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Jets made smart move drafting Olu Fashanu, and they're better in 2024 and beyond because of it

Playmaker was an option. Not receiver after Rome Odunze went to the Bears with the ninth pick, but Brock Bowers, Georgia’s star tight end, was right there. The Jets, instead, went big. They took Penn State tackle Olu Fashanu.

There’s some hysteria, anger over that. This thought the Jets botched their pick. Many wanted this team to draft someone to score touchdowns.

And that notion is absolutely ridiculous. The Jets needed a tackle. The Jets got a tackle.

They’ll be a better team this year and moving forward because of it.

It’s easy to forget what derailed the Jets season last year. Aaron Rodgers’ Achilles masked just how bad the offensive line was – and that was before the injury bug took to the front like an all-you-can eat buffet. Even before that, though, the line struggled immensely in training camp – Robert Saleh had an expletive-filled rant about it, featured on "Hard Knocks," after the Jets' joint practices with the Panthers. So, this offseason, the Jets took measures to improve things in free agency.

They signed Tyron Smith and John Simpson, and traded for Morgan Moses. They welcomed back Alijah Vera-Tucker and Joe Tippmann.

That looks, on paper, like a pretty good front. That’s because, on paper, it is a pretty good front.

But Vera-Tucker suffered season-ending injuries each of the last two years. Moses, 33, showed signs of breaking down towards the end of last season for the Ravens. Smith, also 33, hasn’t played a full season since 2015. Some variation of those three will inevitably miss time this year.

One slip, one hamstring pull, another season-ending injury, and the Jets turn to Carter Warren and Max Mitchell to protect Rodgers. You saw what that looks like last year. You really think Joe Douglas wanted a repeat of that in 2024 with his job on the line?

Fashanu, arguably the best pass-blocking tackle in this year’s draft, is an insurance policy for this year and a long-term answer at the spot for 2025 and beyond. Fashanu will not impact the roster as much as a player like Bowers would have, if all things go according to plan. Things seldom go according to plan.

The Jets did explore the idea of moving up. The teams who drafted receivers, though, had no intention of trading back. They wanted the players they took – like the Bears with Odunze, whom the Jets coveted. So, with that not an option, the Jets did the smart thing.

They solidified their future and protected their present.

They made the right move.