The draft stock for USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams appears to be on the rise. Not long after ending his three-year collegiate career by helping the Trojans to a 45-42 Holiday Bowl win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Williams made his way to the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine and showcased his pro-ready talent.
The 6-foot-5, 302-pound defensive star showed speed (4.97-sec. 40-yard dash), lower-body power (29.5-inch vertical jump and 106-inch broad jump), change-of-direction ability (7.59-sec. 3-cone drill) and lateral quickness (4.53-sec. 20-yard shuttle).
"I was happy with everything I did (at the Combine)," Williams said. "I felt good running the 40, my 10 (yard split) time was pretty good, which was more important for me, a defensive lineman, which was a 1.7 (second). I did really well in all the drills, so I feel good about that."
Williams' college stats include 111 solo tackles, 107 assists, 36.5 tackles for loss, 21 sacks, eight pass breakups, five fumble recoveries and two interceptions. USC's pro day is scheduled for March 11, when NFL general managers, coaches and scouts will get another look at Williams, whose skills have been evaluated by NFL Media draft analyst Lance Zierlein.
"(Williams is a) supremely-gifted interior lineman with length, athleticism and elite power," Zierlein said.
Included among his many skills: powerful hands, explosive hips, overall strength, great ability to recover on plays, and his body is capable of adding and holding more weight and muscle.
**Areas to Improve
Defensive linemen and linebackers performed on-field workouts on Sunday at the 2015 Scouting Combine. Check out pictures from the fifth day in Indianapolis.
"(Williams) is a little late out of his stance off the snap," Zierlein said.
Other ways for Williams to prepare for the NFL include enhancing his footwork and developing consistent pass-rush moves that showcase skill instead of just relying on his physical tools.
NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock ranks Williams as the top interior defensive lineman in this year's draft.
1. Leonard Williams, USC
2. Danny Shelton, Washington
3. Malcom Brown, Texas
4. Arik Armstead, Oregon
5t. Jordan Phillips, Oklahoma
5t. Eddie Goldman, Florida State
Versatility is a vital asset in the NFL and when asked if he could move from defensive line to an outside linebacker, Williams didn't hesitate to respond.
"I can definitely do it," Williams said. "I don't really have a preference. I played so many of the positions; I'm comfortable at all of them. I've played a 3-4 defensive end more for the last two seasons, so I kind of like that position, but it just depends on what front I'm going to be playing for."