Jets defensive end Leonard Williams arrived for the start of offseason workouts Monday with a plan in place: He wants to become one of the NFL's elite defensive linemen.
"That's my goal this year," he said. "I think it's definitely time to step up and take it to the next level."
Through three seasons, with one Pro Bowl appearance, Williams has been a very good player, but not yet an elite one.
The biggest thing separating him from that next step -- sacks. He had three, seven, and two in his first three seasons, though he racked up 65 quarterback hits over that span.
Last season, Williams had a career-best 25 quarterback hits, tied for seventh-most in the NFL. Yet he was able to get just two sacks. (As a rookie, Williams had 21 hits and just three sacks.)
Williams knows it is time for him to turn more of those quarterback hits into sacks. Because of how close he has come, he thinks he isn't far from becoming an elite player.
"I think I've always been right there, with all the quarterback hits," he said. "The years that I don't have a lot of sacks, I still have a lot of quarterback hits. That's my goal, is to just not have it close anymore, and making those hits into sacks, just getting that one step closer. I've always been right there, so I'm pretty sure it's close."