Alabama interior defensive lineman Quinnen Williams is a big name that will undoubtedly hear his name called early in the 2019 NFL Draft. There are likely several teams that have him ranked as high as the number one overall prospect available in this seasons college talent lottery. Sadly for Raider fans, that ranking is probably going to cause his selection before the club’s initial first round pick which will be the fourth overall selection. Where he ends up going, however, could potentially end up landing the franchise a consolation prize of sorts.
The time leading up to any draft is filled with mock drafts and players being linked to teams due to scheme or familiarity with the coaching staff. At times general managers will even create smoke screens intended to mask their true intentions from other teams that may be inclined to trade ahead of them for a player they both covet. In short, there is a wealth of information as well as misinformation made public and it is an art unto itself to determine which is which.
In trading Cooper, the Raiders clearly shipped out a player who didn’t want to play for Oakland. Now, Leonard William’s original draft wish of playing for the Raiders could come true.
Currently, the Arizona Cardinals are rumored to have their sights set on Kentucky defensive end Josh Allen due to his fit in their new 3-4 base defense. They are reportedly enamored with the fact he has experience playing as both a pass rusher and dropping into coverage. The San Francisco 49ers would then most likely select defensive end Nick Bosa as they currently have a former 1st round pick ( 7th overall ) DeForest Buckner manning the interior of their defensive line. That leaves the New York Jets in a favorable position. They can draft arguably the #1 prospect in this draft as well as create some valuable cap space.
Leonard Williams is in the fifth year of his rookie contract which carries a $14.2 million dollar cap hit. Should Quinnen Williams fall to New York, they can release Williams without any cap hit, freeing up even more valuable cap space. That would put a young defensive talent on the market who also happens to be a fan of the Raiders.
USC DL Leonard Williams on the Raiders – "I love their colors; I love their tradition." pic.twitter.com/WK94L1gEC3
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) February 20, 2015
Ironically it was the Raiders passing on Leonard instead selecting wide receiver Amari Cooper fourth overall in the 2015 draft that allowed the Jets to grab him in that draft. Leonard has been an iron man of sorts playing in all 64 games and starting 63 of them. He has compiled 220 total tackles, 32 tackles for loss, 17 sacks, 85 quarterback hits, two forced fumbles, and even an interception. He has proven he can not only be productive but most importantly, reliable over his career.
Now, just a short four years later, and with Cooper calling Dallas home after being shipped out of Oakland this past season seems to be perhaps a fate that could benefit the Raiders. In trading Cooper, the Raiders clearly shipped out a player who didn’t want to play for Oakland. Now, Leonard William’s original draft wish of playing for the Raiders could come true. Of course, there is a ton of speculation and involved for this scenario to play out in real life.
In the end, it could be kismet that the player so many hoped would be selected at the time now finds his way into the uniform he wanted to wear from the very beginning.