Leonard Williams Won’t Fall to Raiders, According to Draft Buzz
By Chase Ruttig
Oakland Raiders fans are hoping for a repeat of 2014 where a highly sought after pass rusher falls into their laps in the late half of the Top 5, with eyes on USC’s Leonard Williams at the fourth overall selection in the minds of Raider Nation going into Thursday. A player who has made it known he would love to become a Raider high on the wishlists of fans who are hoping general manager Reggie McKenzie can pair Mack with another top pass rusher in Williams to set the future of the defensive front for years to come.
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However, those dreams may not become reality on Thursday night in Chicago as buzz is building that the Tennessee Titans or the Jacksonville Jaguars will pull the trigger on Williams. Something that would put the Raiders just a few picks away from a top target and change their draft plans if Williams is truly high on their board for the fourth overall pick.
Sirius XM NFL Radio producer (and Raiders fan) Eddie Borsilli tweeted on Wednesday afternoon that rumblings are picking up that Williams will not be falling far in the first round. At least not far enough for the Raiders to select the Trojans star at #4, with it looking like a very likely possibility that Tennessee or Jacksonville decide to go with pass rush with their second and third overall selections respectively.
The hope for the Raiders is that if Williams is not selected that Alabama wideout Amari Cooper is left for them at the fourth overall selection, giving them one of the top non-quarterbacks in the 2015 class if they do miss out on the defensive lineman. If Tennessee takes Williams that may be unlikely as the Jaguars need to get a number one wideout of their own for 2014 first round quarterback Blake Bortles and surely would be looking at Cooper to fill that role if Williams is off the board. Something that would seriously complicate the Raiders plans with the fourth pick.
Anything can happen tomorrow, so nobody should panic just yet as the Raiders could still have a chance at both players, but if Marcus Mariota does not go in the Top 3 either by selection or by trade with another team it is looking like Reggie McKenzie will have to look at the other prospects inside the Top 10 or explore trade down options. Fans looking for celebration of a Williams or Cooper pick should be a bit nervous over the next 24 plus hours, but until it is official nobody knows what will happen. Even if it is looking like either the Titans or the Jaguars will steal at least one of the highly coveted prospects from the Raiders before they pick on Thursday night in Chicago.