USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams will visit the Redskins on Wednesday, according to the NFL Network. A week ago I'd been told that the Redskins had not expressed much interest in him. Based on how more visits are trickling out, it's clear they've been deliberate (and quiet) about who they're bringing in and when.
Here's a brief look at Williams and his visit:
What it means: Williams is considered by many as the best defensive player in the draft. Early projections had him going to Tennessee at No. 2, but now that a quarterback (Marcus Mariota) could be taken there, it then comes down to how others view Williams. Would Jacksonville take him at No. 3? Would the Raiders go for him at 4? If not, then the Redskins would have a shot at him -- if they like him, that is. They need to bring him in just for due diligence. There are many reasons to bring in a player -- creating smokescreens among them. But the reality is Williams was excellent at USC and any team seeking defensive help should be interested. I will say, not all analysts are sold on him and worry about his pass-rush ability.
Why they’d be interested: It is not a pressing need -- if the season began tomorrow, the Redskins would be in good shape up front. However, Jason Hatcher will be 33 years old this season and coming off a season full of nagging knee issues. Those rarely improve as you get older. If they wanted to draft Williams, yes they would have a surplus of linemen for now – and excellent depth. But a year from now you might be really glad they selected him. Also, his presence would lessen the load on Hatcher and provide the Redskins three potential pocket-collapsers (along with Stephen Paea). Obviously the key would be how they felt he could collapse the pocket – if they don’t view him as a pass-rusher, then you’d have to pass.
How he would fit: As a 3-4 defensive end with the ability to play inside in the nickel to collapse the pocket. The Redskins want to improve their pass rush, so if Williams falls and they like him better than the edge rushers, it’s a possibility.
Scouting report: Here’s what I wrote on Williams after watching him on film. I’ll add again: There are times you believe he should be more dominant given his skills, but he is talented.