Leonard Williams, USC's most heralded draft prospect since Reggie Bush, has been ranked the No. 1 prospect in the 2015 draft class according to Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com. While this board is not a Mock Draft polling prospective NFL general managers, Jeremiah is strictly judging these players based off his own evaluations.
Topping the list of talented player is Leonard Williams, the two-time All-American who had 80 tackles this season, 9.5 for losses, with a team-high seven sacks. He also forced three fumbles, nabbed an interception and recorded a whopping 218 tackles (36.5 for loss) in a stellar three-year career. Needless to say, Williams was a man against boys at the college level, and that dominance immediately caught Jeremiah's attention.
Williams has outstanding height, bulk and length. He could easily carry 320 pounds on his frame. He lines up at defensive end, and will also slide inside and rush from the interior. He is extremely explosive and dominant versus both run and pass. Against the run, he quickly shoots his hands to stack and steer blockers before aggressively freeing himself to make tackles. He has the quickness to split double teams, as well as the power to anchor down and hold the point of attack. As a pass rusher, he wins with pure power or a variety of quick hand moves. His effort is solid. He has a rare combination of athleticism, power and versatility, and should have an immediate impact.
Nebraska's Randy Gregory, the junior outside linebacker who was limited to four tackles (zero sacks) in the Holiday Bowl, finished second in the list, which will certainly change in the weeks to come before the NFL Draft. He was followed by a tandem of big-play wide outs, West Virgina's Kevin White and the Biletnikoff Award Winner Amari Cooper.
In this particular ranking, underclassmen were sprinkled all over the top of the draft board. Another name of note was Oregon defensive tackle Arik Armstead, the former USC commit from the 2011 recruiting class. But on that same note, recent draft declare Nelson Agholor, USC's leading pass catcher, ranked No. 40 overall on Jeremiah's big board.
While Agholor may rank lower in terms of the actual mock draft, projected as a second to third round pick, the upside is very promising and NFL teams love his pure route-running ability. One NFL scout even told Jeremiah that Agholor reminds them of a young Reggie Wayne in a way he gets in and out of cuts. The biggest concern, according to some scouts, is the lack of field awareness exhibited from the junior wide receiver.
A total of 11 players from the Pac-12 conference made the list, beating out all but the SEC (12) in Jeremiah's rankings. This is of course a talent-driven and tool-laden list, and not necessarily a total indication of the NFL Draft. Our case in point is that Williams' was slotted No. 5 overall to the Washington Redskins in Jeremiah's recent mock draft.