With just one month until the beginning of the 2015 NFL Draft, ESPN Draft Insider Todd McShay has released the fourth version of his mock draft, and now has the Raiders selecting USC DE Leonard Williams with the fourth overall pick.
McShay's selection of Williams to the Silver and Black marks a shift to the defensive side of the ball, as he had the Raiders selecting WR Kevin White and WR Amari Cooper in his two most recent mocks, respectively.
"Williams is an excellent value here as the best all-around defensive player in the draft," McShay writes in the ESPN Insider article detailing his picks. "He's an impact performer against the run and the pass, and has the versatility to play multiple roles along Oakland's defensive front."
McShay's mock drafts are considered some of the most comprehensive in the business, however, in his final mock draft of 2014 he predicted the Raiders would select Texas A&M WR Mike Evans with the fifth overall pick.
Instead, General Manager Reggie McKenzie elected to pick LB Khalil Mack, who started all 16 games and totaled 84 tackles (59 solo), four sacks, four passes defensed and one forced fumble during his rookie campaign.
Williams is considered one of the top defensive players in the 2015 draft class, and during his three years in Southern California he proved to be a force along the defensive line, earning First-team All-American honors twice as well as being named to the First-team All-PAC 12 team two times.
If the former Trojan was to eventually land in Oakland, his arrival would mark yet another connection to USC.
Head Coach Jack Del Rio played college football for the Trojans and was an All-American linebacker for the Cardinal and Gold, and defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. spent six seasons (2004-09) on the USC coaching staff before heading north to Seattle.
WR Brice Butler also played at USC for three seasons before transferring to San Diego State.
The 2015 NFL Draft begins on Thursday, April 30 in Chicago, Ill., at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University.