First-round pick Nick Mardner draws first start in Redblacks’ preseason finale

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

The Ottawa Redblacks will field their entire projected starting lineup when they wrap up the preseason against the Montreal Alouettes on Friday.

Prized offseason addition Dru Brown will once again lead his new team into battle, after going a lacklustre four-of-six for 26 yards in his first preseason appearance. He’ll give way to Dustin Crum and Jake Dunniway later in the contest, with Tyrie Adams and Jeremiah Masoli still available due to injury.

Ryquell Armstead appears to still have the leg up in the running back competition, though he carried seven times for just 18 yards and a touchdown in the first preseason game. He’ll be followed by Kylin Hill, who led the team with 33 yards, and Ronnie Brown, who posted 31.

The debate at tackle appears to be headed toward the status quo, as veteran Dino Boyd will start on the left side and 2022 second-overall pick Zach Pelehos will get the first crack on the right-hand side. 2023 first-overall selection Dontae Bull will once again come off the bench in an effort to win the job. The team’s 2024 first-round draft pick, Nick Mardner, is also embroiled in a competition in the receiving corps but will get his first start over Keaton Bruggeling.

Defensively, the lineup is as expected save for two new faces on the field side. Tobias Harris, who contributed for the team as a returner last season, will play over Deandre Lamont at halfback, while Alijah McGhee will get the call at cornerback.

The Redblacks will kick off against Montreal at 7:00 p.m. ET on May 31. Final cuts have to be made by 10:00 p.m. local time the following day.

Graphic courtesy: Ottawa Redblacks