While QB Jameis Winston and QB Marcus Mariota grab the spotlight (and maybe even the top 2 picks), and all the various wide receivers get the most analysis so teams can truly rank them, there is one position that is incredibly easy to predict. The best DE in the draft comes from USC. But how big a talent is he compared to all other players?
USC DE Leonard Williams is a 6’5″ 302 lbs force to be reckoned with. His incredible power and surprising athletism make him one of the scariest defenders to cover. He has been gifted with incredible physical tools that he uses over his skill level which is still quite raw. His brute force makes up for all his weaknesses as he is almost guaranteed to get to the quarterback is single covered and no running back has a good chance to overpower past him.
He is a 2 time First-Team All American and All Pac-12. He recorded 64 tackles and eight sacks during his freshman year including 13 for loss. He improved with 13.5 tackles for loss in 2013, 74 total tackles and 6 sacks earning him his first all american nomination. As a junior he recorded 80 tackles and 7 sacks and was named team MVP, All American and All Pac-12 once again.
Tampa Bay has considered Williams as a possibility but they are short at QB after the debacle that was QB Josh Mccown. The Tennessee Titans would be a perfect fit for Williams but there is once more a need at QB for them unless they are serious about giving QB Zach Mettenberger another shot at running the position. The Jacksonville Jaguars at N.3 would make the mistake of a lifetime if they pass up on a player with his physical abilities. Clearly a position in need for them the Jaguars can’t pass up on Williams.
DE Leonard Williams might be projected to go N.3, but if you take the needs of teams away and focus on drafting the best available player, I don’t think either of the Heisman Trophy winners edge out Leonard Williams for the top pick.