The Jacksonville Jaguars recently had a slew of NFL Draft prospects in for a visit, including USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams, who many feel could be the best overall player in the draft. There's some thought that he could fall to the Jaguars at the No. 3 overall pick if the Tennessee Titans decide to pick a quarterback or trade out of the No. 2 overall pick and some comments by Williams make his potential pick by Jacksonville a little more interesting that previously thought.
When I made my pick in the SB Nation blogger mock draft, I passed on Williams for LEO end Vic Beasley because that's one area the team has yet to address in the offseason and he's a perfect fit, citing that I felt Williams would be redundant with what the Jaguars did in free agency with Jared Odrick and re-signing Tyson Alualu.
Recently though, Williams noted in a sit down interview with Jaguars.com's Brian Sexton that defensive line coach told him the team feels he can play all over the defensive line, but liked him at the three-technique position, currently manned by the recovering Sen'Derrick Marks and Ziggy Hood, who the team signed in free agency last season.
This changes the view of Williams at No. 3 a bit, at least for me.
Previously the thought was that Williams would fit mainly at the five technique (aka the big end) in the Jaguars scheme and while he can play there if need be, the team viewing him as an interior pass rusher changes things. With Marks coming off an ACL injury he's probably going to be ready for the beginning of the season, as big lineman tend to recover a bit fast from ACL tears than skill position players, but Marks was a player who thrived off his first step and that could not be there for a few weeks, even if he's playing Week 1.
Williams did quite a bit of two-gapping in the Trojans defense, which means he was more oriented as a run stuffer, but he did show flashes of being able to rush the passer from the interior and the Jaguars don't two-gap much, outside of the nose tackle position (Roy Miller). He's more of a power player than an explosion player like Marks and could be the long term replacement for Marks, or even the short-term replacement if he's not able to fully get back the first step that made him such a good player in the Jaguars scheme. Williams offers the ability to move to the nose position and offer good run stopping ability, but much more pass rush than Miller. Kind of like the trade off from Red Bryant to Odrick.
I still think someone like Beasley would be the best fit/value pick for the Jaguars at No. 3 overall, but with Williams being viewed as a 3T by the Jags, him being the pick at No. 3 overall makes a little bit more sense.