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DL Reset: DT Quinnen Williams & Co. Set to Pick Up Where Group Left Off 

Carl Lawson Eyes Double-Digit Sacks in 2023 Season 

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Table inside Article
Jets Holdovers Quinnen Williams (Round 1, 2019), Carl Lawson (UFA-CIN, 2021), John Franklin-Myers (W-LRM, 2019), EDGE Jermaine Johnson II (Round 1c, 2022), Micheal Clemons (Round 4b, 2022), Solomon Thomas (UFA-LV, 2022), Bryce Huff (UDFA, 2020), Tanzel Smart (FA, 2020), Marquiss Spencer (FA, 2022)
New Veterans Isaiah Mack (W-SEA, 2023), Quinton Jefferson (FA, 2023), Al Woods (FA, 2023)
Rookie Arrivals EDGE Will McDonald IV (Round 1, 2023), Deslin Alexandre (UDFA, 2023)
Departures Sheldon Rankins, Nathan Shepherd, Vinny Curry

Cornerstones and Contributors
Quinnen Williams' All-Pro 2022 season helped the Jets defense to a historic jump. After ranking dead last in yards allowed in 2021 (397.6 yards per game), the Jets climbed to No. 4 last season (311.1).

Williams led the team with 12 sacks, 12 tackles for loss, 28 QB pressures and 2 forced fumbles. He did not participate in the voluntary offseason program as he awaited the birth of his first child and a contract extension. While no agreement has been reached, head coach Robert Saleh expressed optimism this spring about the former No. 3 overall pick's availability for training camp.

"I speak for everyone, I probably speak for Quinnen in that we all want it to get done sooner rather than later," Saleh said. "I'll let the business guys handle all that stuff, but it's going to get done. He'll be here for camp, he'll be ready to roll and once he is, I'm sure he'll be the same guy he was a year ago."

Almost all the starting and supporting cast from last season remain intact including Carl Lawson, John Franklin-Myers, Bryce Huff, Solomon Thomas, Jermaine Johnson and Micheal Clemons. Lawson, who had 7 sacks in 2022, enters camp trimmer, healthy and confident.

"I haven't felt like this in, I think ever," he said. "It's been truly a blessing, so I'm excited about it."

Lawson added on what his on-field production will look like: "Best version of myself production-wise. Just tune in. I was kind of getting to a point right before I got hurt (in Green Bay in 2021), but this is different. You just have to wait and see."

With 27 sacks in 68 regular-season games, Lawson has his eyes on double-digit sacks this season.

"That's a goal and that's going to happen," he said.

For the professional sophomores – the bigger Clemons (290 pounds) will offer position flexibility like Franklin-Myers at DE and DT while Johnson feels more prepared to handle the NFL.

See the best photos of Carl Lawson, Quinnen Williams, Jermaine Johnson and the Jets defensive line.

Newcomers and Outgoers
The most change for the Jets defensive line came at defensive tackle.

Sheldon Rankins (Texans) and Nathan Shepherd (Saints) both departed in free agency, leaving a pair of holes on the interior that were plugged by a pair of former Seahawks in Quinton Jefferson, who had a career-high 5.5 sacks last season, and Al Woods.

For the second straight year, general manager Joe Douglas added a defensive end in the first round of the NFL Draft. Last year was Jermaine Johnson at No. 26 overall and this year was Will McDonald at No. 15. The Iowa State product is a wiry, rangy player with unique tools that helped him total 34 sacks, tied for the most in Big 12 history.

"Will looks the part," Saleh said. "I love his personality. He is a dude, man. He's got tremendous length, his bend, just going through drills. … Obviously, there's things from a developmental standpoint. All rookies go through it with regards to a little bit more size, a little bit more power, developing the ability to run through tackles is always going to be the biggest thing for a defensive lineman, but I love where he's at right now."

"You always want to be the best D-line and it's a goal in the back of our head, but the goal every game is to be the most disruptive front," Solomon Thomas said. "We want to affect the quarterback, we want to put them down, we want to create turnovers and we want to find ways to win the game. Sometimes that may not be the numbers we like. We may have 2.0 sacks, we may have 19 quarterback hits, and with 2.0 sacks, you're not going to lead the league in sacks, but how disruptive we are is going to make us win the game, so that's our goal."

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