Defensive End Leonard Williams
Weight: 302 lbs.
Draft Projection: 1st round
2014 stats: 80 total tackles, 48 solo and 32 assisted; 9.5 tackles for loss and 7 sacks
Williams collected quite the list of accolades during his time at USC. He was named USC's Defensive Lineman of the Year two years in a row, as well as Most Valuable Player in 2014. He was selected as one of five team captains in 2014 and was also selected for the All-Pac-12 first team. In 2012 he was named Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year and played in all 13 games of the season.
Here's what NFL.com had to say about Williams in their draft preview analysis:
Strengths: "Supremely gifted interior lineman with length, athleticism and elite power. Lined up just about everywhere along the line at one point or another. Able to jolt offensive linemen with powerful hands and is extremely hard to redirect for offensive linemen once he gets going downhill. Explosive hip snap to leverage blockers and is rarely moved from his gap. Often a read-and-react two-gapper and plays peek-a-boo with running backs while discarding blockers at will when he's ready to tackle. Too much play strength for zone blockers to cross-face him. Fires out with low pad level when playing the run and is difficult to submarine on short yardage. Has feet and brute force to recover and get back into a play after being beaten early. Dangerous pass rusher from twist game, showing big closing burst. Effort rusher who will eventually get home if single-blocked. Beginning to develop spin move as pass-rush counter. Showed intriguing potential as a pass-rushing end in space. Frame able to hold more weight and muscle."
Weaknesses: "Is a little late out of his stance off the snap. Must learn to consistently fire hands out as weapons. Slow to transition from run stopper to pass rusher when teams throw on first down. Pad level rises and legs straighten out as pass rusher. Base will narrow, slowing momentum and limiting full potential of his bull rush. Hasn't learned to set up offensive linemen or string together pass-rush moves yet. Doesn't always play to capacity and pursuit is lacking when play heads away from him. Still very raw. Wins with physical tools over skill."
Williams has been compared to NFL legend Reggie White, with one NFC scout saying "you can put him inside, outside, wherever you want to place him,'' and "you could create mismatches with him, isn't that what they used to do with Reggie?''
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