NY Jets: 3 players that must step up following the Carl Lawson injury

NY Jets, Bryce Huff, Sheldon Rankins
NY Jets, Bryce Huff, Sheldon Rankins / Dustin Satloff/Getty Images
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NY Jets, Quinnen Williams
NY Jets, Quinnen Williams / Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

2. Quinnen Williams, DT, NY Jets

We got the opportunity to see Carl Lawson and Quinnen Williams side by side in team drills for less than one August practice.

Williams returned to team drills for the first time this summer as he continues to work his way back from an offseason foot injury. Alas, that was this past Thursday — the same practice that Lawson tore his Achilles.

Fans were undoubtedly looking forward to the prospect of watching Lawson and Williams strike fear in opposing offensive lines. The thought of Lawson and Williams together in a Robert Saleh system was enough to make many believe that the Jets' defensive line had top-five potential.

But one of those two players has been lost for the season, leaving his teammate to pick up the slack.

Williams broke out in 2020 after a somewhat underwhelming rookie season. The 2019 third overall pick finished top-five among all interior defensive linemen in both pass-rush win rate and run-stop win rate.

He was quite literally one of the best pass-rushing and run-stopping interior defenders in the NFL last year. Now, he'll have the opportunity to play more of a three-technique defensive tackle role under Saleh.

Williams won't have Lawson to help him terrorize opposing offenses, but hopes are still high that he can put together another dominant season.