Montreal Alouettes select versatile Richards first overall in CFL draft

Ottawa Redblacks quarterback Caleb Evans leaps over the pile to score a touchdown against the Montreal Alouettes during fourth quarter CFL football action in Montreal on Friday, November 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Linebacker Tyrell Richards was the first player taken in the CFL draft Tuesday night when the Montreal Alouettes selected the former Syracuse Orange star with the first overall selection.

Montreal secured the No. 1 pick earlier Tuesday in a trade with Edmonton. The Elks received the rights to Canadian offensive lineman Carter O'Donnell -- a native of Red Deer, Alta., currently with the NFL's Indianapolis Colts -- and the fourth overall selection.

Earlier on Tuesday, Montreal secured the ninth and 18th selections from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for Canadian defensive tackle Cameron Lawson and the 13th overall pick. The six-foot-three, 285-pound Lawson, of Caledon, Ont., appeared in four games last year with the Alouettes.

The six-foot-three 232-pound Richards had a career-high 24 tackles (3.5 for a loss) and two sacks in eight games (three starts) for Syracuse University in 2020. The Brampton, Ont., resident entered the transfer portal afterwards and entertained several offers but couldn't move to another school because he'd not accumulated enough transferable credits.

Richards considered attending a junior college before deciding to spend '21 training and coaching at Clarkson Secondary School, his former high school in Mississauga, Ont. Richards had 54 tackles (9.5 for a loss) and six sacks in 31 career games at Syracuse.

Richards attended the CFL combine in March and performed well, posting a 37-inch vertical jump, 19 reps in the 225-pound bench press and running the 40-yard dash in 4.60 seconds.

He also impressed with his versatility, testing with defensive lineman and working out with defensive backs while meeting and speaking with officials from all nine Canadian teams.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 3, 2022.

Newsletters

Breaking News alerts, info on contests, and special offers from partners