Leonard Williams (American football)

Leonard Austin Williams[1] (born June 20, 1994) is an American football defensive end for the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the New York Jets with the sixth overall pick in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He played college football at USC.

Leonard Williams
refer to caption
Williams in the 2017 NFL season.
No. 99 – New York Giants
Position:Defensive end
Personal information
Born: (1994-06-20) June 20, 1994 (age 26)
Bakersfield, California
Height:6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Weight:302 lb (137 kg)
Career information
High school:Mainland
(Daytona Beach, Florida)
NFL Draft:2015 / Round: 1 / Pick: 6
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 8, 2020
Total tackles:291
Forced fumbles:3
Pass deflections:6
Player stats at NFL.com

Early yearsEdit

Williams attended Mainland High School in Daytona Beach, Florida, where he was a two-sport athlete in football and track. As a senior, he had 103 tackles and 10.5 sacks, helping Mainland to reach the FHSAA 6A state semi-finals, where they lost to Miami Central 7–17. However, the loss was overturned in August 2012 as Miami Central forfeited its entire season due to a transfer infraction.[2]

Considered a four-star recruit by Rivals.com, Williams was ranked as the fifth best strongside defensive end recruit in his class.

College careerEdit

Williams playing for USC in 2012

As a true freshman in 2012, Williams started nine of 13 games at defensive tackle, recording 64 tackles, eight sacks and an interception. He was named the Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year.[3][4] As a sophomore in 2013, Williams was moved from tackle to defensive end.[5] After recording 74 tackles and six sacks, Williams was a named a first-team All-Pac-12 selection and was an All-American by ESPN.[6][7] As a junior in 2014, he recorded 80 tackles and seven sacks. He was named Team MVP, first team All-Pac-12 and was an All-American by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and ESPN.[8][9]

After his junior season, Williams announced that he would forgo his senior year and enter the 2015 NFL Draft.[10][11]

Professional careerEdit


In May 2014, Williams was projected a top-4 selection in the 2015 NFL Draft by various mock drafts.[12][13][14] By October 2014, Williams was projected as a top-3 selection in the 2015 NFL Draft.[15] In the months leading up to the draft Williams was regularly the 2nd pick in mock drafts,[16][17] but in the final weeks most experts predicted that Marcus Mariota would instead be the 2nd pick, with Williams subsequently falling to 3-5th place.[18]

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump
6 ft 4 58 in
(1.95 m)
302 lb
(137 kg)
34 58 in
(0.88 m)
10 58 in
(0.27 m)
4.97 s 1.73 s 2.88 s 4.53 s 7.59 s 29 12 in
(0.75 m)
8 ft 10 in
(2.69 m)
All values from NFL Combine

New York JetsEdit

Williams was selected by the New York Jets sixth overall in the first round of the 2015 draft.[19] He was the highest selected USC defensive lineman since Darrell Russell in 1997. Williams signed a four-year, $18.6 million contract on May 8, 2015.[20]

2015 seasonEdit

Williams made his professional debut on August 11, 2015 in the first preseason game against the Detroit Lions without recording a stat. In Preseason Game 2 against the Atlanta Falcons on August 21, 2015, Williams made 4 tackles, including a sack on T. J. Yates in the endzone for a safety.[21] During Preseason Game 3 against the interleague-rival New York Giants on August 29, 2015, Williams left the game with an apparent knee injury. X-Rays and MRIs were both negative, revealing no ligament damage.[22] On September 7, 2015, he had his jersey number switched to #92 from #62.[23] On his regular season debut against the Cleveland Browns on September 13, 2015, Williams made a total of 5 tackles.[24] On the December 6, 2015, Williams recorded his first sack in a Giants-Jets rivalry game. In 16 games of his rookie year in 2015, Williams made 63 tackles with 3 sacks.

2016 seasonEdit

Opening the season against the Cincinnati Bengals on September 11, 2016, Williams had 2.5 sacks for his first career multi-sack game. The Jets combined for 6 sacks, but still lost 22-23. He had a total of 7 sacks on the season, and as recognition for his great play, he was selected as a first-team alternate for the 2017 Pro Bowl.

2017 seasonEdit

In 2017, Williams started all 16 games, recording a career-low 47 tackles and two sacks.

2018 seasonEdit

On April 11, 2018, the Jets picked up the fifth-year option on Williams' contract.[25]

During Week 16 against the Green Bay Packers, Williams was disqualified for the first time in his NFL career after throwing a punch on Bryan Bulaga. This was one of 16 penalties as the Jets lost the game 38-44 in overtime.[26] On December 29, Williams was fined $43,449, which also included a hit on Aaron Rodgers.[27]

New York GiantsEdit

Williams in a game against the Washington Redskins

On October 28, 2019, Williams was traded to the New York Giants for a 2020 third round pick and a 2021 fifth round pick.[28] In week 15 against the Miami Dolphins, Williams forced a fumble on former teammate Ryan Fitzpatrick which was recovered by teammate Sean Chandler during the 36–20 win.[29]

On March 16, 2020, the Giants placed the franchise tag on Williams.[30] He signed the one-year tender on April 22, 2020.[31] He was placed on the active/non-football injury list at the start of training camp on August 2, 2020.[32] He was activated on August 14, 2020.[33]

In Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football, Williams recorded his first sack of the season on Ben Roethlisberger during the 26–16 loss. Williams' sack was his first full sack as a member of the Giants and surpassed his 2019 total of 0.5 sacks.[34]


  1. ^ "Profile". rostermon.com.
  2. ^ Kurtenbach, Dieter (August 15, 2012). "State finds Miami Central used ineligible Broward County quarterback in 2011". Florida Sun Sentinel.
  3. ^ Sonnone, Brendan (November 27, 2012). "Ex-Mainland DL Leonard Williams named Pac-12 freshman defensive player of the year" Archived January 1, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Pac-12 football awards and all-conference team announced". Pac-12. November 26, 2012. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  5. ^ Klein, Gary (September 1, 2013). "USC football: Leonard Williams picked up where he left off". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  6. ^ "Pac-12 football awards and all-conference teams announced". Pac-12. December 2, 2013. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  7. ^ "2013 AT&T ESPN All-America Team". ESPN.com. December 14, 2013. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  8. ^ Klein, Gary (December 17, 2014). "USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams chosen most valuable player". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  9. ^ Klein, Gary (December 17, 2014). "USC's Leonard Williams named to coaches All-America team". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  10. ^ Markazi, Arash (December 29, 2014). "USC DE Williams says he's entering NFL draft". ESPN.com. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  11. ^ Klein, Gary; Thiry, Lindsey (December 29, 2014). "Leonard Williams leaving USC for 2015 NFL draft". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  12. ^ Brugler, Dane (May 11, 2014). "2015 NFL mock draft: Big Ten, ACC prospects lead the way". CBS Sports.
  13. ^ Sobleski, Brent (May 11, 2014). "2015 mock draft: Jameis Winston slips out of Top 5". USA Today.
  14. ^ Burke, Chris (May 13, 2015). "2015 NFL Mock Draft 1.0: Cedric Ogbuehi goes No. 1 overall to Oakland Raiders". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on May 13, 2014.
  15. ^ Burke, Chris (October 21, 2014). "NFL draft Big Board 2.0: Who stands out in class with no clear frontrunner?". Sports Illustrated.
  16. ^ Zierlein, Lance (April 8, 2015). "Mock Draft 4.0: Perriman's ascent continues". NFL.com. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  17. ^ Brooks, Bucky (April 23, 2015). "Mock draft 5.0: Mariota lands with Rams". NFL.com. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  18. ^ http://www.nfl.com/player/leonardwilliams/2552486/draft
  19. ^ Hanzus, Dan (April 30, 2015). "Jets select Leonard Williams with the No. 6 pick". National Football League. Archived from the original on May 9, 2015. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  20. ^ Cimini, Rich (May 8, 2015). "Jets sign No. 1 pick Leonard Williams to $18.6 million contract". ESPN New York. Archived from the original on May 9, 2015. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
  21. ^ Howerton, Jamir. "Saturday Spotlight: Leonard Williams Roars". NewYorkJets.com. New York Jets official site. Retrieved August 23, 2015.
  22. ^ Alper, Josh. "No ligament damage for Leonard Williams". ProFootballTalk.NBCSports.com. NBC Sports. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  23. ^ Lange, Randy. "Numbers Game: Leonard Williams to Wear #92". NewYorkJets.com. New York Jets official site. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
  24. ^ New York Jets bio
  25. ^ Gantt, Darin (April 11, 2018). "Jets to pick up Leonard Williams' fifth-year option". ProFootballTalk.NBCSports.com.
  26. ^ "Leonard Williams ejected vs. Packers for throwing punch, as his rough season continues". NJ.com. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  27. ^ "Jets DE Leonard Williams fined $43,449 for hit on Aaron Rodgers, unsportsmanlike conduct". MSN. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  28. ^ "Jets Trade DL Leonard Williams to Giants". ESPN.com. October 28, 2019.
  29. ^ "Manning throws 2 TDs, Barkley scores 2, Giants end long skid". www.espn.com. December 15, 2019. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  30. ^ Gantt, Darin (March 16, 2020). "Giants plan to franchise tag Leonard Williams". Pro Football Talk. NBC Sports.
  31. ^ Eisen, Michael (April 22, 2020). "DT Leonard Williams signs franchise tag". Giants.com. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  32. ^ Eisen, Michael (August 2, 2020). "Giants reach NFL's new 80-man roster limit". Giants.com. Retrieved August 2, 2020.
  33. ^ Fennelly, John (August 14, 2020). "Giants remove Leonard Williams from NFI list". USAToday.com. Retrieved August 14, 2020.
  34. ^ "Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants - September 14th, 2020". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved September 17, 2020.

External linksEdit