The Atlanta Falcons’ top brass has been traveling a lot over the past week to work out a number of prospects across the country. Today they are set to work out a pair of UCLA defenders in linebacker Eric Kendricks and defensive end Owa Odighizuwa. But according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, they are also set to meet with Southern California defensive tackle Leonard Williams as well, since they are already in the Los Angeles area.
Williams is considered by many to be the best player in the entire 2015 NFL Draft class, topping the rankings of ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah and also has the highest grade of any player in NFL.com’s player database. He also appears second behind quarterback Jameis Winston on Scouts, Inc.’s and Rob Rang of CBS Sports’ rankings.
The two-time All-American impacted early at USC, starting nine games as a true freshman. He finished that year with 64 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks. He was a first team All-Pac-12 and third team All-American selection as a sophomore with 74 tackles, 13.5 for loss and six sacks. He would once again earn first team All-Pac-12 as well as second team All-American honors as a junior in 2014 with 80 tackles, 9.5 for loss and seven sacks. Williams also finished his career with a combined two interceptions, eight pass breakups and five forced fumbles.
The 6’5″ 308-pound defensive tackle possesses a large and long frame, thanks to possessing arms that measure nearly 35 inches. He clocked a 4.97-second 40 at the Combine in February, but his other athletic drills weren’t overly impressive with 29.5-inch vertical and 8-foot, 10-inch broad jump. He did not participate in the bench press due to lingering shoulder issues from the season.
Williams could prove a versatile asset to the Falcons should he fall to the eighth overall pick where the team selects. Many contend that Williams is a natural fit as a defensive end in a 3-4 scheme, but could potentially play left defensive end as well as inside at tackle in Dan Quinn’s 4-3 scheme here in Atlanta.