The New York Jets stayed put with the third overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and selected Alabama DT Quinnen Williams. He will join Leonard Williams, Henry Anderson and Steve McLendon to form a very talented defensive line (sound familiar?) and bring a unique pass rushing ability to the group. To be clear, this Williams is a superior prospect to the four other recent interior defensive linemen the Jets have taken in round one and is arguably the most talented player in this draft class.
Williams came somewhat out of nowhere last season to rack up 8 sacks and 19.5 tackles for a loss for Alabama. He has a special ability to get after the quarterback, as Joe Blewett has thoroughly documented throughout the pre-draft process. This is both a high floor and a high ceiling player. He doesn’t have the versatility of a player like Ed Oliver or Josh Allen but has much less “bust” or disappointment potential and a better chance of reaching an All-Pro level faster. Williams produced against the highest level of competition in college football and is a clean prospect who will be an impact player from day one.
The biggest question on this selection is if the Jets can maximize their defensive production by building so heavy up the middle and neglecting the edges of their defense and speed overall. This overview from Dan Essien does a good job of laying out why some of those concerns are valid and I broke down Williams vs Josh Allen or another edge addition here. It was also reported via Adam Schefter the team was trying down while on the clock, it will be interesting to see if it leaks what their projected offers could have been, if they passed on any and to see how they utilize their two third round picks. Do they focus offense after going defense for the 10th time in their last 11 first round picks?
I think this tweet sums up the Williams selection well, although it may be a bit too harsh.
Love the Quinnen Williams pick, but man the Jets have holes everywhere in that roster. Can’t help but feel like Williams will put up pro bowl seasons in relative obscurity on a crappy team for the foreseeable future
— Chris B. Brown (@smartfootball) April 26, 2019
I don’t doubt Quinnen Williams is going to be a very good, if not a potentially great player as an interior defensive lineman. Gregg Williams will be critical in the short term to maximizing his week to week impact on the overall unit and the team’s success. In the long term, we don’t know if Leonard Williams and Henry Anderson will be here so having a perpetually very good to great defensive lineman is a good thing. This isn’t a flashy move and helping Sam Darnold in an offense dominated league is still a massive priority and need but for now, pending there was no strong trade down offer, the Jets arguably did as well as they could in their draft position.