Football

Riders take defender Williams No. 1 in CFL draft

The Saskatchewan Roughriders used the first pick in the CFL draft on Sunday to choose linebacker Shomari Williams, of Queen's University.

Argos go for size with next two selections

The Saskatchewan Roughriders used the first pick in the CFL draft on Sunday to choose linebacker Shomari Williams, of Queen's University in Kingston.

Williams, who had already played three years at the University of Houston in the NCAA, came to Queen's last fall to finish his eligibility.

A 6-foot-1, 232-pounder, Williams was highly sought after by the Riders, who traded non-import punter Jamie Boreham to the Toronto Argonauts for the top pick, a deal that also involved switching picks.

Raised in Brampton, the defender was a key performer on the Queen's team that won the Vanier Cup in a startling comeback victory over the Calgary Dinos.

He's a graduate of North Park Secondary School.

This was the first No. 1 pick for the Riders since 2001 when they chose future star defensive lineman Scott Schultz.

Riders' GM Brendan Taman said Williams fills a definite need for the club.

"We had a need at defensive end," Taman said. "Shomari, character-wise and ability-wise, was the guy we needed and we made the trade to get."

With the No. 2 selection, Toronto went with offensive lineman Joe Eppele, of Washington State University, a 6-foot-8, 306-pound behemoth who played mostly as a backup in the NCAA.

And at No. 3 the Double Blue chose Cory Greenwood, a 6-foot-2, 235-pound linebacker from Concordia University.

The Argos were aggressive in dealing with their picks coming into a key draft for the rebuilding club.

First they made the deal with the Riders, leaving them with the No. 2 and No. 4 picks, then orchestrated another complicated exchange of picks with the B.C. Lions to switch three and four.

Boreham, who kicked three seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats before a 2007 trade to the Riders, appeared in 13 games last season as both punter and field goal kicker before an injury ended his season.

The Riders went with Luca Congi the rest of the season (he nailed four field goals in the Grey Cup loss) and they also have two youngsters on the roster who can handle both duties heading for training camp.

B.C. Lions took a chance by choosing offensive lineman Danny Watkins, of Baylor University, considered the best overall player in the draft.

Watkins still has a year of eligibility left in the NCAA and is considered a leading candidate to at least earn an invitation to a National Football League training camp in the summer of 2011.

He might not be available to the Lions until at least halfway through the 2011 season.

Calgary went with kicker Rob Maver, of the University of Guelph, at the No. 5 slot.

Considered one of the brightest kicking talents to come along in many years, Maver is expected to replace veteran Sandro DeAngelis, who signed as a free agent with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Winnipeg traded its No. 6 spot to Edmonton for later picks (including No. 9) and the Eskimos took advantage by taking a flyer on Brian Bulcke, of Stanford University, a 6-foot-4, 281-pound defensive end who missed most of last season with a wrist injury.

He has one year left in the NCAA so the Eskimos will also have to wait for him.

As will Montreal. The Alouettes went for offensive tackle Kristian Matte, of Concordia University, who is already signed to attend training camp with the NFL's Houston Texans.

Hamilton did not have a pick in the first round because they used a supplemental choice last year, so at No. 8 (first pick of Round 2), Saskatchewan took University of Regina receiver Jordan Sisco.

Winnipeg finally got on the board at No. 9, taking wide receiver Cory Watson, of Concordia University.

 

With files from the Canadian Press