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Leonard Williams | Defensive Tackle

Team: USC Trojans
Age / DOB:  (20) / 6/20/1994
Ht / Wt:  6'5' / 300

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USC DL Leonard Williams is "safe because of the scheme versatility and the fact that he hasn't even fully developed as a pass-rusher yet," noted ESPN's Mel Kiper.
"I know some think Danny Shelton is a safer defensive lineman as a pure oversized clogger in the middle, but Williams is a devastating run-defender who controls multiple gaps and creates a push of penetration regardless of where he lines up," Kiper wrote, basically calling Williams the draft's safest player. That opinion is shared by many. Williams is a surefire top-five pick, and he likely won't escape the top three. Mar 30 - 9:15 PM

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The MMQB's Andy Benoit was impressed by USC DL Leonard Williams' fundamentals when breaking down his tape.

Benoit astutely points out Williams is not the caliber of athlete that some say he is. We have written that Williams, who is 20 years old, tested like an average athlete for his position. But, Williams does win with length, strength hand use and "fundamentals," as Benoit notes. Be sure to click the link for a detailed breakdown.
Source: The MMQB
Mar 25 - 1:58 PM

USC DL Leonard Williams "should be able to match the athleticism with the power and become a consistent Pro Bowler with a ceiling that goes even higher than that," writes NFL Media draft analyst Lance Zierlein.

Williams ranks as the class' best defensive lineman, according to the analyst (and, well, everyone else). "Enormously powerful defensive lineman," Zierlein wrote. "Has the look and feel of the biggest, strongest kid on the playground but hasn't figured out how to unlock his natural gifts and consistently dominate the rest of the kids on the playground just yet. Williams can play in an odd or even front, and is able to hold the point as a two-gapper or disrupt upfield." The analyst compares Leonard Williams to Kevin Williams. He isn't the only one who thinks so. "You can't over-think this one. It doesn't matter how raw he is because he's got freakish qualities that are rare for men his size. I think he has a chance to be as good as Kevin Williams. That's his comp," said an NFC Director of Scouting.
Mar 24 - 12:47 AM

NFL Media named USC DL Leonard Williams the "safest prospect in the draft."

This is pretty much the consensus opinion. "You don't get to the position of being rated the top overall prospect in the draft unless NFL scouts need a magnifying glass to find any concerns," wrote College Football 24/7 writer Chase Goodbread. "He also has the versatility to play multiple spots on the defensive line, which will help him stay on the field for all three downs. If Williams isn't ready to make a difference as a rookie, nobody is." Williams could go as high as No. 2 to the Titans. If Marcus Mariota (or, we suppose, someone else) is taken in that slot, Williams isn't likely to get past the Jaguars at No. 3.
Mar 19 - 5:05 PM

Commenting on USC DL Leonard Williams,'s Frank Cooney suggested that "anybody compared to J.J. Watt should be a top-three draft prospect."

"Williams might be a game-changer from anywhere along the front line, but seems best suited to play a five-technique end in a base 3-4," Cooney wrote. The analyst noted that the Trojan prospect's "raw athleticism, agility and strength is destructive from any position on any defensive line" and added NFL scouts compare him to Gerald McCoy (Tampa Bay, No. 3, 2010). Williams could go as high as No. 2 to the Titans. "I do believe that I should be the No. 1 overall pick. At the same time it depends on what guy a team needs. Some teams need a quarterback more than others," Williams said.
Source: CBS Sports
Mar 15 - 5:38 PM

The Tennessee Titans "spent a lot of time" with USC DL Leonard Williams at Wednesday's pro day, according to TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline.

If Pauline is to be believed about Williams' pro day workout -- he is -- the Titans brass walked away extremely impressed. "Williams was dominant in drills today," Pauline wrote on Wednesday. "He was explosive, powerful and looked very athletic. His balance and body control are exceptional." The 6-foot-5, 302-pound Williams has been compared to J.J. Watt, Gerald McCoy, Richard Seymour and Calais Campbell. He's certainly in play to go No. 2 to the Titans. If he doesn't, he'll only fall a slot or two further.
Mar 13 - 9:36 PM

USC DL Leonard Williams is the "most intriguing" prospect in the 2015 class, according to NFL Media's Lance Zierlein.

Williams "has (the) ideal frame and can play in almost any spot along the defensive line," Zierlein writes. "Tape is good, not great, but his raw talent and projection have teams excited." Williams is widely regarded as the top defensive prospect in the draft, but it might be worthwhile to take a step back and see if groupthink is occurring here. Williams has ridiculous strength to control his opponent on counter moves, the question is his burst off the snap to win immediately.
Mar 12 - 11:27 AM

USC DL Leonard Williams only recorded one QB hit and two hurries on 3rd and long snaps in 2014, according to PFF.

He also did not register a sack in this area. Obviously it is a very select number of snaps, but it could be a number worthy of your attention. Despite the glowing praise Williams receives, Rotoworld and other evaluators have questioned the DL's explosiveness to disrupt. Some place that on a reactive scheme, but Williams tested like an average athlete. That is not to say Williams isn't a good prospect. He absolutely is thanks to powerful hands, length and ability to shed.
Mar 5 - 12:09 PM

ESPN's Todd McShay believes USC DL Leonard Williams "is the most dominant and complete player in this class, at any position."

"He's really big at 6-5, 302 pounds, and his 34 5/8-inch arms are essential for the 5-technique defensive end position in a 3-4 alignment (his best projection, in my opinion, although he has the versatility to play all over the line), and for him to run a 4.97 40-yard dash at that size is just silly," McShay wrote. "I don't think he'll end up as the No. 1 overall pick, because the Bucs will likely take a quarterback, but he's in the mix for the Titans at No. 2 or the Jaguars at No. 3." Not many disagree, but NFL Films' Greg Cosell is one of them. He recently said Williams is not great in space, gets moved by double teams, isn't an explosive player, plays high and isn't a natural pass rusher.
Mar 3 - 8:56 PM

ESPN's Todd McShay wrote that USC DL Leonard Williams "made it really difficult for the Titans to pass on him with the workout he turned in [at the combine]."

Tennessee, of course, holds the No. 2 pick. Assuming the Bucs take Jameis Winston No. 1, they are faced now with a dilemma: Should they fill a gaping hole at QB by taking Marcus Mariota, take arguably the draft's best overall player in Williams, or trade down to a team that desperately wants to make that decision themselves? "No matter how good you think Williams is, the bottom line is that you need to have a quarterback to win in this league," McShay wrote. "If Winston is off the board, the Titans are going to have to choose between drafting and developing Mariota or continuing to develop second-year guy Zach Mettenberger. I absolutely think that coach Ken Whisenhunt's experience and preference of working with pro-style dropback passers could be a deterrent in picking Mariota, as that isn't Mariota's game at this point in his career."
Mar 2 - 7:27 PM

NFL Films' Greg Cosell said USC DL Leonard Williams is not great in space and gets moved by double teams.

"I'm not blown away by Leonard Williams," Cosell said. He added that Williams isn't an explosive player. Instead, according to Cosell, Williams plays high and isn't a natural pass rusher. "I think he's a flash player," Cosell said. "I don't see him as a purely explosive player the way you think of Gerald McCoy coming out of Oklahoma or Sheldon Richardson coming out of Missouri." The analyst added that Williams isn't a bad player, but is not a "Hall of Famer."
Feb 25 - 7:42 PM

An NFL scout cautions that USC DL Leonard Williams is "not (Ndamukong) Suh."

"He's not a gigantic guy," the scout said. "He's athletic. He moves around good. He played inside and was getting doubled and held and everything else." The 6-foot-5, 302-pound Williams has been compared to J.J. Watt, Gerald McCoy, Richard Seymour and Calais Campbell. "Probably the most talented player on the defensive side of the ball," said one scout. "He's an end and a three-technique. He's quick, strong and plays athletic."
Feb 22 - 6:41 PM

USC DL Leonard Williams measured 6-foot-5, 302 pounds at the NFL Combine.

Williams boasts 34 5/8" arms and 10 5/8" hands. All of these measurements are elite, as is the stud prospect's athleticism, which is why many analysts grade him as the year's best overall talent. Williams has been compared to a disparate list of NFL studs ranging from J.J. Watt and Gerald McCoy to Richard Seymour and Calais Campbell. Williams himself said Friday that he patterns his game after Watt.
Feb 20 - 8:12 PM

USC DL Leonard Williams said that Houston Texan's JJ Watt "is the one NFL player he tries to base his game after," according to CBS Sports' Dane Brugler.

Over the last couple of months, Williams as been compared to the likes of J.J. Watt, Gerald McCoy and Richard Seymour. The USC prospect is a combination of elite strength, athleticism and length, and offers NFL teams a versatile chess piece who can play anywhere along the line. The 6-foot-5, 300-pounder and his freakish skill-set, is most likely a top-3 pick in this year's draft.
Feb 20 - 2:48 PM

ESPN's Mel Kiper wrote that the Titans are "in a position to take the best football player available" and mocked them USC DL Leonard Williams at No. 2.

"I am not convinced Tennessee will be compelled to take Marcus Mariota here just because they aren't convinced that, say, Zach Mettenberger's development is still an open question," Kiper wrote. "This is a team that went backwards in multiple areas in 2014, and unless you believe Mariota comes in and is able to make you better in 2015, I think you're in a position to take the best football player available. Williams has the potential to be a force early in his career, make your defensive line better against both the run and the pass, bring scheme versatility and make other players around him better. If Winston is available, he becomes an option, and trading down is certainly one if there's a team who that wants Mariota. But Williams makes sense."'s Steve Muench recently compared Williams to Seattle defensive lineman Michael Bennett. We've also heard Williams compared to J.J. Watt, Gerald McCoy and Richard Seymour.
Feb 11 - 8:21 PM