The New York Giants made a controversial trade during the 2019 season. Despite a poor, losing record, GM Dave Gettleman gave up future draft picks to trade for a player. This player was Leonard Williams and this trade has received plenty of criticism since it happened.
New York gave up a 2020 third-round and a 2021 fifth-round pick in exchange for Leonard Williams. Williams is a former first-round pick, so usually, this would be pretty great value for the Giants in this trade. But Williams was an impending free agent, meaning the Giants would have had a chance to sign him in free agency without giving up draft capital. Williams is now set to play the 2020 NFL season on the franchise tag with the Giants.
Despite all the outside noise and criticism, Leonard Williams has shown up and impressed during the Giants’ training camp. In fact, defensive line coach Sean Spencer said that he believes Leonard Williams is “starting to put it all together.”
Leonard Williams Putting It All Together
Leonard Williams has been in the NFL since 2015. He was a hyped-up prospect entering the 2015 draft, but so far he has not lived up to the hype. Leonard has been a great interior defensive lineman throughout his career, but not the dominant force that he was expected to be.
Now, entering his sixth season, Williams could be headed for a breakout season. Williams has been standing out in training camp to the coaches and reporters alike. Watch Leonard Williams teach rookie offensive tackle, Andrew Thomas, a lesson below:
— Alex Wilson (@AlexWilsonESM) August 22, 2020
Since 2015, Leonard Williams has had the second-most quarterback hits among interior defensive linemen since 2015. Williams has recorded 82 quarterback hits, second only to Aaron Donald (93).
The biggest problem for Williams, though, has been turning pressures and hits into sacks. Leonard has only 17.5 career sacks and recorded a career-low 0.5 sack in 2019. But, according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY, the Giants’ coaching staff is “convinced they can refine Williams’ technique and teach him things that will turn pressures into actual sacks for him this year.”
If the coaches are right, then a big season could be in store for Leonard Williams. The Giants’ defensive line is filled with young talent. Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Leonard Williams could combine to be one of the best front lines in the league. But if Williams can truly put it all together, he could but this line over the top.