New York Jets: Top 3 reasons Leonard Williams will have breakout season

New York Jets Leonard Williams (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
New York Jets Leonard Williams (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

After an inconsistent start to his career, New York Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams is finally ready to have a monster season.

Since Leonard Williams was selected in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the New York Jets, he has largely been an effective player. He has become an unquestioned starter and has more than proven that he belongs in the league.

However, it is difficult for Jets fans to look at the sum total of what Williams has done so far and to not come away disappointed.

Over the first four years of his career, Williams has shown flashes of brilliance punctuated by stretches of merely good play.

It feels like he is yet to fully live up to his potential. Consider his career numbers thus far:


  • Sacks: 3.0
  • Quarterback Hits: 21
  • Tackles for Loss: 7


  • Sacks: 7.0
  • Quarterback Hits: 19
  • Tackles for Loss: 11


  • Sacks: 2.0
  • Quarterback Hits: 25
  • Tackles for Loss: 3


  • Sacks: 5.0
  • Quarterback Hits: 20
  • Tackles for Loss: 11

Williams’ sophomore season has thus far been his best, as he accrued a season-high seven sacks and his only Pro Bowl appearance in 2016.

In 2017, he took a step back (only two sacks), followed up by a rebound season last year (five sacks).

At first glance, it would seem to be anyone’s guess as to what to expect from Williams this season. Will he be a star player (2016), merely a good one (2017), or something in-between (2018)?

Here are the top three reasons that Leonard Williams will have a breakout campaign in 2019:

For starters, the Jets are under new leadership.

Their new coaching staff, headlined by head coach Adam Gase and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, should bring an immediate culture change. And if the always fiery Gregg Williams cannot push Leonard Williams to reach the next level, no coach can.

In addition to the changes on the sideline, the Jets have made noteworthy changes to their roster.

Through the additions of C.J. Mosley and Quinnen Williams, they have solidified the middle interior of their defensive front seven. The Jets defense will have more playmakers this year, making it harder for opposing offensive lines to solely focus on Williams. He is poised to hit the ground running and have immediate success in 2019.

Finally, Williams is on the last year of his current contract.

In addition to trying to help the Jets win, Williams will also be playing to showcase his skills around the league and to earn a new contract. With millions of future dollars at stake, Williams could not be more motivated in 2019.

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Up to this point, Williams’ tenure with the Jets has been a roller coaster. He has shown great potential but has never quite fully lived up to it. Jets fans can take solace in the fact that this will change in 2019, as the stars have aligned perfectly for Williams to have a monster season.