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Jets Defensive Line Look Ahead: Quinnen Williams & Co. Moving in Right Direction

Line Seeks Health, Consistency vs. the Run, Even Bigger Seasons from 'Q' & 'Foley' Fatukasi

Table inside Article
Player GP-GS-DNP-IA Def/ST Snaps
Quinnen Williams 13-13-0-1 586-71
Henry Anderson 16-8-0-0 548-103
Folorunso Fatukasi 15-8-0-0 506-137
John Franklin-Myers 15-2-0-1 500-24
Nathan Shepherd 14-3-0-2 335-120
Bryce Huff 14-0-0-2 295-87
Steve McLendon 6-6-0-0 178-43
Kyle Phillips 7-3-0-0 171-3
Jabari Zuniga 8-0-1-0 103-3
Jordan Willis 2-0-1-4 46-0
Tanzel Smart 3-0-0-0 26-0
Trevon Coley 0-0-0-2 0-0

Finished on Injured Reserve: Williams, Phillips

No Longer With Team: McLendon, Willis

Potential Unrestricted FAs in 2021: Coley

'21: A New Deal

The defensive line looks to be heading onward and upward for next season. Quinnen Williams, the third pick of the 2019 draft, emerged as a DL playmaker in his second season. Folorunso Fatukasi and Henry Anderson spent a good amount of time in opponents' backfields as well. And John Franklin-Myers, Nathan Shepherd and Kyle Phillips each showed flashes at different points. None of them is a free agent.

The line parted ways with vets Steve McLendon and Jordan Willis but got some return on their departures — McLendon's trade to Tampa Bay brought a sixth-round selection in 2022, as did Willis' trade to San Francisco. And McLendon's leadership will be missed, but helping to fill the veteran voice void was the third-year man Fatukasi, who provided appropriate words and urgency when needed in the locker room and on the sideline, as did the 11th-year player McLendon.

We needed to see a little more from Williams (one game inactive, final two games on IR) and a lot more from Phillips, the 2019 wunderkind (last nine games on IR) and fourth-round rookie Jabari Zuniga (on IR to start season, didn't play until Game 8). With great health in '21, we will.

'20: Quick Look Back
Williams upped his production in Year 2, leading the Jets' defense with 7.0 sacks, 12 tackles for loss/no gain (on rushes and receptions) and 7 tackles for loss only. And his 19 tackles at or behind the line on all plays, including sacks, were the most by a Jets defender since Leonard Williams' 22.5 in 2016. Add in a team-leading three passes defensed behind the line and it was quite a sophomore explosion for the young man from the University of Alabama. Similar, although not as dominating, were the contributions from Fatukasi (11 TFLNG, 2 sacks) and Anderson (10.5 TFLNG, 0.5 sack).

Some days, the run fits with the LBs were sensational (29 rush yards allowed at Chargers, 45 vs. Browns), some days it was not (182 yards allowed vs. 49ers, 174 at Seattle, 166 at New England). With more of the aforementioned health, plus consistency, plus a return to form of LB C.J. Mosley behind them, the run defense should benefit.

DL Trivia
Besides his reliable D-line play, Henry Anderson has provided three of the Jets' last six blocked kicks. With his punt block at the L.A. Chargers this past season plus his field goal and extra point rejections in 2018, Anderson became the first Jet with at least one blocked punt, FG and XP since Joe Klecko and Donald Dykes both completed their kick-blocking trifecta during the 1979 season.

See the Top Photos of Quinnen Williams, Folorunso Fatukasi and the Jets D-Line in 2020

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