McLeod Bethel-Thompson set for Elks preseason debut vs. Riders

Photo courtesy: Edmonton Elks

Veteran quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson will make his debut for the Edmonton Elks when they open the preseason on Saturday against Saskatchewan.

The two-time East Division all-star and Grey Cup champion joined the Elks this offseason after a one-year hiatus in the USFL, taking the starting job from third-year Canadian Tre Ford. Ford will receive second-team reps, while Jarret Doege, Woodrow Lowe III, Malik Henry, and Cole McDonald could all see time under centre.

The Elks are expected to surround Bethel-Thompson with the majority of the projected starting offence, with just Canadian right tackle Brett Boyko not suiting up. Veteran Hunter Steward will slot into that spot temporarily.

In the receiving corps, speedster Deontez Alexander would appear to have the leg up on the one vacant job after cracking the roster as a returner last year. Interestingly, third-year player Dillon Mitchell is listed as dressing but not starting, as Malik Flowers will get an opportunity to run with the top unit.

Defensively, starting middle linebacker Nyles Morgan will not dress and incumbent contributor Tony Jones will not start, as rookies Reynard Ellis and Nick Anderson get the first reps at linebacker. Newcomers also receiving starts at vacant positions are strong-side linebacker Leon O’Neal Jr., field halfback Devodric Bynum, and defensive end Eric Black. As expected, former NFL first-round pick Robert Nkemdiche will make his debut with the first unit at defensive tackle.

The Elks will host the Riders at 4:00 p.m. ET on June 25. The game can be streamed for free via CFL+.

Graphic courtesy: Edmonton Elks