2015 NFL Combine Preview: USC DE Leonard Williams


USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams is headed to the 2015 NFL Combine as one of the highest rated prospects in the NFL Draft.

What did he do at USC?

Williams was a top-level player the moment he stepped on campus at USC.

He started nine games as a freshman, logging 64 tackles, 8 sacks, and an interception. That first season earned him the Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year Award and a spot on numerous first-team Freshman All-American teams.

As a sophomore, Williams’ star rose even higher after a switch to defensive end. He led the Trojan defense upfront with 74 tackles and 13.5 tackles for loss, earning first-team All-American honors from ESPN.com. He was also named to the All-Pac-12 first team.

Coming into 2014, Williams was considered one of the preeminent lineman in college football. In his second All-American season, he logged 80 tackles and was the joint-sack leader on the team with seven despite struggling with injury throughout the season.. Unsurprisingly, he also earned All-Pac-12 first team honors and was named USC’s team MVP.

What’s his current draft stock?

Williams draft stock is as high as it could possibly be.

With comparisons to pro-bowlers Kevin Williams, Gerald McCoy and even J.J. Watt, Williams is considered the perfect blend of size, athleticism and versatility to succeed right away at the next level.

Nicknamed the “Big Cat,” Williams’ flexibility, movement skills and point of attack strength are exactly what NFL teams covet in the trenches. — CBS Sports

Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com lists him as the top prospect in the draft as does CBS Sports and a host of other draft gurus. Consistently projected among the top five picks, Williams should find himself off the board somewhere between the Tennessee Titans at No. 2 and the Washington Redskins at No. 5.

What can he improve?

NFL scouts already know that Williams is a physical freak so just showing up to the combine and doing what he does will keep him high on the board.

However, like many physically and naturally gifted athletes, there are some who question his technique and application, wondering if he relies too much on his physical superiority.

Unfortunately, he won’t be able to answer many of those questions at the combine, but he could wow scouts enough with his measurables to make those concerns fade to the back of their minds.

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