NY Jets: The defensive line has a chance to be elite in 2021

NY Jets, Quinnen Williams
NY Jets, Quinnen Williams / Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images
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The NY Jets did some remodeling this offseason in an effort to bolster what was arguably the worst roster in football a year ago. Sure, the coaching staff did the team no favors, but this was a 2-14 team for a reason.

The roster was bad. Very bad.

Fortunately, general manager Joe Douglas got to work and made quite a few improvements at a variety of positions. Of course, this was never going to be a quick-fix. That said, the roster is certainly in better shape now than it was a year ago.

And perhaps no unit on the roster is more talented than the defensive line. If all goes according to plan, the Jets' defensive line has a chance to be elite in 2021.

The word "elite" isn't being thrown around too lightly here either. Given the players currently slated to be starters and the incredible depth behind them, the Jets' defensive line has a chance to be one of the best units in the NFL this upcoming season.

Carl Lawson, NY Jets
Carl Lawson, NY Jets / Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Quinnen Williams and Carl Lawson anchor the NY Jets' defensive line

2019 first-rounder Quinnen Williams broke out in 2020 after an underwhelming rookie season. The former Alabama star finished top-five in both pass-rush win rate and run-stop win rate — he was, for all intents and purposes, a top-five interior pass-rusher and run-stopper in 2021.

Williams will now shift over to more of a three-technique role in Robert Saleh's defense, a more natural fit given his athleticism. And when paired with more talent around him, Williams could become one of the NFL's best defensive linemen in 2021.

That isn't a hyperbole.

Part of his new supporting cast will be free-agent signing Carl Lawson. The Jets signed Lawson to a hefty three-year, $45 million contract in the offseason with the expectation that the former fourth-round pick will be the team's best edge rusher since John Abraham.

And if he plays anything like how he did in 2020, that shouldn't be an issue.

Lawson was one of the league's most productive and efficient pass-rushers a year ago racking up a whopping 64 pressures that ranked fourth out of all edge defenders. His 84.9 Pro Football Focus pass-rush grade ranked eighth at his position.