May 3, 2023

Top of the Depth Chart: Montreal Alouettes

Kevin Sousa/

All things considered, the Montreal Alouettes did better than you might have thought, when it comes to stocking their roster for the 2023 season.

Yes, the ownership vacuum that led to them losing stars like quarterback Trevor Harris, receiver Eugene Lewis (the East nominee for Most Outstanding Player in 2022) and Adarius Pickett (the team’s nominee for Most Outstanding Defensive Player) hit pretty hard. Thankfully, that issue has been settled and the Alouettes still managed to hang on to some key players who might also have opted for free agency, despite the uncertainty that was later dealt with, when Pierre Karl Péladeau finalized his purchase of the team.

» Subscribe to the CFL’s newsletter for exclusive offers and league updates
» Play CFL Preseason Futures and test your knowledge of the CFL!
» Top of the Depth Chart: Ottawa REDBLACKS
» Top of the Depth Chart: Calgary Stampeders
» Top of the Depth Chart: Hamilton Tiger-Cats
» Top of the Depth Chart: BC Lions

They managed to pluck a few pretty good free agents from other teams, too.

With big changes at key positions, general manager Danny Maciocia and head coach Jason Maas have some sorting out to do. Some of it’s kind of easy. Some of it, well, I took a shot is what I’ll say. Here’s how things could shake out when the Als put out their depth chart for their opener, June 10 versus Ottawa.


Receiver Running Back Quarterback Fullback Offensive Line
Tyson Philpot* William Stanback Cody Fajardo Alexandre Gagné* Nick Callender (LT)
Kaion Julien-Grant* Pier-Olivier Lestage* (LG)
Greg Ellingson Justin Lawrence* (C)
Cole Spieker Kristian Matte* (RG)
Landon Rice* (RT)

* denotes National
** denotes Global


Veteran Cody Fajardo is the starting quarterback in Montreal now, looking to bounce back from a couple of sub-par seasons in Saskatchewan. Remember that it was just three seasons ago that he was a candidate for MOP. Will playing behind a very good offensive line be the elixir he’s been needing?


William Stanback is the man. If he stays healthy and is used as a workhorse, an MOP-type season is possible. Of course, the Als have good depth at the position with Jeshrun Antwi and William Fletcher, so it’s a good bet they will not ask Stanback to overwork himself. Either way, ground yards should be plentiful for Montreal in 2023.


Alexandre Gagné is the incumbent bulldozer at the top of the depth chart for the Als, a special teams spark plug who has played five seasons in the CFL and never had a carry or a reception. C’mon, Coach Maas. Give the guy some offensive sugar. The Als brought in veteran James Tuck in free agency, so the battle for the position is on.


In his first year in the CFL, Tyson Phipot was the East Division’s nominee for Most Outstanding Rookie (Kevin Sousa/

A change is gonna come and indeed a change has, what with star receiver Eugene Lewis heading to Edmonton and Touchdown Jake Wieneke riding of to Sasky in free agency. A couple of Canadians will be leaned on here to provide Fajardo with quality routes and catches galore and they would be Kaion Julien-Grant and the 2022 East nominee for Outstanding Rookie, Tyson Philpot. These young bucks have already shown their game-breaking abilities. Veteran Greg Ellingson will be counted on to provide leadership and savvy and if he can rediscover a thousand-yard season at the age of 34, well, Yahtzee! I’d put Reggie White Jr. on this list of starters if he weren’t rehabbing a knee injury, likely out until the fall. With that said, Cole Spieker, who stepped into a role last autumn and looked pretty impressive, gets the spot.


This unit looks very good, with Montreal’s lineman of the year in 2022, Landon Rice, leading the way at right tackle. More veteran blocking goodness lines up right next to him in the form of Kristian Matte, who has been on that Alouettes line since 2010, believe it or not. Centre Sean Jamieson told the Bird Flock Podcast that his injured knee is iffy right now, as he keeps up the rehab. “Best case scenario would be not missing any time, worst case would be probably miss about half the season,” he said. The Alouettes nabbed former Argo Justin Lawrence in free agency and it just so happens that Lawrence did a pretty fine job learning to play centre with Toronto last season, so he can start there. Left guard Pier-Olivier Lestage jumped into the starting spot just after Labour Day last season and stayed there for the duration, so he gets pencilled in here again. Second-year man Nick Callender played 15 games on the blindside in 2022 and looks good to go there again in 2023.


Defensive Back Linebacker Defensive Line
Jumal Rolle (CB) Tyrice Beverette (WLB) Jamal Davis (DE)
Ciante Evans (HB) Avery Williams (MLB) Almondo Sewell (DT)
Marc-Antoine Dequoy* (S) Wesley Sutton (SAM) Mustafa Johnson (DT)
Najee Murray (HB) Nick Usher (DE)
Nafees Lyon (CB)


I don’t know about you but I am looking forward to seeing defensive end Jamal Davis plugged in for an entire season from the get-go. He joined the Alouettes for the second half of the season in 2021, and then again for the final six games of last year, looking pretty terrific each time. Is he poised for an epic breakout? Why, yes, I believe he is. At the other end, we find veteran Nick Usher, in his third season as an Alouette. Ever-present defensive tackle Almondo Sewell heads into his 12th CFL campaign and Mustafa Johnson joined the Alouettes last September, starting every game from September 9 onward, including the Eastern Semi and Final.


In his first season in Montreal, Tyrice Beverette tallied 56 defensive tackles, 21 special teams tackles, an interception, a touchdown and forced a fumble (Kevin Sousa/

Free agent signing Avery Williams comes off four exceptional seasons with the Ottawa REDBLACKS and at the age of 28 he should have plenty left to give as he settles in with his new team. Tyrice Beverette was a revelation at weak side linebacker in 2022 and so there’s no reason not to think he’ll start there again. Except… I wonder if he might not be even better at SAM, if you can imagine. With Adarius Pickett – Montreal’s outstanding defensive player last season – leaving for the Argos, the Alouettes have a big question mark at the SAM spot and lots of possibilities. I’d like the idea of Raheem Wilson moving up to give it a go but since he’s coming off knee surgery and rehab, maybe it’s best to keep him in familiar territory at half. With that in mind, I’ll lean towards Wesley Sutton making the move.


The Alouettes signed two big-time corners in free agency when they lured both Ciante Evans and Jumal Rolle away from Hamilton. I’ll look for those two to start, although Nafees Lyon played pretty good corner last fall after being brought over in a trade with Edmonton. Say, could one of these guys play SAM? Evans is a smart and adaptable vet who has shown an ability to play half well so, actually, I’ll slide him inside and leave Lyon at corner, and give Najee Murray the other halfback spot so the Als can be careful about not rushing Wilson back. Not that Murray isn’t worthy. He subbed in for Wilson last season very well and is a full-value starter. Without a shadow of a doubt, Montreal’s Most Outstanding Canadian last season, Marc-Antoine Dequoy, is the starting safety. Unless he’d be better at SAM, lol. Lots of guys with adaptable abilities back there, a trend that has been growing and growing in the CFL the last few years. The Als have positional flexibility here.


Kicker/Punter Long Snapper Returner
David Côté*/Joseph Zema** Louis-Philippe Bourassa* Chandler Worthy


David Côté went 44-for-51 in field goal attempts in 2022 and Joseph Zema was fourth in CFL punting, third in net punting. Long snapper Pierre-Luc Caron retired just prior to free agency and the Als went out and signed former REDBLACK Louis-Philippe Bourassa to take over.


Chandler Worthy was an East Division All-Star in 2022 and also the division’s nominee for Most Outstanding Special Teams Player. Expect more of the same from worthy in 2023, and perhaps a few more pass routes on offence, too.

The comment system on this website is now powered by the Forums. We'd love for you to be part of the conversation; click the Start Discussion button below to register an account and join the community!