Fletcher

Fletcher Cox won’t be Quinnen Williams’ concern on Sunday. 

But Williams has long had his eyes on Cox, the Eagles’ veteran defensive tackle who will be a handful for the Jets’ offensive line when they meet in the trenches at MetLife Stadium. 

As Williams continues to establish himself as one of the better defensive tackles in the NFL in his third year with the Jets, bringing his name into discussions of the Pro Bowl and a potential contract extension, he’ll have a chance to share the field Sunday with Cox, the player after whom he has tried to model his game. 

“Everything — I try to take everything from his game,” Williams said Friday after practice. “Because he’s big. I compare myself to him all the time. I laugh with coaches and players on the field that my comparison coming out of college was Aaron Donald. I’m like, ‘I cannot be Aaron Donald.’ Aaron Donald is first of all, 6-1, 285 pounds, quick as lightning, super get-off, amazing pass rush and all-around freak. I’m like, I compare myself to Fletcher Cox. Same height, same weight, probably the same power rushing. I grew up watching Fletcher Cox do the things he [does], trying to imitate the stuff he’s doing coming out of high school and college.” 

img loading="lazy" width="1024" height="683" src="https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/12/120321Jets36BK.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=1024" alt="Jets" srcset="https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/12/120321Jets36BK.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=2048 2048w, https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/12/120321Jets36BK.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=1536 1536w, https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/12/120321Jets36BK.jpg?quality=90&strip=all 1024w, https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/12/120321Jets36BK.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=512 512w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px"">JetsQuinnen Williams speaks after practice Friday.
Bill Kostroun/New York Post

Williams called the 30-year-old Cox a “mentor.” He got the chance to speak with Cox during the NFL draft process before the Jets selected Williams with the third-overall pick in 2019. 

But the 6-foot-3, 303-pound Alabama product got an even better learning experience from the 6-4, 310-pound Cox this summer, when the Jets and Eagles held joint practices. 

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“I got a chance to talk to him about his game and my game, stuff like that,” Williams said of the six-time Pro Bowler. “I had talked to him before that, but talking to him in pads and in his element was like a dope experience.” 

Since that meeting, Williams has enjoyed a strong season, registering six sacks, 40 tackles, six tackles for loss and 12 quarterback hits in 11 games. His sacks are tied for fourth among all defensive tackles (trailing Jeffery Simmons, Javon Hargrave and Chris Jones), and his 29 total pressures are good for 12th among all interior linemen, per Pro Football Focus. 

It hasn’t gone unnoticed. Williams landed in sixth place for defensive tackles in the latest Pro Bowl voting update released on Thursday. 

img loading="lazy" width="1024" height="683" src="https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/12/1353308216-1.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=1024" alt="Fletcher Cox" srcset="https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/12/1353308216-1.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=2048 2048w, https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/12/1353308216-1.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=1536 1536w, https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/12/1353308216-1.jpg?quality=90&strip=all 1024w, https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/12/1353308216-1.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=512 512w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px"">Fletcher CoxFletcher Cox
Getty Images

“I think he’s a Pro Bowler, personally,” Jets head coach Robert Saleh said. “He’s a fantastic young man, his work ethic, all of it. His numbers are up there with some of the best ones in this league, and he shows up to work every day. When he steps on the football he absolutely, whether it’s practice or the game, his effort is as good as anyone and his production is as good as anyone.” 

Williams garnered Pro Bowl consideration last year, but was ultimately left out. 

“It’s a huge thing,” Williams said. “It’s a huge accomplishment to even be in that top 10 with people like Aaron Donald, Chris Jones, all those top dope guys.” 

But Williams insisted the Pro Bowl voting was not at the top of his mind, nor was the extension for which he will be eligible after this season. The 23-year-old could soon be in for a big payday — if the Jets decide to make him their first first-round pick to get an extension since Muhammad Wilkerson in 2016 — but Williams has downplayed it for now, heeding the advice of his old college coach. 

“Nah, I definitely haven’t been thinking about that,” Williams said. “All that’s like rat poison, like Coach [Nick] Saban used to say. Just focus on what I can control. I can’t control the Pro Bowl votes. I can’t control extension, money and all that. All I can control is helping the team, helping the defense and doing all I can do to win football games.”

Source : https://nypost.com/2021/12/04/jets-quinnen-williams-tries-to-learn-everything-from-fletcher-cox/

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