He has had some questionable picks, swung and missed on free agents, and hasn’t won enough games.
Although there are two areas where he has really stood out: in player trades and on the waiver wire.
On that note, one insider believes that they have found not only a hidden gem but perhaps a player with Pro Bowl potential.
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A Fantastic Find
The 25-year-old (will be 26 by the start of the 2022 season) was originally the No. 98 overall pick in the third round of the 2019 NFL draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
After two up and down years, he got cut and was looking for a job right before the start of this season and the Jets took a flier on him through waivers.
Williams ended up playing in 16 games for the green and white, starting in 13 of those, and delivered some magnificent results:
- 110 combined tackles
- Two sacks
- Nine tackles for loss
- Three forced fumbles
All of those were career highs for the talented linebacker out of Murray State.
When he was first claimed it seemed like a really cool story, Quinnen Williams’ older brother getting a chance to play with his little brother in the NFL.
Although no one really thought he had much of a long-term future here, then he simply took full advantage of his opportunities.
Williams’ best trait was his ability to deliver crippling and thunderous hits every time he stepped on the football field. It sent fear into opponents, razzed up the fan base with SportsCenter highlights, and his energy was infectious to the rest of his teammates during the game.
Although a handful of times throughout the year he was picked on in coverage. The good news is he got better as the year went on.
Williams isn’t a perfect player by any means, but this coaching staff believes they have stumbled into an intriguing piece of clay that they can mold into a key cog on this team moving forward.
How Big of a Priority Is the Linebacker Position?
Most people when they assess the Jets’ positional needs this offseason normally include the linebacker position.
CJ Mosley is coming off of the best year of his career and the aforementioned Williams will likely man another one of those starting positions.
That leaves one more opening in the starting lineup for head coach Robert Saleh’s 4-3 defense. Or so we thought?
In that same conversation Hughes explained why perhaps it isn’t as much of a need as people crack it up to be:
“The days of having three linebackers on the field are so rare. Look at the number of times an offense has three or four receivers on the field, that happens a lot. So you match that in your nickel and dime defenses and that takes linebackers off of the field. So 75 to 80 percent of the time, the Jets will only have two linebackers on the field.”
Hughes added that he believes the Jets could add a low-priced veteran or a draft pick to this unit, but don’t expect any major investments in free agency or a high selection in the draft.
This isn’t “a priority position for the Jets” that you need. Hughes said there are things on your wish list in the offseason that are ‘wants’ and there are items that are ‘needs’. He categorized the linebacker spot as something you could improve on, but it isn’t in the same class as the other big needs on this roster.