The Atlanta Falcons have options with the eighth-overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft. Should they trade up for defensive tackle Leonard Williams?
Charles Davis of NFL.com wrote that a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars is a move he would like to see:
"“Atlanta desperately needs help on defense. The team’s screaming need is at edge rusher, and while Williams is an interior defensive lineman, he’s also the best player in the draft. You don’t turn that down if Jacksonville is willing to make a deal.”"
First things first, why would Williams be a good option for the Falcons?
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Well, he’s arguably the best defensive player in the entire draft class. While he isn’t in a position of ‘need’, when your defense struggles like the Falcons’ defense has over the past season, bringing in talented football players is important.
The 6’5″, 302-pounder is a powerful lineman with the athleticism to become one of the top players at the position in the entire league.
Williams could even be the best player in the entire draft, and if the Buccaneers didn’t need a quarterback so badly, he would surely be the favorite to land in Tampa Bay.
Walter Cherepinsky of WalterFootball.com shares the opinion that Williams is the top defensive lineman prospect. He wrote:
"“In speaking with NFL teams, they like Williams, but don’t grade him in the same range as Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy or Jadeveon Clowney when they were coming out. Teams aren’t as high on Williams as some in the media have rated him. They feel that Williams wasn’t consistent or dominant enough to be the No. 1-rated player on their draft boards.At the Combine, Williams solidified his standing as the top defensive lineman for the 2015 NFL Draft. He ran well in the 40 and looked good in the field drills.Williams would fit a 3-4 or 4-3 defense in the NFL. He would be an excellent five-technique for the former since he has the strength and length to set the edge while also being able to rush the passer. Williams could play three-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 or be a power left end who moves inside to tackle in passing situations. Really, Williams can be lined up anywhere on the defensive line.”"
To get him, the Falcons would almost definitely need to trade up.
While it would be great to see him lining up on the Atlanta defensive line, the Falcons aren’t in desperate need of a player at the position.
What the Falcons defense is crying out for is pass-rushers, and there are plenty of those who could be taken early in the first-round.
The Falcons would be best off sticking where they are with the eighth-overall pick, and picking up a edge rusher such as Clemson’s Vic Beasley or Florida’s Dante Fowler, if either are available.
While Williams is arguably the best player in this year’s draft, and is almost certainly the best defensive player, the Falcons are best off picking up a pass-rusher with their eighth-overall pick as opposed to moving up.
Not only will they be able to stand firm on their current position, they will also be filling a need.