"If there is one player who can challenge quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota to be taken with the No. 1 pick in the draft, it's Southern California defensive lineman Leonard Williams."
That's how Dan Kadar started yesterday's article on the first pick in the draft. And he's not alone: Alex Marvez of Fox Sports makes a similar argument, and WIlliams appears to be the consensus number one non-quarterback in the 2015 NFL draft.
Leonard Williams is a good player, a very good player even, but he doesn't have the potential to change this franchise's fortunes. Look at J.J. Watt -- arguably the best defensive player since Reggie White and easily the best defensive player in the NFL. He's been with the Texans for four seasons. They went 2-14 in 2013 and didn't get into the playoffs last year, either. The last time they did qualify for the playoffs was the last year that Matt Schaub played well. That's not a coincidence.
More than that, Williams isn't even a great fit for the Bucs. He's at his best in a J.J. Watt or Richard Seymour-like role -- a hybrid defensive tackle/defensive end whose versatility is one of his strongest assets. While the Bucs could use a player like that, they prefer to have true edge rushers: the kinds of players who can destroy an offensive tackle with speed. And that just isn't Williams.
This should be obvious from the fact that he's pick up seven sacks per year in college, with his production peaking in his first year. Sacks are a limited view of any player, of course, but this is more affirmation of the type of player he is: a destructive defensive lineman. But not really an edge rusher. He's more Gerald McCoy than Von Miller. And the Bucs already have McCoy.
Most of all, though, Williams' biggest problem is the presence of two quarterbacks at the top of the draft.
The NFL is a difficult game, but one thing should be pretty obvious: if you don't have a quarterback, you're not going anywhere. No matter how good Williams is, he will never be able to approach the impact that a good quarterback will have on a team. And both Marcus Mariota have a very good chance to turn into exactly those kinds of players.
So no, Leonard Williams won't be the first overall pick.