The No. 1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, quarterback Kyler Murray does not attend organized team activity practices for the Arizona Cardinals. He would like a contract extension.
The No. 2 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, defensive end Nick Bosa is also not an OTA for the San Francisco 49ers.
The No. 3 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, defensive tackle Quinnen Williams is hard at work in the New York Jets OTAs, however.
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Each of the three players are entering the final season of their rookie contract but have already had the fifth-year option for the 2023 campaign chosen by their side. Each also became eligible for a contract extension at the end of the 2022 season.
Williams has said his next contract is not on his mind as he prepares for the next campaign.
“I just believe, man, the contracts are going to take care of themselves,” Williams said tuesday. “The money will take care of itself. I’m playing this game for the love of the game first and foremost, so money isn’t a big thing in my heart and mind right now. I just want to be the best football player on the pitch that I can be, man, just one of the best football players and do whatever I can to help this team win in general so when it comes of contracts, it’s gonna take care of itself, man. It’s in the hands of God.
Williams finds it “a little weird” that he’s preparing for his fourth season in the NFL.
“One of the rookies was like, ‘Hey, I’m 24′” Williams said. “And I’m like, ‘Whoa, I’m 24 too.’ It was one of the weird things, like, I’m like, ‘Oh, man, I’m going into my fourth year at 24, and he’s a rookie at 24.’
A prep star at Wenonah, Williams played two seasons at Alabama after a redshirt year. He entered the NFL after earning unanimous All-American recognition and winning the Outland Trophy as the nation’s top interior lineman in 2018. Williams played in all but two games that season at the age of 20 years.
“I’ve grown a lot, but I have a lot of growing room to go,” Williams said. “…I have a huge ceiling, man, and I haven’t reached the potential that I think I can reach yet, so I still feel young.”
Williams said he’s worked this offseason to hit that ceiling.
“There are a lot of things I had to work on – just getting bigger, stronger, faster, lowering body fat percentage, working on different mechanics. Williams said. “I just try to be a good football player in general and work on my craft and become the best player I can be.”
Williams is a three-year starter for the Jets with 105 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 13 sacks and 26 quarterback hits in 28 games over the past two seasons. If he has room to grow, so do the Jets. New York has won six games the past two seasons, posted six straight losing streaks and most recently made the playoffs in 2010.
“We’ve got a huge gap to fill in general, man,” Williams said“and everyone in the organization and everyone in the team knows that we have a huge gap to close, man, so it all comes down to attacking every day, man. Doing your best every day and then stacking each day and once you stack each day then man you’re going to have an amazing result so we’re not focusing on the end goal we’re just focusing on the day to day process right now .
This offseason, the Jets have signed tight ends Tyler Conklin and former Auburn standout CJ Uzomah, guard Laken Tomlinson, defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, linebacker Jacob Martin, cornerback DJ Reed and the safety Jordan Whitehead in free agency and used first-round picks to add cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, wide receiver Garrett Wilson and defensive end Jermaine Johnson II.
“The whole team in general, man, has amazing additions, especially on the attacking side,” Williams said. “You got the receivers, you got the tight body, you got Laken Tomlinson on the San Fran offensive line, man.
“But on the defensive end, we have an amazing group of guys, man, that came in. Just every one of them works, man. That’s all you can ask for. Better and better. Every individual hones their personal tools, hones their personal goals and competes everyday, having fun and pushing themselves to the limit, man.
Including Thursday’s practice, the Jets have eight other scheduled OTA workouts plus a mandatory three-day minicamp before the summer break.
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Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.