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Leonard Williams Out To Prove Jets Got Steal Of The Draft

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Leonard Williams isn't so much worried about proving a point to the five NFL teams that passed on him Thursday.

For the stud USC defensive end, it's more about showing the New York Jets they just got the steal of the draft at No. 6.

"I just want to not really prove other teams wrong, but just really prove the Jets right," Williams said. "I really want them to be proud of their decision and let them know I'm coming in with a lot of passion, and I'm willing to put whatever it takes on the line to make a lot of great plays and be successful."

Leonard Williams
Leonard Williams with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being chosen sixth overall by the New York Jets during the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan said he'd take a good, long look at the best player available on the team's board. Despite needs elsewhere and a glut of defensive linemen, Maccagnan stayed true to his word and pounced on Williams, who many considered the premiere player in the draft.

"He has a huge ceiling," Maccagnan said. "To me, you're looking at a guy that to me is scratching the surface of the player he could potentially be."

New York will head into the season with an embarrassment of riches on the D-line: Sheldon Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson, Damon Harrison and the 6-foot-5, 300-pound Williams. Now things could get interesting with Wilkerson looking for an extension.

"Right now, Muhammad's on our team," said Maccagnan, adding he's still hoping to get a deal done. "I'm not going to speculate. We're not actively trying to shop Muhammad."

The 20-year-old Williams said it "was a big surprise" to get the call from the Jets.

"I think it's really cool to be coming at such a young age and as a rookie to have such great D-linemen to model my game after," he said.

Under rookie head coach Todd Bowles, the Jets plan to play a 3-4 defense with an occasional 4-3 change of pace. The fearsome defensive front -- along with Darrelle Revis in a revamped secondary -- should spell trouble for AFC East quarterbacks Tom Brady, Ryan Tannehill and whoever is under center for Rex Ryan's Buffalo Bills.

"I'm excited," Bowles said. "You can never have enough defensive linemen. All our defensive linemen have to play all across the board."

The versatile Williams was a force in the college game, amassing 21 sacks, five forced fumbles and two interceptions in three seasons for the Trojans. He acknowledged he had shoulder surgery after the 2013 season.


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