Leonard Williams to Get His Shot in 2015


May 8, 2015; Florham Park, NY, USA; New York Jets rookie defensive lineman Leonard Williams (62) runs drills during rookie minicamp at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

When the New York Jets pick d-lineman Leonard Williams No. 7 overall, I wondered what his impact would be. With guys Sheldon Richardson and Mohamed Wilkerson playing the same position, it didn’t even seem like he would even start. But the Jets stuck to the rule of taking the best available player regardless of position.

When an NFL team sticks to that rule, everything seems to fall in place for it to work out. And right now, it’s looking like that’s going to be the case with Williams and the Jets for 2015. The NFL announced Thursday that Richardson has been suspended without pay for the first four games for violating the NFL’s Policy and for Substances of Abuse.

That means Richardson won’t be back until Oct. 5, one day after the Jets play the Miami Dolphins in Week 4. That means Williams will get to prepare like a starter and get those all important reps with the first team. And even more importantly, if Williams plays well, Richardson, the 2013 Defensive Rookie Of The Year, may become expendable with the incident making him unreliable.

Head coach Todd Bowles called the news “disappointing for Sheldon and the team.” NFL.com also quoted Bowls as saying, “We’re going to support Sheldon and welcome him back upon his return,” Bowles’ statement read. “We will keep moving forward with our preparations for the upcoming season.”

But this is Williams’ shot to show what he can do.

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