Manitoba Bisons offensive lineman Zack Williams is the top Canada West prospect, according to the CW CFL prospect rankings, released Tuesday ahead of this week’s Canadian Football League draft.
2019 marks the third season of the CW CFL prospect rankings, which are selected by the conference’s six football coaches.
Williams tops the rankings after receiving three first-place votes, edging out Saskatchewan’s Evan Machibroda (DL), and UBC’s Connor Griffiths (DL) for top spot in the rankings.
The Bisons landed a pair of players inside the top four, as running back Jamel Lyles – who was the beneficiary of Williams’ outstanding play on the o-line – slotted in fourth.
Last season, UBC’s Dakoda Shepley topped the rankings before going fifth overall to the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The Windsor, Ont. product recently inked a two-year contract with the Riders, after spending time last season with the NFL’s New York Jets and Oakland Raiders.
A total of 15 CW players were selected in the 2018 CFL Draft, including four in the first round – the most among any USports conference.
The 2019 CFL Draft is set for Thursday night, and can be seen live on TSN, TSN.ca and TSN Direct (5 p.m. PDT / 6 p.m. MDT / 7 p.m. CDT).
CFL Scouting Bureau comparison
Williams, who stands 6-foot-five and is 315 pounds, didn’t crack the CFL scouting bureau rankings this season. The rankings were selected by CFL scouts, player personnel directors and general managers from the league’s nine teams.
The only CW player to be listed in all three rankings was UBC quarterback Michael O’Connor. The fourth-year pivot was 20th in September, moved to 19th in December, and finished 17th in the final rankings released last month.
O’Connor, who led UBC to the Hardy Cup and Vanier Cup as a rookie in 2015, has been on the radar for CFL teams during the entirety of his time at UBC after transferring from Penn State.
2019 CW CFL PROSPECT RANKINGS
POSITION – NAME / TEAM / POINTS (FIRST-PLACE VOTES)
OL – Zack Williams / Manitoba Bisons / 106 (3)
DL – Evan Machibroda / Saskatchewan Huskies / 92 (2)*
DL – Connor Griffiths / UBC Thunderbirds / 92 (1)
RB – Jamel Lyles / Manitoba Bisons / 83
RB – Jeshrun Antwi / Calgary Dinos / 79
REC – Hunter Karl / Calgary Dinos / 76
QB – Michael O’Connor / UBC Thunderbirds / 74
REC – Shai Ross / Manitoba Bisons / 64
OL – Jonathan Harke / Alberta Golden Bears / 63
LB – Ben Whiting / Saskatchewan Huskies / 55
LB – Layne Hull / Regina Rams / 52
DL – Sheriden Lawley / UBC Thunderbirds / 49
NOTES: * Tie broken based on higher number of first-place votes. First-place vote worth 20 pts., second 19 pts. etc.