CFL Draft: Woodson eager for pro shot

CFL Draft: Woodson eager for pro shot

Brian Swane, Special to Canada West

EDMONTON - Calgary Dinos defensive back Robert Woodson can't tell you exactly how he wound up on the defensive side of the ball.

Even now he has to stop for a minute to think why it is that he tries to prevent touchdowns while his brother, Calgary Stampeders running back Anthony Woodson, tries to score them. 

The one thing Robert's sure off is how he feels about it. 

"I just always liked defence," says the Calgary native, a veteran of four seasons with the Dinos. "I don't really remember why, but in peewee and bantam I was always a defense guy and (Anthony) always liked running back. I don't know what the reason is, I guess it's just in our genes."

Heading into the Canadian Football League Draft on May 7, Robert sits No. 14 on the CFL Scouting Bureau rankings. He's tops among all DBs and is the highest-ranked defensive player from Canada West. 

"I like the reaction part of defence," says the five-foot-10, 190-pound defender. "I feel like you can play looser on defence and just react to what the offence does." 

A FAMILY AFFAIR 

The son of former Stampeders linebacker Tony Woodson, Robert has long anticipated his opportunity to play football professionally. 

"It's always been something that I really wanted to do, just because my dad and my brother played as well," he says. "It's always something that I've seen them do, so I always knew that I wanted to (play pro) since I was quite young."

QUICKER THAN MOST

At the recent CFL Combine in Regina, the speedy Woodson recorded the second-fastest time in the three-cone (7.03 seconds) and fifth-fastest in the 40-yard (4.64 seconds), while measuring one of the 10 highest verticals (35 inches).

"The Combine's interesting," he says. "There are so many things like the interview process and the scheduling of the days that you can't really prepare for, but it was what I expected, I was happy with how I did and it was a good experience." 

DEVELOPED AS A DINO

Robert has been named a Canada West All-Star each of the last two years and led the conference with five interceptions in 2015 when he was named the conference's top defensive player. This past season he gave up less than 160 yards on offensive plays directly against him. 

"I really credit the program in Calgary quite a bit for the success I've been able to have, because we have great coaches," Robert says. "My position coach (Marcello Rapini) has really allowed me to grow the last four years. My first year I didn't do that well, but he really coached me up and taught me and I think that helped me grow and get to the point I'm at now."

In his four years at the University of Calgary, Robert has already been a part of two Hardy Cup championships with the Dinos, and looks forward to sharing in another achievement. 

"It's a blessing having this opportunity," he says. "I'm just excited for draft day and just want to soak everything in and enjoy it with my teammates." 

CW CFL PROSPECT RANKINGS 

For the second consecutive season, Canada West will release a list of the top conference prospects ahead of the CFL Draft. 

Coaches from all six Canada West football programs are set to rank the conference's draft-eligible prospects. The rankings provide a glimpse into how Canada West coaches view the top players from around the conference.

The 2017 Canada West CFL Prospect Rankings are set to be released Thursday, May 4.

Over the last four years, a total of 52 Canada West football players have been selected in the CFL Draft.