The New York Jets continued to add to their incredibly deep and talented defensive line tonight by selecting Leonard Williams from USC with the 6th overall pick. It was a surprise that Williams was still available and a mild surprise that the Jets ended up pulling the trigger on him. Here is further thoughts on the decision…
1. By most people’s estimation, Williams was the best player in this draft so it is hard to complain about the value of getting him sixth overall. Outside of maybe Amari Cooper, he has the highest floor of any prospect although it is debatable how high his ceiling ultimately will be. Williams is only 20 so he should continue to develop into his body and skill-set while immediately being a force against the run. Mike Maccagnan was not bluffing when he said the Jets would take the best player available, as he did just that by grabbing Williams at six despite the Jets already being loaded on the defensive line.2. The biggest concern with this pick is that it further opens up an avenue to trade Muhammad WIlkerson. The rate of the rumors of this occurring is going to rapidly increase now. It is easy to forget that Wilkerson is only 25 and has played at an All-Pro level already in his short career. Is Williams’ ceiling any higher than him? Only time well and the pick does not have to be a mandate to move on from Wilkerson but it certainly increases the odds. Maybe the Jets are miles away from Wilkerson on a new contract but hopefully they find a way to work something out because ideally, you never want to trade away your young stars.
3. Under the assumption that Wilkerson is here, Todd Bowles should be like a kid in the candy store with him, Williams, Sheldon Richardson, Damon Harrison and Quinton Coples. The Jets will have the ability to get very creative up front and keep all their players fresh to rush the passer. If Williams plays to his pre-draft hype, there should not be a better defensive line in the NFL.
4. Personally, I think the Jets tried like hell to trade back but didn’t find an offer they were comfortable with. When they stayed put, my preference was Vic Beasley, Williams and then Kevin White. I’m not ecstatic with the pick because at some point, another position needs an infusion of early round talent and I also thought Williams was a very good prospect but not the best player in the class, as some believed. However, I understand the logic behind the decision. I will like it more if it doesn’t ultimately result in a Wilkerson trade.
5. I will get more in-depth into round two options tomorrow but there are some intriguing names still on the board, namely Dorial Green-Beckham, Jaelen Strong, Devin Smith, AJ Cann, Donovan Smith and Randy Gregory.