Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams says he's 'going to be 'unstoppable' in 2020

ByRich Cimini ESPN logo
Wednesday, August 19, 2020

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. --New York Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, drafted third overall in 2019, admittedly fell short of big expectations as a rookie. Emboldened, if not humbled, he predicted a monster rebound.

"I feel like I'm tapped into that zone, tapped into that level that I'm going to be unstoppable," he said Wednesday during a Zoom call.

Williams, 22, the highest-drafted defensive player in franchise history, produced underwhelming numbers -- 28 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 13 games. After rededicating himself in the offseason, he oozed confidence as he spoke to reporters for the first time since last season.

"This year, I'm feeling it, man," he said. "I got my body right this offseason. I got my confidence back this offseason. I got a trainer who I've been training my butt off with. ... I just feel it, man. I'm in great shape, great condition. I got my body fat down.

"I'm rocking and rolling. I feel myself being that person that they drafted me to be. I feel like I'm coming into that person -- a dominant defensive tackle in the NFL."

The Jets could use an impact player on defense, especially after trading All-Pro safety Jamal Adams and losing middle linebacker C.J. Mosley, who opted out for 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns. None of their remaining players has made a single Pro Bowl.

Williams said he reported to training camp at 297 pounds, six pounds below last year. He credited New Jersey-based trainer Don Somerville, who told ESPN that Williams weighed 325 as recently as May.

By dieting and working out, Williams said he "transformed my whole body." He ate a lot of seafood and protein, dropped fast food and trained "night and day." He was so into training that he sent his workout videos to teammates Steve McLendon and Henry Anderson.

"I reconstructed every aspect of my life around playing football this year, being on the field this year and not making the same mistakes I made last year," he said.

Williams, an all-America in his only season as a starter for Alabama, showed his inexperience as a rookie. He was indecisive at times, more robotic than instinctive. He also was slowed by a high-ankle sprain, but he refused to use that as an excuse.

The Jets expect significant improvement now that he has had a year in defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' system.

"The biggest thing I keep looking for with him is, how disruptive can you be?" coach Adam Gase said. "[It has to be] within the system, doing your job, but at the same time, making the offensive linemen think about you pre-snap."

Williams' position coach, former NFL defensive lineman Andre Carter, told him it took three years in the NFL before things clicked for him.

"I'm like, 'I can't wait until my third year. I have to hit it now,'" Williams said.

Williams' offseason was marred by a March arrest at New York's LaGuardia Airport; he was charged with two felonies for carrying an illegal handgun. It was licensed in Alabama, his home state, but not New York.

His attorney, Alex Spiro, said Wednesday in a text message to ESPN that "we are confident the case will be resolved without any criminal charges."