Canadian quarterback Tre Ford has only had a handful of practices with the Edmonton Elks but it appears he’s already carving out roles on offence and special teams.
“I feel like I’m competing well at my position and they’re really finding ways to use me,” Ford told the media in Edmonton. “I’m going to get in on some special teams, but also some things we haven’t really gotten into yet (offensively). We’re really keeping it basic — it’s only day two, so we’re just installing the regular offence first.”
The University of Waterloo product was the eighth overall selection in the 2022 CFL Draft, becoming the first quarterback to be a first-round pick in over four decades.
Ford is an accomplished passer — he threw 64 touchdown passes over four seasons with the Warriors — but also possesses elite speed and quickness. He received an invitation to join the New York Giants for their rookie mini-camp as a positionless athlete last week but elected to attend rookie camp with the Elks instead.
Head coach and general manager Chris Jones has utilized dual-threat quarterbacks on special teams in the past and it appears Ford could be used in a similar manner this season. The CFL also recently changed its rules to allow two quarterbacks to be on the field at the same time, which means Ford could be used creatively on offence even if another passer remains in the game.
The Elks also have Canadian quarterback Mike Beaudry in training camp, who has also been asked to contribute in multiple capacities.
“They’ve both done some good things and they’ve both played multiple positions,” said Jones. “They both can help us special teams-wise, so I would anticipate hopefully being able to get them on the roster somewhere.”
Ford is relatively small and fleet-footed, while Beaudry is a hulking pocket passer who measures in at six-foot-five and 248 pounds. He recently ran a 4.95-second forty-yard dash at the University of West Florida’s pro day and could be seen as a possible contributor at tight end.
Edmonton’s starting quarterback job is wide open, particularly after former Ohio State star J. T. Barrett was moved to the club’s retired list. Arizona product Khalil Tate was cut following rookie camp, but that still leaves Taylor Cornelius, Nick Arbuckle, former fourth-round NFL draft pick Cardale Jones, and dual-threat passer Kai Locksley on the roster alongside Ford and Beaudry.
“It’s definitely a good group of guys. It’s good to get the whole team in here rather than just rookie camp,” said Ford. “It was pretty competitive in rookie camp but it’s also pretty competitive here. With Cornelius and Arbuckle obviously coming back and taking more of a leadership role, it’s been good to see how they operate, how they lead a team and kinda just incorporating that into my game.”
Edmonton is one of two CFL teams currently practicing — the other is the Calgary Stampeders — while players on the other seven clubs are on strike. The Elks and Stamps are completing their third day of practices on Tuesday, after which they will be permitted to engage in a work stoppage in accordance with Alberta labour laws.