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Aaron Rodgers reacts to Jets drafting Olu Fashanu at No. 11: He’s a ‘mauler’

The Jets entered the offseason with a need to bolster an offensive line to help protect veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

And after signing veteran tackles Morgan Moses and Tyron Smith, and guard John Simpson this offseason, with the No. 11 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft – after moving down a spot in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings – general manager Joe Douglas did just that by selecting Penn State tackle Olu Fashanu.

So is Rodgers loving life?

“Yeah, we already made three moves in the offseason,” the quarterback told Pat McAfee. “It wasn’t necessarily top of the needs, but I know they really loved Olu and I love what Joe did moving back and getting a couple more picks.”

While it might not have been a top need in Rodgers’ eyes, the quarterback was still plenty impressed with the Nittany Lion’s resume.

“He didn’t give up a sack, I don’t think, in his entire college career,” Rodgers said. “Which is saying a lot, because you’re going against great schools in the Big Ten like Wisconsin, and every now and then Iowa.”

He added: “Olu is a mauler. He had an incredible career at Penn State. He’s not gonna need to jump in right away, at tackle, for sure. We’ll see if we work him in at guard. But I think he’s gonna have a long career in the league, much longer than I’m going to be in New Jersey, so excited for him.

“Excited to welcome him to the team. It’s a great O-line room, very well coached and a lot of great personalities that we added to the mix. So excited about adding to the team.”

When asked about the skill group and if that was an area he wanted to see the Jets address in the first round, Rodgers said he loves the skill group and he knew the team liked the three receivers at the top of the draft, Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers, Rome Odunze, and he was watching film on them.

“Skillset we got some great guys out there, excited to see what [recently signed WR Mike Williams] can do,” Rodgers said. “I love our tight ends, people were talking about us needing Brock [Bowers] and we brought him in on a visit and I heard it was a positive visit.

“But I love [Tyler] Conklin and [Jeremy] Ruckert and Kenny Yeboah and big Zach [Kuntz] last year who we drafted late, so him and I had a lot of success late in the season practicing together on the scout team so I like those four guys.”

He added that the Jets plan to be in a lot of 12 personnel – one running back, two tight ends, two WRs – and 21 – two running backs, one tight end, two WRs – “so we need these guys to be versatile, which Brock obviously is, but I think adding Olu to the mix to give us even more depth at offensive line was a great pick by Joe and we trust Joe. And excited about the season.”

When asked by former New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick how he was doing, Rodgers said he is “feeling good” after recovering from an Achilles injury that ended his season after four plays.

“I was back in Jersey for last week, doing a lot of the workouts,” he said. “Came back here [to California] to kind of take care of a couple of things. The running’s been really good, feeling good with my linear speed and increasing the miles per hour. Strength is good. Can get under a squat rack and do all the things I need to do.

“It’s just the confidence. I think the last part is just to be confident enough to do all those things. It just comes from reps. The Achilles has absolutely zero pain or issues it’s just the final stage of any comeback is just doing all the things you know you can do: get out of the pocket, throw on the run and feeling confident with those things. And I was doing all those things when I was in Jersey and look forward to getting back there next week.”

Rodgers added that his “arm feels great, body feels great, the calf rehab has been great.”

“There’s an excitement, obviously, it’s gonna build,” he said. “You know I think we’ll be able to fly slightly more under the radar this year as we’re not doing ‘Hard Knocks’ and we’re a year removed from all that excitement. However, there will be a lot of excitement and we’re gonna bring it this year.

“I’m excited about OTAs coming up and then having a little break and training camp. And I’m sure there’s a lot of fans in New York and Jersey who should be excited about it, too. We’ve got a lot of things to accomplish this year and we’re excited about taking everybody along for the ride.”