Chris Jones says it would take ‘extremely attractive’ offer for Elks to trade top pick in 2022 CFL Draft

Photo courtesy: Bob Butrym

The Edmonton Elks hold the first overall pick in the 2022 CFL Draft and it appears unlikely that the team will be trading the selection before draft day on Tuesday, May 3.

“It would have to be something extremely attractive for us to do it, but you can never say never,” said head coach and general manager Chris Jones via videoconference.

“When you’re in our situation you have to always have your ears open and you have to have an open mind as to what’s going on, but at the same time we’ve created a list of guys that we know would make an immediate impact on our football team and allow us to open the playbook ratio-wise.”

B.C. and Calgary completed a draft-day trade two years ago that allowed the Lions to select linebacker Jordan Williams with the first overall pick. The East Carolina product was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie in 2021 after recording 97 total tackles, one sack, and one interception in 14 starts at middle linebacker.

Edmonton is coming off a miserable 3-11 season that culminated in the firing of team president Chris Presson, general manager Brock Sunderland, and head coach Jaime Elizondo. It’s clear the roster needs a quick injection of talent and the Elks have a working shortlist of players they may select with the top pick in the draft.

“We have a list of guys that have potential to be the number one pick, you just have to see how it all plays out. I’m not going to say how many is on the list but the film stands out on all these guys that are on our potential list for the number one pick. We continue to gather information and see where that takes us leading up to the draft,” said assistant general manager Geroy Simon.

Jones attended the recent University at Buffalo pro day where Canadian prospects Tre Ford, Tyrell Ford, Deionte Knight, and Anthony Federico performed in front of scouts from 25 different CFL and NFL teams. Knight is arguably the top defensive lineman in the draft and could serve as an heir apparent to 35-year-old Canadian defensive tackle Makana Henry.

Per source, Jones has also had dinner with Tyrell Richards, a six-foot-four, 218-pound defender out of Syracuse University. The native of Brampton, Ont. didn’t play in 2021 but has experience at outside linebacker, defensive end, and on special teams, which is the type of versatility Jones has been known to covet in draft prospects.

While it’s yet to be determined who the Elks will select with the first overall pick of the 2022 CFL Draft, one thing that’s clear is the pick is unlikely to be traded.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.