We noted this morning that USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams is viewed by many as the best player in this year’s draft, but might still be available when Washington is on the clock at No. 5. If that happens, Washington General Manager Scot McCloughan will feel like he’s in the catbird seat.
McCloughan said at his pre-draft press conference today that if Williams is available at No. 5, he expects his phone to be ringing from teams that would like to trade up and get him. After signing a couple of big defensive linemen in free agency in Terrance Knighton and Stephen Paea, McCloughan doesn’t necessarily think he needs to draft another big defensive lineman at No. 5.
“It might bring a trade more into play,” he said. “We do feel good about our defensive front.”
McCloughan indicated that an edge pass rusher may be a more important priority for Washington than a 300-pounder like Williams.
“A pass rusher, that’s the most important thing,” he said. “They’re hard to find. We’re very lucky to have Ryan [Kerrigan] on the team, he’s one of those players, and hopefully not just in the first but throughout this draft we’ll add more pass rushers.”
The best-case scenario for Washington could be to trade the fifth overall pick to a team that wants to get Williams, then to pick up a pass rusher later in the first round. Then again, if Williams is as good as the draft experts think he is, maybe the best-case scenario for Washington would be to stay put and draft him.