Als GM Maciocia nabs Carabins OL Pier-Olivier Lestage in CFL draft

For the second straight year, Maciocia used his first pick in the draft to select one of his former players from the Université de Montéal.

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It worked once for Danny Maciocia. And now, the Alouettes’ general manager hopes he can catch lightning in a bottle again.

For the second consecutive year, Maciocia used his first pick in the Canadian Football League draft to select a player tied to an NFL team. And again he nabbed one of his former players from the Université de Montréal.

The Als chose Carabins offensive-lineman Pier-Olivier Lestage 10th overall Tuesday night, overlooking the fact the 6-foot-3, 310-pounder signed with the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday as an undrafted free agent.

“This is no different than what we experienced last year,” Maciocia told the Montreal Gazette by telephone after making the selection. “We did our homework, called the people we needed to call and we’re comfortable with the pick.

“He’s probably one of the best offensive linemen coming out,” Maciocia added. “He can play up and down the line of scrimmage. He’s got a nastiness and physicality that he brings to the game you don’t get from any other draft-eligible offensive lineman this year. If he’s ever … got the Montreal jersey on, we know he’ll have a long and illustrious career here as an Alouette.”


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A year ago, Maciocia took a similar risk that worked out, selecting Carabins defensive-back Marc-Antoine Dequoy 14th overall after he signed with Green Bay as an undrafted free agent. Dequoy subsequently was released by the Packers at training camp and could be Montreal’s starting safety this season — provided games are played. The 2020 CFL season was cancelled last August.

Maciocia said he briefly contemplated moving up in the draft, via a trade, to ensure Lestage would be available before ultimately deciding he didn’t want to mortgage any more first-round picks.

It was Maciocia’s predecessor, Kavis Reed, who relinquished two first-rounders (2020 and ’21) to acquire controversial quarterback Johnny Manziel in a multi-player July 2018 trade. Manziel only spent the rest of that season in Montreal before being released — Maciocia having to deal with the ramifications of a move that backfired.

Lestage, 23, was the top-ranked player — seventh overall — available coming out of U Sports. He probably would have been taken in the first round had he not signed with Seattle. Lestage was named a first-team conference all-star in 2019 and was an all-Canadian second-team choice. Maciocia believes he can play guard or centre.

“I’m a guy from Montreal and I’ve been an Alouettes fan,” Lestage, from St-Eustache, told The Gazette by telephone. “Definitely this is special for my childhood team to pick me in the draft. I’m really happy.”


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But the prospect also made it clear where his priority lies for now.

“There’s an NFL opportunity for me,” he said. “I’m definitely going to try and take it and get myself a job over there. But if that doesn’t work, I’m really happy I’m going into the CFL with the Alouettes. I’m staying home. I can stay close to friends and family. It’s a win-win situation for me. It’s perfect.”

The Als also picked a pair of offensive-linemen — Chris Fournier (Lehigh) and Patrick Davis (Syracuse), 27th and 28th, respectively. They took Laval kicker David Coté 45th overall and linebacker Ethan Makonzo of Montreal with their last pick, 46th overall.

Jake Burt, a Regina-born tight end who played at Boston College, went first overall to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

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