The Houston Texans revamped their historically horrendous defense, which started with hiring former San Francisco 49ers’ defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. But what more could they do, perhaps a blockbuster trade?
They continued that trend when Ryans and GM Nick Caserio went all in and traded up to land former Alabama Crimson Tide star edge Will Anderson Jr. The Texans' defense is loaded with young and hungry talent at all three levels of their defense, with second-year defenders Jalen Pitre, Derek Stingley Jr., and Christian Harris at each level. The hope is that Ryans's presence can clean up the worst-ranked tackling defense in the NFL by PFF’s standards.
Even with potential growth occurring for those players, there is still a significant hole in the middle of DeMeco Ryans’ defense. During Ryans' time as a defensive coach for the 49ers, they always had disruptive playmakers at the defensive tackle position, a position they invested in three first-round picks. The Texans are bringing back Maliek Collins, who had a solid year, and signed veteran run-stopper Sheldon Rankins to a one-year $10 million contract to continue solidifying the worst unit in football last year.
Rankins comes over from Ryans' old boss, Robert Salah, and should be familiar with the defense and his role. Rankins is not a disrupter like they had in San Francisco. He will help slow the bleeding in the run-stopping department, but his stats and current contract affirm that he will instead be here to be the guy in the middle. That guy could be his former teammate, who might just be available to be had via trade.
We are talking about Quinnen Williams of the New York Jets. The current Jets star has hinted that he is not happy with his current contract situation, as he changed his Twitter profile from saying “Defensive tackle for the New York Jets” to “Defensive tackle for…..” thus alluding to the notion that he could play elsewhere this upcoming season. Additionally, reports have surfaced concluding that the Jets and Williams are not close on a new deal”. Williams confirmed his interest in a new deal at the end of the season.
"“Everybody knows I'm a team guy. Everybody knows that I believe in the team and want to put the team first and different things like that, but I do want to get a contract done before the offseason program.”"- Quinnen Williams
If the former Crimson Tide star does become available, he would be an obvious target for first-year head coach DeMeco Ryans based on his abilities, fit in the scheme, timeline as a player, and what the contract could look like. Let’s break each of these down.