It didn't take Quinnen Williams long to get thrown into the fire. The Jets' third overall selection of the April draft in fact got his first pro start in Thursday night's preseason opener against the Giants at MetLife Stadium.
"It was amazing just to get out there and compete and go up against some guys I know nothing about, go against some great talent, and just to see everybody, the team camaraderie," Williams said following the Jets' 31-22 loss. "So it was amazing."
Williams was the only Jets rookie to start in the game. In part, that arose from the players in front of him on the Jets' D-line depth chart being kept out of the fray. DL Leonard Williams had been held out of practices this week as a precautionary measure due to hip irritation. And Steve McLendon was excused because, as head coach Adam Gase said, "How old is he? He's our only guy over 30, right? I think so. I was just giving him a rest."
But Williams also has been impressing his teammates and coaches in his own right. McLendon called him "very dynamic" while S Jamal Adams said "he has the mindset of a killer."
See Best Images of the Preseason Opener at MetLife Stadium
"Q" wasn't a killer in his 11 defensive snaps and one special teams play against the Giants, but he looked the part of a young professional. In the Giants' first two possessions, he made one significant contribution. On their third play, third-and-8 from their 27, veteran RB Wayne Gallman got the carry and Williams and LB Brandon Copeland swarmed him after a 2-yard gain, forcing a three-and-out punt.
"It wasn't much different than the guys I go against every day," Williams said. "They're very talented, competitive. It made my job much easier. It was a different theme, a different field because it was somebody different. Just going against some great talent here has prepared me very well."
So where does Williams go now? Meaning not the rest of his career but the rest of his week, as the Jets return to training camp at the Atlantic Health Training Center and prepare for preseason Game No. 2 at Atlanta next Thursday.
"Just look at the film, watch what I did wrong, watch what I did right, and just get better every day," he said. "I did good things, but I did bad things. So just look at the film, watch what I did and then get better on everything, get better on our objectives."