The New York Jets selected Quinnen Williams with the third pick in the 2019 NFL Draft in hopes he could bolster the defensive line. While he didn’t produce impressive numbers, Williams did show flashes of being a talented defensive lineman in the NFL.
When Quinnen Williams was announced to the Jets, he immediately became a fan favorite with his humorous interviews. During the draft process, Williams appeared to be a sure-fire talent on the defensive line coming out of Alabama.
But throughout the regular season, Williams’ workload on the field varied every single week. As a result, his product on the field suffered exponentially as he never could get into a rhythm on the field.
In his first season in the NFL, Quinnen Williams tallied 28 tackles, 2.5 sacks, four tackles for loss, and six quarterback hits. Considering his rookie season numbers, here are three improvements that the Jets’ defensive tackle must make this offseason.
3. Understanding New York’s defense
As pointed out, the rookie first-round pick’s playing time was inconsistent on a week-to-week basis. Was that because Gregg Williams wasn’t ready to fully commit to him in the defense? Or was the first-year defensive tackle unable to grasp New York’s defensive scheme?
Over the entire season, Quinnen Williams only had one game where he was on the field for at least 70 percent of New York’s defensive snaps. One. As a third-overall pick, it was disappointing to see Williams have a minimal role with the Jets in 2019.
Whether it was his fault or not, Quinnen Williams has to work on understanding New York’s defense even better in 2020. Then, the Jets would have no choice but to deploy Williams a healthy amount in his sophomore season.
2. Get more involved in the run defense
Dating back to his days at Alabama, Williams made a living as a stout run defender. In his two seasons as a starter at Alabama, Williams combined for a whopping 26 tackles for loss and basically lived in opposing team’s backfields.
However, in his rookie campaign, Williams wasn’t the same version of himself that he was in college. The charismatic interior defender accumulated only four tackles for loss in 13 games in 2019.
There is more than just tackles for loss when it comes to being a good run defender. While Williams was still talented against the run, he can get even better by improving his strength and block shedding in 2020.
1. Develop more pass-rushing moves
One of the areas that scouts and teams wanted Williams to grow in when he was drafted was in the pass-rushing department. Amid his time with Nick Saban at Alabama, Williams racked up 10 sacks—with eight of them coming in his final season in college.
The Jets struggled to get after the quarterback in 2019, having just 35 sacks as a team (23rd in the NFL). Provided that, New York needs more production from their defensive line to create more pressure on opposing quarterbacks next season.
For Williams to become an every-down defensive lineman, he’ll need to become a formidable pass rusher.