just over 21 yards per kick return on 11 attempts.
The Roughriders have attempted to plug in just one other player in either role, and that is rookie Samuel Emilus. Emilus took 4 punt returns for 41 yards averaging just over 10 yards per punt return. Granted a team will take 8 to 10 yards per punt return all day, they simply can’t settle for 21 yards per kick return if they expect to win the field position battle every week.
Roughriders Hoping Mario Brings Explosive Plays
The Roughriders have been able to find 3 victories in 4 weeks so seeing them add any talent at all after this stretch should be a scary proposition for their rivals. Alford may not be expected to see much time on offense but his value on special teams is enough for the team to take the chance at the cost of a 2023 6th-round pick.
In his last two seasons in Montreal, Alford played in 8 games. During that time he racked up 26 punt returns and averaged a mind-boggling 18.7 yards per punt he returned adding 3 touchdowns. As if that wasn’t good enough to ship out that 6th rounder, he adds value as a kick returner as well, albeit the explosiveness has not been on display in this facet yet.
He has had a career average of 20 yards per kick return. In his four CFL seasons, he has 32 returns for 647 yards and a long of 32 yards. They call him Super Mario for a reason, and it isn’t his love for the classic Nintendo game.
Alford Brings the Speed
Super Mario as he is known in the CFL, put up impressive numbers at the NFL combine in 2014. The West Virginia graduate completed the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds, with a peak of 18.47 mph. This was highlighted by a 1.64 10-yard split, and a 2.64 20-yard split. Showing he has a solid get-off, if not spectacular.
His agility also shined through in workouts. He ran the three-cone drill in 6.64 seconds. To put that into perspective, he falls somewhere between Tyreek Hill (6.53) and Devin Hester (6.78) in this drill. Two of the best return men in recent memory in the NFL. This drill highlights a change of direction, which is exactly why Alford is being added by the Roughriders.
Improvement Over Incumbent
Jamal Morrow is a 5’9 209 lb running back built very similarly to Darius Victor of the USFL, who is regarded as more of a power back. This would be a solid representation of what Morrow brings to the table. He isn’t regarded as a home run threat on every play, and his 40-yard dash time established that before he played a down professionally. Running a 4.58 he is far from the fastest skill player on any field.
With that being said, Alford not only offers an elite-level change of direction, but he also offers much better top-end speed than the bigger Morrow. While the Roughriders definitely will not be moving on from Morrow as a running back, it was time to find a dedicated return man they can count on for big plays. What better person for that role than the man they call Super Mario?
Big Announcement: CFL Unveils Free Live Streaming Platforms
Get Alerts & Stay ConnectedCFL iPhone App
CFL Android App