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Linebacker Quincy Williams and a true breakout season

Quincy Williams took a big leap forward this season

NFL: New York Jets at New England Patriots Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

One of the hallmarks of the offseason is that fans dream on which players will break out. Usually, those dreams fall flat. Sometimes, however, the fates smile on that hope and a true blue breakout comes through.

For the 2023 New York Jets, that breakout campaign came in the form of linebacker Quincy Williams. Heading into the season, Quincy was the oft-questioned recipient of a three-year, 18 million dollar contract who was perhaps better known for being the brother of Jets defensive lineman Quinnen Williams than for plus linebacker play.

This season though? This season was a different story as Quincy Williams went from decent linebacker to star, at least according to his PFF rankings from the regular season.

  • Overall grade of 81.1 (ranked 16th among linebackers)
  • Rush defense grade of 70.4 (ranked 58th among linebackers)
  • Tackling grade of 60.1 (ranked 95th among linebackers)
  • Coverage grade of 88.7 (ranked 2nd among linebackers; Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley was 1st)
  • Pass rush grade of 72.9 (ranked 45th among linebackers)

Needless to say, that’s a really strong overall year by Quincy that was largely buoyed by being superb in pass coverage. And to hit home on just how much of a breakout this season was, these were his grades in 2022:

  • Overall grade of 55.2
  • Rush defense grade of 60.8
  • Tackling grade of 52.9
  • Coverage grade of 50.0
  • Pass rush grade of 66.2

As shown, there was strong improvement across the board for Williams when comparing the two seasons.

With that said, the largest was in the coverage domain, which may have been a result of greater familiarity with the system after having spent some time in it. Perhaps even greater familiarity will allow the other areas of his performance to see similar strides, making Quincy an even better player than we’ve become accustomed to seeing.