Canadian content: Montreal Alouettes

Canadian content is an off-season series I’ve created to look at how each club deployed its starting nationals in 2019 and project how they may do so in 2020. This information can give us an idea of how teams will approach the draft in May.

We’ve already looked at the B.C. Lions, Calgary Stampeders, Edmonton Eskimos, Saskatchewan Roughriders,Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Hamilton Tiger-CatsToronto Argonauts, and Ottawa Redblacks. Today we will be making our final stop with the Montreal Alouettes.

Montreal’s national players accounted for 136 starts in 2019, ten over the required 126. The team consistently started two national linebackers, while Canadians were sprinkled in at right tackle and along the defensive line.

Below is a breakdown of how the Alouettes fielded their national starters last season. Players who appear at more than one position are marked with an asterisk.

Slotback

Kaion Julien-Grant (1)

Wide receiver

Felix Faubert-Lussier (12)
Malcolm Carter (4)

Tackle

Tyler Johnstone (4)
Sean Jamieson (2)*
Landon Rice (2)
Spencer Wilson (1)*

Guard

Trey Rutherford (18)
Sean Jamieson (12)*
Spencer Wilson (6)*

Centre

Kristian Matte (18)

Defensive end

Jean-Samuel Blanc (1)

Defensive tackle

Fabion Foote (6)

Weak-side linebacker

Chris Ackie (10)
DJ Lalama (1)*
Bo Lokombo (1)*

Middle linebacker

Henoc Muamba (17)
DJ Lalama (1)*

Cornerback

Dominique Termansen (1)

Safety

Bo Lokombo (10)*
Taylor Loffler (6)
Ty Cranston (2)

Many of Montreal’s national starters from a season ago are no longer with the club, including Bo Lokombo, Chris Ackie, and Fabion Foote. The Als went local in free agency, signing hometown products Junior Luke, David Menard, Alexandre Gagné, and Frederic Chagnon. It’s possible none of these additions will be in the starting lineup, instead filling depth roles at their respective positions and on special teams.

All four of Montreal’s starting national offensive linemen from 2019 are set to return, though versatile backup Spencer Wilson was cut prior to an off-season roster bonus. Tyler Johnstone has fought injuries at right tackle — he appeared in just five games last year — while 2019 draft selections Zach Wilkinson and Samuel Thomassin will look to continue their development in depth roles.

Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com
Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com

Felix Faubert-Lussier and Malcolm Carter did little in 16 starts at field-side wide receiver, combining for just 13 receptions. Kaion Julien-Grant has a high ceiling and Chris Osei-Kusi has speed to burn; watch for both players to push for work in 2020 in Montreal’s young receiving corps.

Spencer Moore and Christophe Normand are consistent options at fullback, while Shaquille Murray-Lawrence dressed for just two games in 2019. Jeshrun Antwi went back to school after being a sixth-round pick in last year’s draft but has returned for 2020.

Junior Luke and David Menard bring starting experience to the nose tackle position, though the Alouettes may opt to play an all-American front. 2019 draft selections Michael Sanelli and Nathaniel Anderson will fill depth roles with the latter also capable of lining up at defensive end. Blanc brings veteran experience in a rotational basis, while Banner does well on special teams.

Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com

Henoc Muamba is coming off a career-year in which he was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian. DJ Lalama could see an expanded role in the linebacking corps following the departure of Chris Ackie, while Alexandré Gagne — signed away from the Saskatchewan Roughriders — is one of the best special teams players in the league.

Taylor Loffler plans to return in 2020 after suffering his third torn ACL in 2019, limiting him to just six starts. Ty Cranston will serve as his primary backup, while Dominique Termansen slots in best at field-side cornerback. This is a position I would expect the Alouettes to address in May’s draft.

Summary

Montreal has solid depth at defensive tackle and linebacker along with some intriguing prospects in the receiving corps. The health of Tyler Johnstone and Taylor Loffler is key; both are excellent when on the field, but have recently struggled with injuries.

Expect the team to use the draft to expand its depth at defensive back and along the offensive line.

Receiver — Felix Faubert-Lussier (1)
Tackle — Tyler Johnstone (1)
Guard — Trey Rutherford, Sean Jamieson (2)
Centre — Kristian Matte (1)
Linebacker — Henoc Muamba (1)
Safety — Taylor Loffler (1)

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