Joe Namath
(Photo: Julio Cortez, AP)

Joe Namath is a fan of the New York Jets’ most recent first-round draft pick, and not just because of the Alabama Crimson Tide connection.

It’s about a 15-hour drive from Bryant-Denny Stadium to MetLife Stadium. Joe Namath’s journey was a little longer … the trip to Queens adds over a half hour … but he’s glad to see Quinnen Williams is making the journey.

Speaking at Manhattan’s Gridiron Gala, an event hosted by the United Way, Namath lavished praises on the defensive lineman. Williams was chosen third overall by the New York Jets in last month’s NFL Draft.

“Quinnen is a fine man and he knows how to get out there and work,” Namath said, per Ethan Greenberg of “If it rubs off on some of the other players in how he prepares, we’re going to continue to improve. Look for the Jets to get better and maybe win a championship sometime soon.”

Namath explained how important it is to put pressure on a quarterback. He definitely has some experience in the phenomenon, albeit in a painful way. Though sacks were not an official stat during his career, he nonetheless took plenty of big hits in a 13-year NFL tenure.

The Jets face several multi-talented quarterbacks in their 2019 docket. The season is bookended with matchups against divisional newcomer Josh Allen in Buffalo. Tom Brady will face the Jets as a defending Super Bowl champion for the sixth time. Outside of the division, matchups with Baker Mayfield, Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott, Lamar Jackson and Ben Roethlisberger await.

Namath believes Williams can help stave off some of the potential damage by getting in the backfield.

“(Quarterback pressure) can get into your head if it’s done consistently well and when you look at the tape, seeing who you’re getting ready to play, you see that kind of effort that Quinnen brings to the table and some of these other great defensive linemen.”

The Hall-of-Fame quarterback also expects the big men on the other side of the ball to play a big part in the Jets’ potential success. New York added former All-Pro guard Kelechi Osemele in a March trade with Oakland.

“That’s where winning and losing starts, up front with the O-line and the D-line,” he said. “The best pass defense in the world is pressure, getting on that quarterback…It’s a team effort and I know Sam will do well if he can get an offensive line that can block guys. There aren’t many guys like Quinnen.”

Williams made his unofficial Jets debut on Friday, as he and his fellow draftees took the podium in Florham Park. While he was starstruck by all the name-brand talent in his new locker room, he nonetheless expressed dedication and commitment to the Jets’ reclamation project and learning from their veterans.

“I’m a hard worker and I know I’m going to do anything I need to do to be able to compete at a high level and at the strength I need, the speed I need, and the condition I need,” he said, per Olivia Landis, also of “I really want to basically break my whole entire game down … Get to know the veterans and pick their brains about how they do this, what’s the hand placement, and different techniques because they’ve been doing it for so long for a reason.”

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