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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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One NFL scout called USC junior DL Leonard Williams "the real deal" after watching him in person.
"He's got a great body, quick off the ball. He did have that shoulder surgery, so he's a little bit behind strength-wise, but he still has plenty of strength," the scout said. "He's got tremendous upside, and he's definitely a consideration for that top pick." He then highlighted the Arizona tape as the one to watch. We are not saying he is a comparable prospect skill wise, but look for Williams to play a J.J. Watt type role for an NFL team. Nov 21 - 8:49 AM
Source: LA Times

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CBS Sports' Dane Brugler notes that USC junior DL Leonard Williams' skill-set is "exactly what NFL teams covet in the trenches."

"The stats for the "Big Cat" aren't striking, but he has also toughed through an ankle injury most of the season and his flexibility, movement skills and point of attack strength are exactly what NFL teams covet in the trenches," Brugler wrote. The 6-foot-5, 300-pound Williams has a team-best 6.0 sacks on the season, but has been battling through an ankle injury all year. Brugler adds that, Williams "is the most likely player to hear his name called first at the podium by the commissioner."
Source: CBS Sports
Nov 20 - 2:36 PM

CBS Sports' Rob Rang wrote that through 10 games, USC junior DL Leonard Williams has been "the best player [he's] seen on the field this season."

Williams has been sitting atop Rang's draft board for most of the season. The CBS Sports' analyst wrote that "[Williams is] too quick for guards and too strong for tackles, wreaking havoc along the line of scrimmage against the run and pass." Williams is a physical specimen at 6-foot-5, 300 pounds and has been compared to, among others, J.J. Watt, Gerald McCoy and Richard Seymour. If he's not selected with the first pick, he will still almost certainly go within the Top-5.
Source: CBS Sports
Nov 19 - 6:01 PM's Bryan Fischer wrote that USC junior DL Leonard Williams "flashed a lot of the attributes that have NFL scouts buzzing" in Thursday's win over Cal.

Fischer noted that "although [Williams] didn't have the big stat line that his teammates did, defensive lineman Leonard Williams continued to shine [on Thursday]." The big stat lines that Fischer's referring to came from offensive teammates Cody Kessler and Nelson Agholor. Williams had 1.5 sacks. "He played both defensive end and tackle and was able to create a consistent push on every snap. If he wasn't getting to the quarterback...he was shedding blocks and wrapping up ball carriers. At one point, Cal attempted to run a play away from him and block him one-on-one, but Williams still ended up making a play" observed Fischer. The 6-foot-5, 300-pound junior is expected to go in the Top-10 in the draft and could well be selected with the first pick.
Nov 14 - 5:44 PM

USC junior DL Leonard Williams recorded 1.5 sacks in the school's 38-30 win over Cal.

Williams was injured with a high ankle sprain to start the season but still managed to make an impact. It likely hurt his get off and ability to drive on counter moves. Now healthier, Williams continues to look great and will almost certainly be selected in the top 10 this spring.
Nov 14 - 9:48 AM

According to Football Outsiders' Aaron Shatz, the Oakland Raiders landed the No. 1 draft pick in 53.6% of his projections.

Football Outsiders simulated the remainder of the NFL season 2,000 times and Oakland ended up with the first pick in 53.6% of projections. The next three highest percentage chances came for the Tampa Buccaneers (20.7%), Jacksonville Jaguars (17.5%) and the New York Jets (4.9%). In CBS Sports' mock drafts, Oakland is projected to draft USC junior DL Leonard Williams.
Nov 13 - 8:05 PM

Inside USC's Scott Wolf reports that USC junior DL Leonard Williams was named as one of the nine semifinalists for the Lott Trophy.

The Lott trophy is presented to the nation’s defensive player who best represents integrity, maturity, performance, academics, community and tenacity. The versatile 6-foot-5, 300-pound Williams is looking like he could be a top 10 or 5 selection in next year's draft. The USC prospect has been compared to the likes of J.J. Watt, Gerald McCoy and Richard Seymour.
Nov 12 - 3:00 PM

USC junior DL Leonard Williams remained limited in practice this week with a shoulder injury, but is expected to play versus Washington State.

Williams has battled injuries all season, but you would not be able to tell with his play. The ultra talented defensive linemen moves between gaps and wins at each, which is true versatility.
Oct 30 - 10:53 AM

One AFC scout told NFL media he has zero concerns or questions regarding USC junior DL Leonard Williams' motor.

"You always worry about motor with defensive linemen... When I watch Leonard Williams play, I see Richard Seymour," the scout said. You will see Williams listed as a defensive end in many rankings, but he will almost certainly play a 5 or 3 technique role for an odd or multiple front. If everything checks out, look for Williams to be a top 10 or 5 selection.
Oct 30 - 9:35 AM

CBS Sports' Rob Rang calls USC junior DL Leonard Williams a "physical mismatch" who could entice the Raiders at the number one pick.

The Raiders are set at quarterback with Derek Carr. Rang sees as Williams as a "physical mismatch too quick for interior lineman and too powerful for offensive tackles" to handle. Rang previously noted that scouts were comparing the 6-foot-5, 290-pound junior to such current NFL studs as J.J. Watt and Gerald McCoy. A prime example of Williams' ability to dominate came several weeks back, when he recorded eleven tackles and a sack against Stanford, earning him Pac-12 Player of the Week honors.
Source: CBS Sports
Oct 29 - 4:46 PM

TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline reports that it's a "foregone conclusion" that USC junior DL Leonard Williams will enter the draft.

As a top-10 lock, a top-five probable, and a top-three possibility, this comes as no surprise. CBS Sports' Rob Rang wrote earlier this week that Williams "is earning comparisons from scouts to everyone from [J.J.] Watt to Tampa Bay defensive tackle Gerald McCoy." Meanwhile,'s Daniel Jeremiah says he sees Richard Seymour in Williams. Either way, Williams will be a dominant pro.
Oct 24 - 6:02 PM

USC junior DL Leonard Williams reminds NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah of Richard Seymour.

Williams will almost certainly play a similar role in the NFL. Seymour played at a high level in both even and odd man fronts, and we have seen Williams show true versatility by winning from multiple gaps and techniques. He has strength and agility to work at the line of scrimmage and in the backfield.
Oct 23 - 12:23 PM

USC junior DL Leonard Williams "is earning comparisons from scouts to everyone from [J.J.] Watt to Tampa Bay defensive tackle Gerald McCoy," according to CBS Sports' Rob Rang.

"The best player in the NFL this season very well may be Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, but if teams were allowed to draft veterans, a number of Pro Bowl quarterbacks would be selected ahead of him," Rang wrote. "The 2015 NFL Draft could demonstrate the same value of the game's most important position. While Southern Cal defensive end Leonard Williams has been the most impressive player I've seen this season, quarterbacks Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston are more likely to generate wins for their future NFL franchises." Williams might be the draft's safest prospect, a player who could be a Pro Bowler in Year 1, but, for the reasons Rang mentioned, he isn't likely to go No. 1 overall. Williams has collected 45 tackles, including five for loss and 4.5 sacks this season.
Source: CBS Sports
Oct 22 - 8:26 PM

SI's Chris Burke believes USC junior DL Leonard Williams projects as a defensive tackle in the NFL.

Last week, while ranking Williams as his No. 1 overall prospect, ESPN's Todd McShay wrote that Williams' "best projection is as a 5-technique defensive end, but he has the quickness and point-of-attack skills to perform inside as a 3-technique." Basically, that means J.J. Watt's role. "The discussion is not indicative of any uncertainty surrounding Williams' game, but rather confirmation of his wide-ranging game," Burke wrote.
Oct 21 - 10:15 PM

USC junior DL Leonard Williams is the new No. 1 prospect on Todd McShay's board.

"Williams moves up to the No. 1 spot in this week's rankings, as we've had more of an opportunity to watch his performance," McShay writes. We all know Williams is an outstanding talent and even made an impact despite a fairly serious leg injury. McShay believes Williams's best projection is as a 5-technique end while seeing some time inside at 3-technique. In layman's terms, this is a similar role to JJ Watt. We aren;t saying he is of an equal talent, but expect teams to select him accordingly. Marcus Mariota dropped one spot to No. 2.
Source: ESPN
Oct 15 - 2:34 PM