As a young man growing up, I was gifted, on a few occasions, a Swiss Army Knife.
The gift-giver was normally a grandparent, or uncle, who was looking to show trust that I could properly care for this tool and its many possible uses. As an adult working with tools, the multi-tool was always on hand for its versatility and ability to minimize the amount of stress in changing from saw to screwdriver to pliers with small repairs.
For the Calgary Stampeders and their offensive line, Ucambre Williams is that tool. No matter what job needs doing, Williams is there to do it. Since joining the Stampeders in 2016, Williams has been an every-position player, although he has settled in primarily at center the last few years.
He hadn’t played center before taking over the job in 2017 and ended the season as the Stampeders’ and the West Division’s nominee for Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman.
With the offseason acquisition last year of Sean McEwan — No. 55 on this list — Williams will be moving out to left tackle to replace Derek Dennis.
In speaking with Calgary’s offensive coordinator Pat DelMonaco, Williams was described as a combination of aggression and intelligence who doesn’t “watch the ball.”
When I asked for clarification on that, DelMonaco told me that unlike some players, Williams doesn’t stand back as an observer in a play — he continues to drive downfield and make an impact, citing three fumble recoveries as proof.
All the proof I needed came on this play:
As Markeith Ambles dove towards the end zone on a two-point conversion play against B.C. in Week 3 of 2019, he would have come up short until Williams caught him in the air and dragged him across the line for the score.
This play would prove crucial later as the Stamps were able to pull off a miracle comeback to beat the Lions after being down 11 with just two and half minutes to go.
While Williams has been nicked up a few times over his three years in the league, the Alabama native has been a crucial part of an offensive line that gets paid to protect the league’s top QB.
Being able to move Williams to his natural position only makes the Stampeders’ offense that much stronger. As Pat DelMonaco told me, “You only take six (offensive) linemen with you, so having a guy that can play everywhere is super valuable.”
Williams was shown that value at the end of 2019, signing a two-year deal to stay with the team. He is one of few Stampeders not on the free agent list, and Stampeder fans are thrilled to know it.
3DownNation is unveiling its list of the top 100 active CFL players, a project that will run through December 31, 2020. To read the criteria for player eligibility, click here. The list to date can be found below.
39. DB Ciante Evans, Montreal Alouettes
40. K/P Justin Medlock, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
41. REC DaVaris Daniels, Toronto Argonauts
42. DT Micah Johnson, B.C. Lions
43. OL Shane Bergman, Calgary Stampeders
44. SAM Don Unamba, Ottawa Redblacks
45. DB Ed Gainey, Saskatchewan Roughriders
46. DB Tommie Campbell, Toronto Argonauts
47. LB Adam Bighill, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
48. REC DeVier Posey, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
49. DT Cleyon Laing, Ottawa Redblacks
50. OL Matt O’Donnell, Edmonton Football Team
51. REC Kyran Moore, Saskatchewan Roughriders
52. SAM Kenny Ladler, Free Agent
53. DE Jackson Jeffcoat, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
54. SAM Dexter McCoil, Free Agent
55. OL Sean McEwen, Calgary Stampeders
56. REC Eugene Lewis, Montreal Alouettes
57. DB Greg Reid, Montreal Alouettes
58. DT Mike Moore, Edmonton Football Team
59. OL Ryker Mathews, B.C. Lions
60. DB Tunde Adeleke, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
61. LB Jameer Thurman, Free Agent
62. QB Matt Nichols, Toronto Argonauts
63. DB Jamar Wall, Calgary Stampeders
64. DB Loucheiz Purifoy, Saskatchewan Roughriders
65. REC Lemar Durant, B.C. Lions
66. OL Brendon LaBatte, Saskatchewan Roughriders
67. OL SirVincent Rogers, Edmonton Football Team
68. QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Free Agent
69. DB/RET Frankie Williams, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
70. DB T.J. Lee, B.C. Lions
71. QB Zach Collaros, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
72. SAM Anthony Cioffi, Free Agent
73. DB Shaquille Richardson, Toronto Argonauts
74. REC Kamar Jorden, Calgary Stampeders
75. OL Darius Ciraco, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
76. REC Jalen Saunders, Free Agent
77. QB Dane Evans, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
78. REC Brad Sinopoli, Ottawa Redblacks
79. RET Janarion Grant, Free Agent
80. DE Avery Ellis, Ottawa Redblacks
81. DE Cordarro Law, Calgary Stampeders
82. DB Brandon Alexander, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
83. OL Jermarcus Hardrick, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
84. DB Branden Dozier, Free Agent
85. SAM Otha Foster, Saskatchewan Roughriders
86. DB Antoine Pruneau, Ottawa Redblacks
87. RB John White, B.C. Lions
88. LB Avery Williams, Ottawa Redblacks
89. LB Jovan Santos-Knox, Free Agent
90. DB Richard Leonard, Calgary Stampeders
91. REC Armanti Edwards, Edmonton Football Team
92. RB C.J. Gable, Free Agent
93. DT Mike Rose, Calgary Stampeders
94. REC S.J. Green, Free Agent
95. DB Mike Edem, Saskatchewan Roughriders
96. DE John Bowman, Montreal Alouettes
97. DB Taylor Loffler, Montreal Alouettes
98. QB Nick Arbuckle, Ottawa Redblacks
99. ST Mike Miller, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
100. DE Chris Casher, B.C. Lions