Leonard Williams NFL Draft Stock: Going Up or Down?


With the 2015 NFL Draft less than ten days away, Leonard Williams waits to learn the location of his new home in the pros as numerous scenarios present themselves.

From the beginning, Williams’ pro prospects were clear.

An instant success at USC, Williams started nine times as a freshman on the defensive line with eight sacks. In the first of many collegiate honors, he was named the Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year.

As a sophomore, Williams continued to dominate in the trenches. He earned All-American honors at tackle despite playing with a nagging shoulder injury for much of the year. Leading the team with 13.5 tackles for loss and six sacks, he was named USC’s Defensive Lineman of the Year.

Williams completed his final season at USC as a second-time All-American and the team’s MVP. He led all Trojans with seven sacks on the year to go along with three forced fumbles.

Feb 22, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Southern California Trojans defensive lineman Leonard Williams goes through a workout drill during the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Stock Watch:

Even as a sophomore, Williams was projected as a high draft pick. That hype has only grown.

Since declaring for the draft in December, there has been little question about Williams place in the first round.

In fact, Williams remains a consensus top five pick and is considered by many to be the best player available.

The biggest puzzle to solve has been where Williams fits into the draft compared to the top quarterbacks available.

With Jameis Winston all but assured to go to Tampa Bay with the first pick, the plans of the Tennessee Titans at second have taken center stage.

Tennessee could very decide to go with the best player available, which would likely see them call Williams’ name.

Should the Titans set their sights on a quarterback, namely Marcus Mariota, Williams could fall to either the Jacksonville Jaguars or the Oakland Raiders.

A slip further than Oakland at No. 4 would be a surprise, but the silver and black have made head scratching decisions before and opting to take a receiver over Williams would not be among their worst.

Should that happen, it is hard to imagine Washington passing over the diamond that will have fallen into their lap.

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Finding the Best Fit:

Williams has stated on the record that he would love to play for the Raiders. The fit makes sense from a football perspective as well. New head coach Jack Del Rio would be eager to have a dynamic player like Williams on his squad to line up alongside Khalil Mack.

Still, Williams is so versatile, the case can be made that he will fit in wherever he is picked and wherever he is played.

Draft analyst Mike Mayock argues that he would fit Tennesee “like a glove.” Meanwhile, Jacksonville’s 4-3 offers multiple positions where Williams could thrive as the main man.