May 4, 2012

Moffat: Lavoie right at home with Alouettes

The Alouettes may have been shut out of first round on Draft day, but General Manager Jim Popp believes he’s scored some steals with stealth. Even though the Als went “homegrown” they still found a way to stay under the radar.

The Als seemingly drafted for long-term needs, but they believe they’ve picked up some solid talent.

“For sure, for sure I’m surprised,” confessed Als’ top pick Patrick Lavoie (11th overall).

“This is fantastic for me. I never heard from Montreal since E-Camp, but lots of other teams called – Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton…then in the hour before the draft (Alouettes assistant GM) Marcel Desjardins called me to ask if I was ready.”

The Laval receiver turned fullback is a 240-pound force nicknamed “Captain Punt” because of his signal-calling and ferocious play on special teams.

“I want to make this team, and my blocking skills are good so I can help protect Calvillo.”

Lavoie has one year of eligibility at Laval remaining. He played only one year of high-school football, then moved to Quebec City to pursue his dream of becoming a firefighter.  

Versatility is a plus.

Popp believes he can be the hybrid tight-end/fullback with the hands to make catches swinging out into the flats.

One week ago, Lavoie was working out in Quebec City with Alouettes centre Luc Brodeur-Jourdain, with no inkling they’d soon be at camp together.  

Oddly enough, his first road trip to Montreal to see the Als was as much to witness his college sweetheart perform the anthem at Molson Stadium.

Lavoie hopes to have a sideline view this time when Angie Riendeau sings “Oh Canada” as she has once per season since she was a teenager.

As the draft moved into the middle and late rounds the Alouettes continued to focus on filling holes, only to be distracted by flashes of inspiration.  

They went homegrown with their first and last picks, and all over the college football map in between.

In Round three Montreal was surprised to see Bo Adebayo still up for grabs.  Though he committed to an NFL tryout with the Detroit Lions, the Als spoke with the six-foot-three, 265-pound defensive lineman and if no deal is imminent after mini-camp he is open to attending training camp.

Abedayo proves the value of doing your homework.  In his senior year at the University of Western Kentucky he realized he could be eligible for the Canadian draft.

His father was a university professor; his mother attended nursing school while in Edmonton.

Abedayo is big and strong enough to flip back and forth between tackle and end.

Not since Ben Cahoon more than a decade ago have the Als been so fortunate that a prospect did his own due diligence to gain non-import status.

Montreal’s fourth-round pick, Lance Milton, was ‘worth a chance’ according to Popp. Even though he missed an entire year of action, the Als were concerned that two other teams had him on their radar. He’ll get a shot at playing wide side corner as well as special teams.

Coming from a devoted football family, Popp values rich bloodlines and used late round selections to snag two prospects with intriguing roots to the family tree.

Bryn Roy and Keynan Parker are the sons of pro athletes, but with wildly contrasting father figures.

Roy is the son of a world champion steer wrestler who is putting his own rodeo career on hold. He lists his own interests as “team roping, steer wrestling and coyote hunting.”  

Parker, meanwhile, is the son of James “Quick” Parker, who terrorized CFL quarterbacks for years after Don Mathews unleashed him on unsuspecting o-lines of the 80s.

Keynan is projected as a potential wide-side corner (an import position in recent seasons with the Als). At Oregon State, he has done everything from special teams duty to running the 100 meters in 10.97 at the Pac-10 Championships with minimal training.

Finally, Montreal’s final pick of the draft was Bishop’s OL Ryan White.

Though he missed the 2011 season for personal reasons, he could help keep the Als Canadian at the tackle position in years to come.

He played for former CFL All-Star Leroy Blugh and some scouts say he’s the most physical tackle ever to come out of the Gaiters program.