New York Jets: Leonard Williams is a safe draft pick


The New York Jets made a very interesting selection in the first-round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

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Some things went differently than expected above them in the Top-5, and that led to arguably the best defensive play in the draft to fall into their laps. The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Dante Fowler Jr. with the third overall pick. The Oakland Raiders drafted wide receiver Amari Cooper with the fourth pick, but the Jaguars pick effected the Washington Redskins.

The Redskins were expected to draft Fowler Jr., but with him off the board, they shook things up some more by drafting offensive lineman Brandon Scherff. The Jets were one of the teams that had interest in Scherff, but instead improved in the trenches on the other side of the ball.

With the sixth overall pick, the Jets were able to select defensive end Leonard Williams from USC. Williams was the best player available on multiple expert’s boards, which means he’s value for the Jets at sixth. Williams wasn’t expected to be drafted by the Jets, but adding possibly the best player in the draft, and certainly the best player on the board at the time is never a bad thing.

In three seasons at USC, Williams totaled 21 sacks, 218 tackles, 36.5 tackles for loss, five forced fumbles, and two interceptions.

The biggest question with the Jets drafting Williams is what does this mean for Muhammad Wilkerson?

Wilkerson is in the final year of his contract and could very well be holding out this season. Wilkerson has been part of the ‘Sons of Anarchy’ along with Sheldon Richardson and Damon Harrison. The three of them have been a dominant unit, and now they could have a fourth joining their group.

This offseason, the Jets and their new general manager Mike Maccagnan did a fantastic job improving their secondary. The signings of Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, and Buster Skrine have made the Jets’ secondary one of the best in football. If Wilkerson is still on the team, the drafting of Williams makes the Jets’ defensive line one of the best in football.

New head coach Todd Bowles did a great job with the Arizona Cardinals’ defense last season. While their defense was very good, talent-wise the Jets’ defense is leaps and bounds better.

Apr 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Leonard Williams (Southern California) is selected as the number sixth overall pick to the New York Jets in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets decided against a blockbuster trade for Marcus Mariota, which would have cost the Jets a ton of draft picks. It is a wise move that if they weren’t sold on Mariota to be a franchise quarterback to avoid trading up for him. There was some hints that Woody Johnson comments showed the Jets’ hand that they could be looking to draft a wide receiver to help Geno Smith.

Cooper was drafted by the Raiders, but Kevin White was on the board for the Jets at sixth. White certainly looks like a good prospect at the wide receiver position, but Williams is as close to a lock as there was in this draft.

Whether the drafting of Williams means that Wilkerson’s days as a Jet is numbered or not, the pick is an interesting one, but a good one. It was hard to imagine that Williams was going to be available with the Jets picking at No.6, but getting the highest rated player in the NFL Draft is a great thing. Drafting Williams provides insurance for if Wilkerson is leaving. But if Wilkerson isn’t going anywhere, the Jets’ defensive line is going to be a headache for quarterbacks.

Next: How accurate has our Mock Draft been?

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