Cincinnati Bengals Draft Watch: Leonard Williams
Nov 13, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans defensive end Leonard Williams (94) pressures California Golden Bears quarterback Jared Goff (16) at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The Cincinnati Bengals are moving into the final stretch of the season and stopping the run is just as important today as it was week 1. With Domata Peko coming down towards the end of his career, it appears the Bengals need a nice compliment to interior run stuffer Geno Atkins. Brandon Thompson is coming along, and given what Devon Still has had to endure this season, he is doing quite well. The Bengals lost something with Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap does well, but is only one guy.
One of college’s best defensive tackle, defensive end hybrids plays in a PAC-12 battle Saturday night at 8pm EST on ABC, as the #11 UCLA Bruins host the #24 USC Trojans. Who is this giant run stuffing, disrupter of the middle of the field? Leonard Williams. Williams is a 6’5” 300lb DE/DT hybrid disruptor for the USC Trojans. Williams, number 94 for the Trojans will undoubtedly put on a show Saturday night in front of 9 NFL scouts including the Cincinnati Bengals, per NFL.com
Williams has 62 tackles for the Trojans and 6 sacks. More than that, Williams spends most of his afternoons in the opponent’s backfields, and his 6’5” frame is exactly what the Bengals need up front. The Bengals already make it difficult with 6’6” Dunlap, 6’8” Hunt, adding a 6’5” force like Williams would be that much more quarterbacks will have to throw over.
Defensive line may not be an immediate need, but dressing the aging Peko needs to be done sooner than later. Yes, he is a fan favorite, but facing the reality that Robert Geathers and Domata Peko are coming to the end of their respective careers and passing on a player like Leonard Williams just because the Bengals are trying to figure out what they still have in Geathers and Peko is ludicrous. Williams does what the Bengals need which is stuff the run in the physically dominant AFC North, and the Bengals will be watching Saturday.