What to expect from Jets' Leonard Williams in 2015
New York Jets first-round pick Leonard Williams notched the first two sacks of his preseason career Friday night against the Falcons, while knocking down the quarterback one other time. The defensive lineman also managed to make an impact in the running game, getting in on an impressive tackle for a 4-yard loss as he destroyed Atlanta guard Chris Chester right off the line.
That’s the type of stout play against the run we expect from Williams in his rookie year, as he posted the fourth-best grade in that department among interior defensive linemen in college football last season (92.6).
However, as a pass-rusher, the box score doesn’t tell the entire story. Fans may see the two sacks and a hit and think it was a dominant performance, but as always, the nature of the sacks is more important than the number itself.
Both times, the Falcons failed to block Williams, first allowing a free run that led to a safety, then completely blowing the assignment on the stunt as Williams twisted inside to pick up his second easy sack of the night. Even the hit was more of the clean-up variety, as Williams got to QB Matt Ryan after 3.2 seconds in the pocket.
Overall, it was a solid night for Williams, but don’t let the box score lead us into thinking it was an exceptional pass-rushing effort. We still expect Williams to be far more effective as a run defender in the NFL than as a pass-rusher.