After an offseason full of good news for the Jets, they’ve been hit with a minor speed bump.
Star defensive tackle Quinnen Williams broke a small bone in his foot. The third-overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft will have surgery and will be out 8-10 weeks a source confirmed to the Daily News. He won’t be able to participate in OTAs or minicamp, but should recover in time to be ready for training camp.
Williams was working out at the Jets facility when he got hurt, according to the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.
Williams is a baller. Last season he had 55 tackles with 10 tackles for loss, 14 quarterback hits and 7.0 sacks. Pro Football Focus rated him the 12th best defensive interior lineman with a grade of 81. His grade against the run is 79.9 which was eight best at his position.
The Jets will need Williams to fully recover from this injury if they have any hopes of their defense being vastly improved from last year where they allowed 28.6 points and 387 yards per game. Their run defense was the lone bright spot as they allowed 112 yards rushing per game. He was one of the few players that solidified himself as a key cog for the future.
“I absolutely love Quinnen,” new head coach Robert Saleh said recently. “Really excited to get the seat belt off of his harness and let him go. In this scheme, to get him going vertical, to get all that mass moving in the direction that he needs to go, I’m really excited about the potential that he’s going to have.”
The defensive line featuring Williams, Folorunso Fatukasi, John Franklin-Myers, Vinny Curry, Carl Lawson and Sheldon Rankins should cause a bit more havoc this season in Saleh’s 4-3 scheme. But they will need a healthy Williams to accomplish that.
The former Alabama star has missed games in both his first two pro seasons. As a rookie, Williams missed a couple games after suffering an ankle injury in Week 1 against the Bills and then missed a game against the Ravens in Week 15 with a neck injury.
During last year’s pandemic campaign, he missed a Week 9 matchup against the Patriots with a hamstring injury and then was placed on the injured reverse after the Jets upset the Rams in Week 15 with a neck injury.
Before breaking the bone in his foot, Williams was fully healthy ahead of Year 3 with Gang Green.