Kansas City Chiefs work out Riders’ DE Jonathan Woodard, Argos’ DE Shane Ray

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

The Kansas City Chiefs hosted a pair of CFL defensive ends for workouts on Friday, bringing in Saskatchewan Roughrider Jonathan Woodard and Toronto Argonaut Shane Ray for a look.

Both players remain under contract with their respective CFL clubs, but are taking advantage of the NFL option window to explore opportunities south of the border due to their NFL pedigree.

Woodard had an exceptional rookie season with Saskatchewan in 2021, recording 22 total tackles, 10 sacks, and two forced fumbles in 14 games. He was a rotational defensive end for the first four games of the season but became a full-time starter over the club’s remaining ten games.

The 28-year-old also started the West Semi-Final and West Final and made four tackles and one sack.

Woodard was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Over the next five seasons, he spent time with the Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons, Miami Dolphins, and Buffalo Bills. He played in six regular season contests with the Dolphins, making 10 tackles, two tackles for loss, and one sack.

The six-foot-five, 271-pounder spent five collegiate seasons at Central Arkansas where he played 46 games as a member of the Bears. He was a strong presence on the defensive line, making 174 career tackles, 53 tackles for loss, 29 sacks, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, one interception and four blocked kicks.

Ray earned the Argos starting defensive end job out of training camp, but missed much of the year with a finger injury. He played in just five regular season games, recording four tackles, before notching his first career CFL sack in an East Final loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

He was originally selected in the first round, 23rd overall by the Denver Broncos in the 2015 NFL Draft. Ray was viewed as a surefire top-ten pick, but a marijuana possession citation saw him fall down the board.

As a junior in 2014 for the University of Missouri, Ray notched 65 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks, and forced three fumbles in 14 games. He was named the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the year and unanimous All-American. That’s why scouts felt Ray could make an instant impact in the NFL.

The Broncos won Super Bowl 50 in Ray’s rookie year. He played in 14 games during his first season, making 20 tackles and four sacks while earning an NFL championship ring. He improved during his second, recording 48 tackles, eight sacks, recovering two fumbles and returning one for a touchdown, and forcing one fumble.

After his standout sophomore season, doctors uncovered a torn wrist ligament, which required surgery and had a six-to-eight week recovery timeline. He was placed on injured reserve to start the 2017 season. Ray was activated in October but placed back on IR following a third surgery on his wrist, which ended his season.

Denver declined to pick up Ray’s fifth-year contract option in May 2018 and one month later he underwent another wrist surgery. That sidelined Ray for three months and kept teams away from him for the entire schedule.

Baltimore brought Ray to training camp in 2019, but he was released during final roster cuts. His stint with the Ravens is the last time Ray was with a NFL franchise.

Through 49 career NFL games, Ray has 94 tackles, 14 sacks, two forced fumbles, two recovered fumbles, two pass deflections and scored one defensive touchdown, making 15 starts.

Over his time in the NFL, Ray has earned over $9.3 million dollars. He is scheduled to $70,000 base salary with a $10,000 housing bonus next season with Toronto.

The NFL option window opened on Monday, Dec. 13, 2021 and will remain open until 12:01 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022. CFL players are able to work out for NFL teams during this period even if they are under contract with a team north of the border.