DT Leonard Williams Becoming Popular Pick For Saints


USC defensive tackle Leonard Williams is guaranteed to be a Top 5 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft with a few analyst thinking he’ll go to the Tennessee Titans with the second overall pick.

So that would probably put him way out of reach for the New Orleans Saints right?

Think again…

In a surprising and ironic twist, both Larry Holder and Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com put out their latest mock draft which has the Saints trading up for the dominant defensive player.

Nov 1, 2014; Pullman, WA, USA; Southern California Trojans defensive end Leonard Williams (94) is defended bythe Washington State Cougars lineman Eduardo Middleton (73) at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In Holder’s mock draft he has the Saints trading up to the 5th overall pick held by the Washington Redskins and giving them both of their first round picks at #13 and #31.

On the trade Holder says,

"Instead of sitting back and waiting for a defensive player with question marks, the Saints stay aggressive like they have this offseason. New Orleans sends No. 13 and No. 31 overall to Washington to move up to No. 5 overall in a trade. The traditional draft chart adds up to this move equaling out as the Saints add Washington’s fifth-round pick (No. 141 overall).I’m assuming here that the first four picks are Jameis Winston at No. 1 to Tampa Bay, Marcus Mariota to someone at No. 2, Dante Fowler, Jr. at No. 3 to Jacksonville and a wide receiver (probably Amari Cooper) to Oakland at No. 4. I’d prefer Williams over Fowler, but this trade would work for the Saints even if Fowler were available."

In Duncan’s mock draft he has the Saints trading up to the Oakland Raiders 4th overall pick and with New Orleans surrendering their 13th overall along with their 2nd round pick(44th), and a 3rd round pick(78th).

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His mock draft also has a bevy of trades with the San Francisco 49ers allowing the Saints to recoup some picks in the mid-rounds.

On the reasoning for his trade Duncan said,

"Williams is one of the few can’t-miss prospects in the draft and the Saints have the ammo to make it happen. The Saints need a difference maker on defense and Williams would be the best Saints defender of the Payton-Brees era. Plug him into the defensive line and immediately Cam Jordan, Akiem Hicks and Junior Galette become better players."

To add even more to the possibility of trading for Williams, Jeff Hauser of SB Nation was on WWL 1350 AM’s Double Coverage with Kristian Garic and T-Bob Hebert Wednesday morning spinning the same scenario.

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Hauser gushed over Williams on not just his ability as a player, but his mature, positive attitude.

Not only did he say that he Saints could trade up but should trade up for Williams as he’d be an immediate impact on their defense.

Of course Hauser also voiced a concern that the Saints fans might have and I’ll admit that I have on a trade up for Williams.

There was another USC defensive tackle that the Saints traded up for that didn’t quite pan out like they thought.

Dec 26, 2011; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis (98) in the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derek E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

In the 2008 NFL Draft the Saints traded up three spots to the 7th overall pick with the New England Patriots to select Sedrick Ellis.

The Saints swapped first round picks and surrendered their third round pick for that draft to the Patriots, with New England giving New Orleans their fifth round pick.

Ellis sent five seasons with the Saints and recorded 134 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, and only 12.5 sacks.

Hauser was pretty adamant though in defense of Williams if the Saints did decide to make the move to grad him early.

It’s a situation I know that I didn’t think would be possible or likely to get the heavy hitting defensive tackle but I actually kind of warmed to it a bit.

The Saints current defensive tackle lineup with an aging and oft injured Brodrick Bunkley could use someone like Williams to attack the middle and create pressure.

As Duncan alluded to, Williams is someone who could make everyone on the defensive line around him that much better……

Next: Expect the Unexpected Tomorrow Night for Saints in the Draft