Born on June 20, 1994, Leonard Austin Williams is an American football defensive tackle 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.
Williams was a two-sport athlete in football and track at Mainland High School in Daytona Beach, Florida.
He contributed to Mainland’s advancement to the FHSAA 6A state semifinals, when they were defeated by Miami Central 7-17, with 103 tackles and 10.5 sacks as a senior.
The defeat was reversed, though, in August 2012 when Miami Central’s entire season was forfeited for a transfer infraction.
Williams was rated as the fifth-best strongside defensive end recruit in his class by Rivals.com, who gave him a four-star rating.
Williams started nine of the team’s 13 games at defensive lineman as a true freshman in 2012, compiling 64 tackles, eight sacks, and an interception.
The Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year award was given to him. Williams was switched from tackle to defensive end in 2013 as a sophomore.
Williams was selected for the first team All-Pac-12 and was an All-American by ESPN after compiling 74 tackles and six sacks. In 2014, he made 80 tackles and seven sacks as a junior.
He received accolades from ESPN and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) including Team MVP, first team All-Pac-12, and All-American. Williams said that he would forgo his senior year and join the 2015 NFL Draft after his junior season.
Williams was predicted by several mock drafts to be selected in the top four of the 2015 NFL Draft in May 2014. Williams was predicted to be in the top three picks in the 2015 NFL Draft by October 2014. Williams frequently placed second in mock selections conducted in the months preceding the draft.
Williams made his first full quarterback sack in a Giants-Jets rivalry game on December 6, 2015. Williams had 63 tackles and 3 sacks in 16 games during his debut season in 2015.
Williams made all 16 starts in 2017, finishing with a career-low 47 tackles and two sacks. On April 11, 2018, the Jets exercised Williams’ fifth-year option.
Williams was dealt to the New York Giants on October 28, 2019, in exchange for a 2020 third-round pick and a 2021 fifth-round pick. Williams received the franchise tag from the Giants on March 16, 2020.
The one-year tender was signed by him on April 22, 2020. On March 16, 2021, he agreed to a three-year, $63 million deal with the Giants.
Who Drafted Leonard Williams? When Was Leonard Williams Drafted?
In the first round of the 2015 draft, Williams was taken by the New York Jets as their 6th overall.
Since Darrell Russell in 1997, he was the highest-selected defensive lineman for USC.