With 2019 training camp now underway, the official signing of No. 3 overall draft pick Quinnen Williams, which occurred yesterday, came at the perfect time for the New York Jets.
Last year, the New York Jets began training camp without the presence of first-round draft pick Sam Darnold. Due to contract negotiations, the rookie quarterback actually missed multiple practices before his management could come to an agreement with that of the Jets.
And with 2019 training camp officially beginning yesterday and practice beginning today, it seemed as if the Jets were going to wind up in a similar situation, as defensive lineman Quinnen Williams, who the Green and White drafted with the No. 3 overall pick, had not been signed up until yesterday.
Speaking on the topic this week, head coach Adam Gase downplayed the situation:
“When he’s ready, he’s ready,” Adam Gase said Wednesday via The Athletic. “When they’re ready to get it done, whenever it happens, it happens. And we’ll coach the guys that are here. (…) This is the norm. This happens when you get top-five picks. It takes time to go through these situations.
“We’ll be alright.”
In the end, however, getting a deal down with the 21-year-old was undoubtedly a priority and luckily for those involved, it was announced yesterday that the two sides had finally reached an agreement on Williams’ four-year deal. And given the importance of Williams to the new-look Jets, the news couldn’t have come at a better time.
In his one season at the University of Alabama, Williams, who stands 6’3” and weighs in around 303 pounds, totaled 71 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks in 15 games. He was also named the winner of the Outland Trophy, which is given to the country’s top interior lineman.
When it came time for the 2019 NFL Draft, many considered Williams to be the top player available. The only problem, however, was that the Jets didn’t necessarily need an interior lineman but rather a player who could provide a spark off the edge and rush the passer.
It was Williams that the Jets went with though and the team will now heavily rely on him moving forward. Without an established edge rusher, the Jets will hope to pressure opposing quarterbacks from the interior. Williams, along with Leonard Williams and Henry Anderson, will be counted on to make that happen.
And according to Williams himself, he has the ability to do just that.
“Dominant, fast, speed, furious, ready to go,” Williams told NewYorkJets.com when asked how to describe his game. “I’m ready to get out there and ready to get sacks. I’m a dominant force up front.”
Regardless of talent level, most rookies understandably go through an adjustment level when first entering the NFL. Because of that, it’s crucial that these young players are present and learning throughout training camp in order to gain experience and become more comfortable.
With Williams specifically expected to play a role in his first season, the Jets needed to make sure he was in uniform this week. Luckily, the team did just that and the process didn’t drag out longer than it needed to.