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NFL Mock Draft 2015: APC selects Leonard Williams for Titans

Tennessee augments their defensive line with USC's All-American defensive tackle.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Titans don't hold the top pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, but in many ways their decision at No. 2 overall dictates how the rest of the first round will transpire. The team needs an answer at the quarterback position, but head coach Ken Whisenhunt's preference for a traditional drop-back passer could keep the team from considering Marcus Mariota. While trading back remains a possibility, the Titans could choose to address their defense and select USC's Leonard Williams.

By acclamation, Williams is the top interior defensive lineman in this year's draft class. A two time First-Team All-American, Williams was the centerpiece of the Trojans defense over the past three seasons. While not an athlete of J.J. Watt's caliber, Williams does possess great size (6'5", 302 pounds) and strength. He bullied the linemen of the Pac-12, consistently pushing them aside with his long arms. Once free, Williams has the closing speed necessary to either force a premature throw or sack the quarterback. He's also a capable run defender who should continue improve over time.

Still, most successful interior lineman drafted in the first round are quicker off the snap than Williams, who may not find the same level of success with the bigger, more talented offensive linemen of the NFL. While he should still become an effective player, teams have invested high picks into similar players and ended up with only above-average contributors.

That said, Williams' pedigree and production suggest that his athleticism will be no more than a minor impediment. He should fit in well on the same defensive line as the underrated Jurrell Casey and help give the Titans an identity for the first time in years.

Jason B. Hirschhorn covers the Green Bay Packers for Acme Packing Company. He also serves as an SB Nation newsdesk contributor and NFL writer for Sports on Earth.