Leonard Williams Picked Sixth by Jets in NFL Draft


Leonard Williams was drafted by the New York Jets with the No. 6 pick in the 2015 NFL draft Thursday night.

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Williams, who was present in Chicago for the draft, is the first USC player selected in the first round since Matt Kalil was chosen fourth overall in 2012.

The “Big Cat” was passed over by his dream team the Oakland Raiders in favor of Amari Cooper after Tennesee and Jacksonville also chose to address team needs instead of grabbing Williams. He continued to fall as the Washington Redskins picked offensive lineman Brandon Scherff.

The Jets, however, jumped at the chance to grab the player considered by many to be the top player in the entire draft.

Though New York was expected to target a more pure pass rusher in the draft, Williams’ tumble will no doubt help bolster an already strong defensive front.

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At 6-5, 300 pounds, Williams is a uniquely gifted NFL prospect with plenty of room to grow and polish his game. A string of injuries dampened his production in college to a point. However, his willingness to play through pain and relentless love of the game have overshadowed any concerns the injury record might have presented.

The two-time USC All-American had a stellar career with the Trojans, starting all three years. During that time he amassed 218 tackles, 36.5 tackles for loss including 21 sacks, seven deflections, five forced fumbles and two interceptions.

In his final season he was named USC’s MVP and earned his second All-Pac-12 first team selection.

Williams is the first of several Trojans expected to hear their name called in the draft. Wide receiver Nelson Agholor is projected as a potential first round pick while Josh Shaw, Buck Allen, Hayes Pullard, J.R. Tavai, Randall Telfer, George Farmer and Aundrey Walker are all draft-eligible.