Leonard Williams wasn’t surprised Raiders didn’t draft him


Coming out of the University of Southern California as the top-ranked defensive prospect, defensive lineman Leonard Williams made it public that he would have been more than happy to go to his childhood team in the Oakland Raiders. The California native hoping that his high draft ranking could see him land on a team that he grew up dreaming to play for before becoming one of college football’s most hyped prospects as a USC Trojan.

That dream did not become a reality as after drafting Khalil Mack in the first round in 2014, general manager Reggie McKenzie felt it was a bigger need to draft a weapon for quarterback Derek Carr rather than to bolster the defensive line by drafting Williams. Ending the narrative of Williams going to his childhood team by selecting Amari Cooper with the fourth overall pick.

So far that move has panned out nicely for McKenzie and the Raiders as Cooper has turned Derek Carr into a household name around the league while placing himself into the Offensive Rookie of the Year race. The 3-3 Raiders hoping to continue their strong start to Cooper’s first NFL season when they take on Williams’ New York Jets at the Coliseum in a game that will have early implications in the AFC Wild Card picture.

Talking about the draft process to the media, Williams said that he wasn’t surprised that the Raiders went with offensive talent in Cooper and passed on him. Adding that he feels he ended up with a good fit amongst the Jets veteran pass rushers in the end after falling a bit lower than his pre-draft projections had him going to land in New York.

Williams was vocal about his love for the Raiders growing up during his draft process, so it must have been a bit of a disappointment to get passed on after being ranked so highly during his final college season with Oakland in a position to make a dream into a reality for him. Those feelings could drive Williams to his best rookie performance at the Coliseum on Sunday, but the Raiders will be hoping their draft day decision is vindicated by Cooper and the Raiders offense getting a big victory over the Jets vaunted defense on Sunday to fully enter the Wild Card race.

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