Aug 29, 2013; Honolulu, HI, USA; Southern California Trojans defensive end Leonard Williams (94) celebrates after a sack in the second quarter against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors at Aloha Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Todd McShay Projects Leonard Williams as Top Overall Pick in 2015 NFL Draft


Big Leonard Williams wreaked havoc in the opposing backfield throughout his sophomore campaign at defensive end, thus earning him the No. 1 spot on McShay’s way-too-early 2015 NFL Mock Draft.

Standing at 6-foot-5, 290 pounds, Williams is an imposing figure on the Trojans defensive line.

After switching positions from defensive tackle to defensive end and earning All-American honors despite playing through the season with a torn labrum, Williams displayed the grit and versatility every NFL coach searches for.

Scouts rave about Williams’ unique skill set at his size and his ability to play any position along the defensive line.

Todd McShay also projected a defensive end to be the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft and his name was Jadeveon Clowney. It was interesting to see how Clowney dealt with the hype of being projected as the No. 1 overall pick and a Heisman hopeful, as he seemed to fold under the pressure and the scrutiny of the ongoing publicity.

Many scouts and analysts criticized Clowney for seemingly taking plays off. There were also questions about his willingness to play in games as injury concerns hovered.

After much debate about his worthiness of being a top overall pick, Clowney had to remind everyone of his freakish athleticism, once again, at the NFL Combine and was chosen No. 1 overall in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Williams is not nearly under the same microscope that Clowney was in last year. However, the way he handles the expectations of being projected as among the top overall picks will be interesting to follow this season.

Playing all of last season hurt, Williams said that he was “65 to 70 percent” healthy and still destroying offensive linemen, en route to becoming one of the five best Trojan players, according to USC Athletic Director, Pat Haden.

Coming off of shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum, Williams missed out on the first spring practice of the Steve Sarkisian era to recover and be fully healthy by the time fall camp rolls around.

USC, a top NFL factory, failed to produce a first-round draft pick each of the last two years. Williams looks to break that streak and continue the pipeline of dominant Trojans continuing onto the NFL.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Football Leonard Williams USC Trojans

  • Win4Ever

    Fight On!

  • RF Lee

    Great for LW!

    Hope he stays for his senior year, but we know if he has a good or great year, he is gone :/

    • Ben Factor

      My understanding was that LW came to USC as a “business decision”, because he knew there was a clear path to starting, and Orgeron had produced a bunch of high draft choices,

      I remember his first fall camp, when he was interviewed after a week and said “it isn’t as hard as I thought it would be.” And I’m sure you heard about Haden’s assessment of his skill.

      He’s gone almost no matter what happens in the upcoming season. The closest recent analogy is Matt Kalil.