Jets rookie Williams shrugs at NFL transition: ‘Easier than I thought’

The NFL transition wasn't a hard one for Leonard Williams.
Ed Mulholland/Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

When a rookie comes into the NFL, there's typically a transition period. The players are bigger, faster and stronger, and it usually takes some getting used to.

That doesn't seem to be the case for New York Jets rookie Leonard Williams though — at least according to him.

“I would say easier than I thought,” Williams said of the NFL transition, via Darryl Slater of “I think that being thrown into the mix right away helped me develop quickly. If I would've had to sit out and be thrown in every once in a while, I think it would've slowed down my pace on picking up the game. Being out there and learning from all these guys, it made it a lot easier for me.” 

Although his numbers haven't been outstanding — particularly his sack totals — Williams has had a huge impact for the Jets this season. He's recorded 17 quarterback hits despite having just 1 1/2 sacks on the year, meaning he's getting there just a second too late.

However, even though he's hit the quarterback 17 times, Williams isn't happy with his production as a pass rusher thus far.

“I expected more, to be honest,” he said. “I've been lacking in the pass rushing. Sometimes, I talk to the vets about it, and it stresses me out sometimes, my lack of sacks. But they always tell me hits on the quarterback still count, and just keep working at it, and it'll eventually come. Definitely during the offseason, I'm going to work on pass rushing a lot.”

The Jets are certainly happy with the production Williams has had as a rookie, especially with guys like Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson playing alongside him. New York won't be able to retain this outstanding defensive line for years to come, but Williams is undoubtedly a cornerstone of the defense.

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