The Jets didn't find an offer they liked to trade away their No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. So they called Alabama DT Quinnen Williams up to accept his new Jets jersey on the stage in Nashville.
Williams was the 2018 John Outland Trophy winner for the best interior lineman in college football last season, and for good reason. He tallied 71 tackles, eight sacks, and 19.5 tackles for loss over 15 games as Alabama made their way to the National Championship yet again. The 6-foot-3, 303-pounder has received comparisons to Rams DT Aaron Donald, and the Jets are hoping that will come to fruition.
So how does Williams fit in new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' scheme? GM Mike Maccagnan believes Quinnen Williams could be put anywhere on the Jets' front this season.
"I think he has the ability to play up and down the line," Maccagnan said during his press conference on Thursday night.
The "300-pound bar of soap," as his Alabama teammate Jonah Williams coined him, has everything a team would want from a defensive tackle. He has the speed, brute strength, fighting hands, and awareness off the snap that makes him such a dominant force in the trenches.
Gregg Williams normally runs a 3-4 scheme, but he noted earlier this offseason that he won't necessarily deploy a set scheme this season. It could be a hybrid that sees a 4-3 setup as well. That won't matter for Quinnen Williams, though. With his dual threat in the run game and pass rush, Williams should be able to adapt to any defense he is put in.
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SNY's Ralph Vacchiano also believes Williams' impact with help the rest of the Jets' defensive front, especially DE Leonard Williams.
"Williams is the kind of guy who can do real damage on the inside and is strong enough to play the run as well. He's drawn some comparisons to Aaron Donald. Maybe not in overall ability, but certainly in the kind of presence he can have in the middle of the line and for the Jets, even though they need an edge rusher, that is still huge because it can divert attention away from Leonard Williams and maybe open up things for him as a pass rusher."
One NFC scout also told Vacchiano this: "He's the safest pick and best defensive player -- maybe the best overall player -- in the draft."
And NBC NFL analyst Chris Simms reiterated that scout saying, "Quinnen Williams is probably the best defensive tackle I've ever watched coming out of college."
The Jets could have gone with an edge rusher at No. 3, but Williams' pedigree and potential in the NFL was too much to pass up.