May 10, 2023

5 Players to Watch at Elks Rookie Camp

The countdown to the 2023 CFL season is on, with Edmonton Elks rookie camp underway at Commonwealth Stadium, Wednesday through Friday.

From top-rated draft picks to underdogs chasing their dreams, over 60 aspiring players will take part in rookie camp, which runs through Friday, prior to main camp opening on Sunday. Here are five players at rookie camp to keep an eye on:

Michael Brodrique (LB)

After wowing observers with his performance at the CFL Combine in Edmonton this winter, University of Montreal standout Brodrique was selected second overall by the Elks in the 2023 CFL Draft last week.

A two-time RSEQ All-Star and 2021 U SPORTS second-team All-Canadian, Brodrique has recorded 68.5 total tackles (62 solo), 9.5 sacks, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and interception and a pass breakup in 22 career games with the Carabins.

The 24-year-old recorded the top times by designated linebackers in the 40 (4.59) and shuttle (4.28) at the CFL Combine in March.

Jake Taylor (LB)

The Elks’ second round selection, 18th overall, in the 2023 CFL Draft, also turned heads at the CFL Combine, where he recorded the longest leap in the broad (10’11”) and ranked inside the top five with his times in both the 40 (4.56) and three cone (6.95).

A native of Beaumont, Taylor has played 21 games over three seasons of U Sports football at the University of Alberta, racking up 60 solo tackles.

After establishing career highs with 31 solo tackles and five pass deflections in 2021, Taylor was selected to participate in the 2022 East-West Bowl.

Riley Szafranski (DL)

While he didn’t see his name come up during the CFL Draft, Szafranski joined Alberta teammate Taylor on the Elks rookie camp roster when he signed as a free-agent on Monday.

Last season, Szafranski recorded six solo tackles, along with five assists and one tackle-for-loss in eight regular season games. An Edmonton native, he made his Alberta debut in 2019 and helped the Golden Bears clinch playoff berths in back-to-back seasons, 2019 and 2021, for the first time since 2009 and 2010.

Szafranski attended Harry Ainlay high school, where he helped the Titans win the Tier 1 provincial championship in 2017.

Dean Faithfull (K)

From England by way of Florida with a stop in Colorado, Faithfull arrives in Edmonton after being selected second overall by the Elks last week in the 2023 CFL Draft.

A native of Fareham, Hampshire, Faithfull played a seasons of NCAA Division II football at Colorado State University Pueblo in 2021, making 7 of 12 field goals and converting 20 extra points while averaging 58.5 yards on 44 kickoffs, including 24 touchbacks.

Before taking up football, the six-foot-two Faithfull played four seasons of NCAA Division II soccer at Florida Tech University.

Woodly Appolon (LB)

The twin brother of Elks linebacker Wesly, Woodly was acquired by the Green and Gold in a trade with the Ottawa RedBlacks on Feb. 27.

After being drafted by Ottawa with the 40th overall selection (one pick after Edmonton drafted Wesley) in 2022, Woodly returned to Tuskegee University to play his senior season of NCAA Division II football with the Golden Tigers.

Woodly’s play at the HBCU Legacy Bowl on Feb. 25 in New Orleans caught the eye of Elks coach and general manager Chris Jones, who made the trade that reunited Woodly and Wesly. The twins from Montreal most recently played together in 2021, at Tuskegee.