New York Jets: What Quinnen Williams Brings to the Defensive Line

Alexander Wilson
New York Jets, Quinnen Williams
Apr 25, 2019; Nashville, TN, USA; Quinnen Williams (Alabama) is selected as the number three overall pick to the New York Jets in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft in Downtown Nashville. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

If signing linebacker CJ Mosely this offseason didn’t immediately upgrade the New York Jets‘ defense, the drafting of Alabama star Quinnen Williams surely did.

The Jets made an easy choice at No. 3:

Williams was the No. 3 overall pick in the NFL draft – a stud interior defender with the ability to rush the passer and stop the run.

The defensive lineman’s former coach, Nick Saban, only had good things to say when asked of his influence:

“He’s athletic,” Saban recently told NFL Network about Williams. “So, he’s a really good pass rusher. He’s not a gigantic, huge, overpowering guy, but the rest of it is perfect for this day and age of football.”

His agility and speed make him a threat on every play, especially considering he’s a three-down lineman with an unstoppable motor. Racking up 45 solo tackles, 19.5 for a loss, and 8 sacks in 2018 tell the whole story. He will dominate the trenches from day one and draw multiple offensive linemen towards him in order to stop him from reaching the quarterback.

“I go back to the initial quickness [and] the use of his hands,” Saban said. “This guy is a really smart, instinctive player. I think sometimes people overlook how that impacts someone’s production… and his production here was fabulous.”

His initial quickness and elite usage of his hands make him not only the best interior defender from the draft but potentially a part of an elite group in the NFL.

The jury is still out on if he can live up to expectation, but talent like his translates at the next level, even if he only had one elite season at the college level. Coming out of Alabama where he matched up against NFL level talent frequently only prepared him further for the next stage.

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The New York Jets have built a fantastic defensive line:

Featuring alongside Leonard Williams, Henry Anderson, Steve McLendon, and fellow draft-pick Jachai Polite, Williams and Co. could emerge as one of the better defensive fronts in the NFL. The talent level across the board is immense, and just Quinnen alone transforms the unit.

Moving forward, I expect the Jets to utilize him in many different ways – being in the 4-3 scheme allows them to move him around to different spots. He even has the ability to play defensive end in specific packages. His diversity and dynamic style of play will keep the opposing offense on their heels and undoubtedly force them to allocate more resources to stopping his elite moves.