Best Oakland Raiders Fit in 2015 NFL Draft, Leonard Williams


: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Even though receiver seems to be the consensus pick for the Raiders in many Mock Drafts, USC Defensive Tackle/Defensive End Leonard Williams is not a prospect worth passing on. Most would agree the Raiders have equally glaring holes at receiver and defensive tackle. Hence, Leonard Williams is the best fit for the Oakland Raiders in the 2015 draft, when they select No. 4 overall.

A defensive line that was terrible at rushing the passer could use some help, especially after the Raiders released veteran Antonio Smith and missing out on Ndamukong Suh. Should Williams be available, defensive-minded Head Coach Jack Del Rio will not pass on him.

Long seen as the can’t miss prospect in the draft, the drawn out draft process has led to some finding holes in his game. Even well most will admit he is the best defensive player in the draft, many have question marks. Bleacher Report Analysis Christopher Hansen said their is risk to drafting him in the top five, but there is always risk draft any player at No. 5.

Others have chimed in also, saying he is a great player but not a once in a lifetime specimen or pass rusher like J.J. Watt, Ndamukong Suh, or Gerald McCoy.

Even if he isn’t those players, the other comparison that has been made is Richard Seymour. Seymour single-handily made the Raiders relevant with his tenacity, versatility and football IQ. Williams could do the same for Oakland even as a rookie, as everyone raves about his versatility and football smarts.

One of the biggest knocks on Williams’ has been his lack of a specified position. Forget the fact that he played NT, DT, and DE with a USC Trojan program both the Raiders’ defensive coordinator and head coach have ties to. With Del Rio and Ken Norton Jr. having elements of the 3-4 and 4-3 defense, that should be an asset for the Raiders rather than a short coming. They’ll utilize him across the line, as a three-technique in pass rushing situations or end in run situations.

Moreover, people knock is inability to rush the passer, because he played more two-gap and horizontally at USC, opposed to vertically and rushing the passer. Regardless, with Khalil Mack playing more at defensive end, Williams could be the perfect run stopping compliment to protect the sometimes undersized Mack.

Even if there are more polished pass rushers like Dante Fowler, Vic Beasley or Shane Ray, each have far more questions at the next level than Williams. Williams should also develop as a puss rusher, especially if Khalil Mack continues making strides and demanding double teams. Williams can improve his hands and pad-level at the next level. What can’t be taught is his combination of size, speed and length, which were all displayed at the combine.

Plus, just ask Terrance Knighton, Kris Jenkins and John Henderson how important run stuffing tackles are in Del Rio’s defenses. Dan Williams might already be the next big run stuffer, but who wouldn’t fear a Williams Wall in the middle of the defense?

Speaking of Dan Williams, Free Agency already showed Del Rio wants to build this team’s identity around the front seven. The head coach targeted many and signed three key players to bolster the defensive line and line backing corps. Leonard Williams could easily be the last spark plug in an imposing front seven.

Either way, the Raiders have to hope Williams is available when they select at number four. The Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars could easily find roles for Williams within their schemes. However, they also have other glaring needs that may allow them to skip on Williams.

Not to mention, you can’t put a price on the fact that Williams has already said he wants to be a Raider.

Therefore, If he is available, the Raiders should not hesitate making Williams the No. 4 pick.