Dec 27, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers running back Ameer Abdullah (8) runs as USC Trojans defensive end Leonard Williams (94) defends during the fourth quarter in the 2014 Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Prior to the NFL Combines which get underway on Monday, ESPN’s Draft Guru, Mel Kiper Jr. has released his 2015 NFL Mock Draft 2.0, and is targeting 6’5″ 300 lb Defensive End, Leonard Williams from the University of Southern California as the number two pick for the Tennessee Titans.
This would be a nice treat for newly hired Assistant Head Coach/Defense, Dick LeBeau, but I’m not sure at this point that it fits with the strategy the Titans are looking for.
"I realize there’s a pretty significant question about whether the Titans truly have an answer at quarterback on the current roster. But I am not convinced Tennessee will be compelled to take Marcus Mariota here just because they aren’t convinced that, say, Zach Mettenberger’s development is still an open question. This is a team that went backwards in multiple areas in 2014, and unless you believe Mariota comes in and is able to make you better in 2015, I think you’re in a position to take the best football player available. Williams has the potential to be a force early in his career, make your defensive line better against both the run and the pass, bring scheme versatility and make other players around him better. If Winston is available, he becomes an option, and trading down is certainly one if there’s a team who that wants Mariota. But Williams makes sense."
Williams is a gifted athlete who has played at every position on the D-Line, and can be a week-one starter in Tennessee. He’s explosive off the ball, can provide a good pass rush, and in the world of Read Option, plays peek-a-boo with running backs.
Leonard Williams has a few holes in his game, he is slow to react when changing from run-stopper, to pass rusher. This could be a problem on first down when offenses run play-action.
He’s freakishly powerful, and with some coaching, could fix most of his weakness before the season gets underway.
I like this pick at number two, if the Titans are going for the best player at any position. With the right coaching, and if he can stay healthy, Leonard Williams could be a fixture on the Defensive Line for a decade, and be a player in which to build a defense around.
Even if Titan’s Head Coach, Ken Whisenhunt wants to stay the course in the development of second-year Quarterback, Zach Mettenberger, he still needs a quality backup.
Jake Locker has trouble staying healthy, albeit running for his life behind an offensive line that couldn’t stop the Tennessee Volunteers, and we all saw what 32 year-old Charlie Whitehurst brought to the table.
Now that coaching-carousel has stopped, and most of the new strategies are discussed around the league, there are some interesting possibilities for the Titans to gain a viable backup Quarterback at the second spot, and maybe a couple of picks later in the draft.
The possible scenario that really interests me is the Philadelphia Eagles. It appeared that Head Coach, Chip Kelly, and Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur gave up on Quarterback, Nick Foles. They stayed with former Jets Quarterback, Mark Sanchez even after Foles was healed up, and ready to play.
The rumors on the street, are that The Eagles are interested in Rams Quarterback, Sam Bradford if he is indeed done in St. Louis.
If the Rams decide to re-sign the injury-prone Bradford, the Eagles may have some interest in drafting Oregon Quarterback Marcus Mariota. This would give the Titans an opportunity that could bring a quality back-up to Tennessee.
I’m not sure why The Eagles are ready to give up on Nick Foles, but if the they are wanting to move on, I don’t think you could go wrong in looking at this third year Quarterback out of Arizona.
Foles was a third round pick in 2012, has turned out to be a relentless worker and has turned into a pretty good Quarterback.
He was sidelined for eight weeks after breaking a collarbone in Houston. That sounds familiar, Zach Mettenberger had the same problems with the Texans, and the relentless pass rush of JJ Watt.
Nick Foles is the only QB since 1960 to post QBR ratings of 149+ in consecutive games, and had the highest monthly rating in history at 152.8 in November of 2013. He set the Eagles record with 237 pass attempts without an interception (12/23/12 thru 12/8/13).
So in conclussion, if the Philadelphia Eagles don’t want Nick Foles, I think he would be an excellent candidate for the Titans that could challenge for a starting job, mentor Zach Mettenberger, and be there to pick-up the snaps if Mettenberger gets hurt.
I like it!