Posts Tagged ‘USC’

2015 NFL Draft Prospect to Watch: Leonard Williams, DL, Southern California

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
USC junior defensive lineman Leonard Williams could be a top prospect in the 2015 NFL Draft. (Photo: Kirby Lee — USA Today Sports)

USC junior defensive lineman Leonard Williams could be a top prospect in the 2015 NFL Draft. (Photo: Kirby Lee — USA Today Sports)

BBD Contributor: Brian Krosky

Versatility is the name of the game in the NFL. Most players are now asked to do more than one job, and the ability to contribute in multiple capacities sets great players away from good players. This is especially true for defensive linemen, where the best players need to be able to rush the passer and stuff the run, play in both 4-3 and 3-4 schemes and adjust their talents to multiple roles. Leonard Williams, a 2013 third-team AP All-American from USC, has no shortage of versatility.

As a freshman in 2012, Williams played 3-technique defensive tackle on a defense coached by Monte Kiffin, who is now a member of the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff. The Pac-12 defensive freshman of the year, he totaled 64 tackles, including 13.5 for loss (8 sacks), while he also had four deflections, two fumble recoveries and an interception.

Last season, Williams occupied the 5-technique defensive end position under new USC defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast. He started 13 games and had 74 tackles, including 13.5 for loss (6 sacks), with two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. He suffered a shoulder injury against Oregon State on Nov. 1, and struggled with the recovery the rest of the year.

USC’s defensive scheme is changing yet again this year and Williams is set to play defensive end in the Trojans’ 3-4 alignment. He has two years of remaining eligiblity for USC, but should be a top prospect for the 2015 draft if he declares.

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Sophomore Spotlight: Robert Woods

Saturday, July 12th, 2014

The projected production of second-year wide receiver Robert Woods made veteeran Stevie Johnson expendable this offseason. (Photo: Kevin Hoffman — USA Today Sports)

BBD Assistant Editor: Ryan Talbot

Expected to be a plug-and-play receiver when the Buffalo Bills drafted him with the No. 41 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, Robert Woods had a strong rookie season and developed immediate chemistry with the team’s first-round pick, quarterback EJ Manuel. In his second season, in which he will take over for Stevie Johnson as the Bills’ slot receiver, he has a chance to be an impact player.

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Sophomore Spotlight: Nickell Robey

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Cornerback Nickell Robey was one of the most pleasant surprises for the Bills in 2013. (Photo: Robert Mayer — USA Today Sports)

BBD Assistant Editor: Ryan Talbot

No one, including the Buffalo Bills, knew what they getting when they signed Nickell Robey as an undrafted free agent. Generally, an undrafted player making the 53-man roster is a story in itself. Having an undrafted free agent earn playing time in all 16 games? A rare feat.

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The 2014 All-Undrafted Team

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Although a knee injury didn’t stop Henry Josey from a productive 2013 season, it did lead to his going undrafted. (Photo: Spruce Derden — USA Today Sports)

BBD Editor: Dan Hope

With a draft class that had been heralded as deep by people both inside and outside the league, we knew all along that there would be talented players to go unselected in the 2014 NFL draft.

Putting together an annual All-Undrafted team can be a challenge some years, as there are typically at least a couple positions where the well of draftable talent had run dry. Not this year. The difficult part of selecting this year’s best undrafted players wasn’t finding players worthy of the recognition, but rather deciding which players to leave off.

The following selections represent the prospects who bring the best skill sets and potential to the next level among the undrafted pool. That doesn’t necessarily mean they have the best chances to make the rosters of the teams who signed team, as some players have entered more favorable depth charts than others, but all of these players have enough ability to build a sustained NFL career.

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2014 NFL Draft: Linebacker Options to Fix Buffalo’s Run Defense

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

If the Buffalo Bills choose to improve their linebacker corps with the No. 9 overall pick, UCLA’s Anthony Barr is one possible option. (Photo: Andrew Weber — USA Today Sports)

BBD Staff Writer: Eric Samulski

The Buffalo Bills improved in many ways under a new coaching staff in 2013, but stopping the run continued to be a problem. The Bills ranked 28th in the NFL in run defense, allowing 129 yards per game, 4.4 yards per carry and 19 runs of longer than 20 yards.

Middle linebacker Kiko Alonso had a tremendous rookie year, totaling 159 tackles and two sacks, but he showed far more value in coverage, sometimes being swallowed up by blockers in run defense. If the Bills are going to get better against the run as a team, they need to spend the offseason adding more stout talent around Alonso in the linebacker corps.

With that in mind, the Bills should have their eyes on some of the following linebackers in the upcoming draft who excel against the run. Most of these players have experience in versatile defenses or possess skill sets that would lend themselves to defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s hybrid system.

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