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Mcclure Thinks That Leonard Williams Will Be Falcons Target


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vaughn mcclure @vxmcclure23 · 29m 29 minutes ago

If the Falcons are looking to move up, as @AlbertBreer reported, I personally believe it would be for USC's Leonard Williams.

Previous McClure article on Williams:

USC's Leonard Williams has respect for Falcons coach Dan Quinn
Vaughn McClure, ESPN Atlanta Falcons reporter

USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams has been touted as the most dominant defensive player in this year's draft class and top's ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper's big board.

Could Williams end up with the Falcons? There appears to be mutual interest.

The 6-foot-4, 302-pound Williams met with the Falcons last week at his school and spoke highly of Falcons coach Dan Quinn, someone he was familiar with from the past.

"Dan Quinn is a great guy," Williams told ESPN.com NFL Nation reporter Coley Harvey during Episode 53 of NFL Nation TV. "I almost forgot he was the head coach for a minute because he recruited me out of high school. He was the defensive line coach (and defensive coordinator) with the Florida Gators. Me and Dan Quinn, we have a great relationship just from the past. We've always kept in touch. It was a great visit with those guys."

Williams, from Daytona Beach, Florida, has been called arguably the safest pick in the draft. He has the versatility to play defensive end in a 3-4 scheme or defensive tackle in 4-3. Williams said he prefers playing the three-technique in a 4-3 scheme.

If the Falcons are truly interested in Williams, they might have to consider trading up from the No. 8 overall pick. Last season, general manager Thomas Dimitroff considered swapping picks with his protege, Jacksonville general manager David Caldwell. This year, the Jaguars own the No. 3 overall pick, so it might make sense for Dimitroff to have discussions with Caldwell again just in case.

Although the Falcons appear to be focused on an edge rusher, a dominant force on the interior such as Williams could have even more impact in terms of freeing up others to rush the quarterback. In three seasons at USC, Williams had 36.5 tackles for loss, 21 sacks, nine passes defended and five forced fumbles. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Williams had seven sacks while lined up at defensive tackle, the position he'd likely play if the Falcons found a way to get him.

Here is Kiper's breakdown of Williams:

"He won't be the top pick in the draft, but he's still No. 1 here. Long, powerful and versatile, Williams is arguably the safest pick in the draft. He jolts blockers, has exceptional awareness and always finds the ball, and he disrupts regardless of where he's lined up. Odd fronts, even fronts -- it really doesn't matter. Quick for his size, he can move all over and not only won't get pushed around when he's inside, he can penetrate and handle more than one gap. He's a special athlete who could be drafted by any team and make an immediate impact, regardless of scheme."

ESPN draft analysis Todd McShay has Williams going to the Chicago Bears at No. 7 in his latest mock draft. McShay then has the Falcons taking Nebraska edge-rusher Randy Gregory with the No. 8 pick.USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams has been touted as the most dominant defensive player in this year's draft class and top's ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper's big board.

Could Williams end up with the Falcons? There appears to be mutual interest.

The 6-foot-4, 302-pound Williams met with the Falcons last week at his school and spoke highly of Falcons coach Dan Quinn, someone he was familiar with from the past.

"Dan Quinn is a great guy," Williams told ESPN.com NFL Nation reporter Coley Harvey during Episode 53 of NFL Nation TV. "I almost forgot he was the head coach for a minute because he recruited me out of high school. He was the defensive line coach (and defensive coordinator) with the Florida Gators. Me and Dan Quinn, we have a great relationship just from the past. We've always kept in touch. It was a great visit with those guys."

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Good because getting mediocre players you will have a mediocre team.

See this is my problem I'm with you. I don't understand these other ppl that cry about us signing mediocre players in free agency yet want us to stay @ 8 and get a mediocre pass rusher? Makes no sense to me. Too many people play both sides

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If you gotta move up, grab the best player that fits your needs. I think that is Williams but I'd be okay with a move up for Beasley or Fowler as well as long as we can work a decent deal. What I don't want is for us to be getting leftovers (reaching) or burning picks on talent we don't really need. The worst part of picking 8, is that you can taste the better talent but are just out of reach of being able to get them unless other teams pass.

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If the staff feels highly about a player and they don't feel their chances of acquiring said player are good at the current position I wouldn't blame them at all for moving up. If you see a playmaker, and you have the means then go get him... I'd prefer that over watching someone else pick him and us just settling for someone, as fans we'll never be happy regardless.

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A trade like that would at least cost us a second round pick. That means that we have to wait until round 3 to find a LEO that can start. Is that even possible? Do we believe that Schofield and Clayborn can play the LEO with success?

No doubt that the middle with Hageman and Williams has the potential to be lethal.

But in my honest opinion I think we are trading for Fowler if we are indeed trading.

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A trade like that would at least cost us a second round pick. That means that we have to wait until round 3 to find a LEO that can start. Is that even possible? Do we believe that Schofield and Clayborn can play the LEO with success?

No doubt that the middle with Hageman and Williams has the potential to be lethal.

But in my honest opinion I think we are trading for Fowler if we are indeed trading.

If Williams makes it past Raiders at 4, he could very well fall all the way to the Bears at 7.

The Skins and Jets are loaded at their 3-4 DE positions.

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He's the only one worth moving up for, but as awesome and versatile as he is, we are better staying put and getting a true edge rusher. I'd rather trade back for Dupree, Gregory, or Ray, than lose draft picks. I think Beasley could fall to us.

That said, if we can move up, and keep our 2nd rounder, imagine getting Leonard Williams at 5 and Shane Ray at pick 42.

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He's the only one worth moving up for, but as awesome and versatile as he is, we are better staying put and getting a true edge rusher. I'd rather trade back for Dupree, Gregory, or Ray, than lose draft picks. I think Beasley could fall to us.

That said, if we can move up, and keep our 2nd rounder, imagine getting Leonard Williams at 5 and Shane Ray at pick 42.

That would be awesome.

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He's the only one worth moving up for, but as awesome and versatile as he is, we are better staying put and getting a true edge rusher. I'd rather trade back for Dupree, Gregory, or Ray, than lose draft picks. I think Beasley could fall to us.

That said, if we can move up, and keep our 2nd rounder, imagine getting Leonard Williams at 5 and Shane Ray at pick 42.

I could live with this.
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