Rookie Canadian quarterback Tre Ford has won the backup quarterback job in Edmonton, despite being listed at receiver on the Elks’ Week 1 depth chart.
According to TSN insider Farhan Lalji: “A few eyebrows raised with Tre Ford listed as a receiver. Ford is in fact the #2 QB on Saturday. Chris Jones tells me Arbuckle ‘edged’ Ford out as the starter based on every throw being graded throughout camp & pre-season.”
Nick Arbuckle, a former backup with the Calgary Stampeders and Toronto Argonauts, was named the Elks’ starter after an open training camp competition, but the gap between him and the rookie Ford was allegedly less than one might assume.
Arbuckle was an efficient 9-of-10 passing for 145 yards and two touchdowns in the team’s first preseason game, before missing the second with a hand injury. Ford appeared in both games, 8-of-17 for 96 yards passing and an interception while adding eight carries for 87 yards on the ground.
Head coach Chris Jones loves the dynamic playmaking ability that the Canadian youngster brings to the table, so much so that he made the 24-year-old the first quarterback taken in the first round of the CFL Draft since 1980 when he drafted him eighth overall last month. Ford first attended NFL rookie mini-camp with the Baltimore Ravens, before turning down an offer from the New York Giants to get to Edmonton on time for training camp.
Ford won the Hec Crighton Trophy as the best player in U Sports football this past season after completing 63 percent of his passes for 1,770 yards, 12 touchdowns, and six interceptions while rushing 66 times for 667 yards and three touchdowns in seven games, including one in the playoffs.
He had his best statistical U Sports season in 2018 when he completed 74 percent of his passes for 3,093 yards, 30 touchdowns, and two interceptions while rushing 85 times for 771 yards and four touchdowns in eight regular-season games and one in the playoffs.
Ford displayed elite athleticism during the University at Buffalo pro day in mid-March, running a 4.45-second forty-yard dash, leaping 36 inches in the vertical jump and recording a ten-foot, five-inch broad jump. He expanded on those results at the CFL Combine, posting 17 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press and completing the three-cone drill in 6.85 seconds with a 4.27-second shuttle.
The rookie is expected to contribute to the Elks’ offence in a variety of ways but fans can rest assured that one of them will be as a passer.