By Danny Cox
Name: Leonard Williams
Weight: 302 lbs.
Position: Defensive Tackle/End
Draft Pick: Sixth overall in First Round
The New York Jets needed to do a number of things in the offseason to help improve upon the last season, which ended up being a total loss. A number of moves were made, but one of the most important was the selection of the 2015 NFL Draft of USC defensive end Leonard Williams.
With the sixth overall pick, the Jets selected Williams, who is expected to have an immediate impact on the team’s defense and should contribute a lot as a rookie. He will likely move inside to defensive tackle, but he has the ability to play either position.
Williams attended Mainland High School in Daytona Beach, Florida, where he excelled in football and also took part in track. His senior season showed that he was going to be a welcome addition to any college team after he recorded 103 tackles and 10.5 sacks.
Leonard Williams headed to USC and started nine of 13 games as a true freshman at defensive tackle. In just his first season in college ball, he racked up 64 tackles, eight sacks, and an interception en route to being named the Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year.
He was named a first-team All-Pac-12 selection and ESPN All-American after a sophomore season that saw him record 74 tackles and six sacks. Williams got even better as a junior where had had seven sacks to go along with 80 tackles.
It’s not surprising that his junior season was his last in college, as he was named the USC Trojans team MVP, first team All-Pac-12 and an All-American. He declared for the draft after forgoing his senior year, and Williams was immediately projected as a Top-5 selection.
The Jets selected Williams with the sixth overall pick in the draft, and he signed his new contract very quickly afterward.
Some believe that he may not end up starting right away for the Jets, even though he could start for the majority of other teams in the NFL. Muhammad Wilkerson has the starting spot and Williams will likely end up as a third-down lineman, but will likely get more playing time as the season goes on.
The New York Jets are going to come up with some different defensive schemes to get Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, and Williams all on the field at the same time. A defensive line or front seven consisting of those three guys could end up being one of the best in the league.
Leonard Williams is a defensive lineman who has good size to go along with great speed and some fantastic agility. It may not come early on in the 2015-2016 season, but Williams is going to prove himself and be on the field a lot before the year is up.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.