Why the Jets picked OL Olu Fashanu in the 2024 NFL Draft

Coming into the night with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Jets found themselves in prime position to draft either an impact playmaker or an impact offensive lineman. And as general manager Joe Douglas on Thursday night, that’s exactly the position groups where this draft class is strongest.

So as quarterbacks went early and often, the Jets were able to patiently wait, even trading back one pick to No. 11 and grabbing Penn State offensive tackle Olu Fashanu.

Douglas and Co. couldn’t be happier with the selection.

“Obviously, we’re excited about Olu -- proven pass protector, left tackle, feel like he can really develop and become an impact blocker for us moving forward,’ Douglas said.

“It felt like we were in a unique situation where coach (Robert Saleh) and I, we burned our retinas out watching tape together over the last few weeks,” Douglas added later. “The depth at pass-catcher and tackle is really unique. Obviously, the best players in this draft are playing those positions. You saw three receivers went really high and two tackles went high, so we wanted to make sure that we could capitalize on the best remaining players.”

What separated Douglas from some of the other top lineman in this class, according to Douglas, is that Fashanu -- who measured in at 6-foot-6, 312 pounds at the combine -- is “a dominant left tackle” who still has so much room to grow.

“It was such a unique draft class at the tackle position, because we really felt that there were a handful of guys who were unbelievable plays,” Douglas explained. “So with Olu, obviously him being a left tackle, just what he does in pass pro, very low pressure rates playing in one of the best conferences in the country. He’s just a really high-level, high-impact pass protector. I don’t think he gets enough credit for his run-blocking. Just a big, giant body, 6-6, 315 pounds of long arms. He’s a very tough, competitive, young man.”

The other benefit of taking a player like Fashanu is that the Jets don’t need him to be a starter right away. Instead, the Penn State product has an opportunity to learn behind proven veterans Tyron Smith and Morgan Moses as he learns the NFL ropes, giving the Jets a long-term heir apparent and a short-term quality depth piece.

“You guys know me by now -- O-line, D-line, the more the merrier,” said Saleh. “You can never have enough.”

“The young man is only 21 years old,” he added. “He hasn’t even scratched the surface, and he’s walking into a situation where he’s going to learn exactly what it takes to last in this league.”

“I don’t think it really matter who we picked, it was going to be a tough path to the starting lineup,” said Douglas. “Just great discussions with coach, the coordinators, the position coaches, and I feel like we locked in on a group of eight or nine guys that we felt would be the best fit for us now and obviously the future with the depth we have on the team.”

And while it certainly sounds like the Jets would have strongly considered taking one of the top three receivers (Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers, and Rome Odunze) at No. 10, all of them were already off the board.

“Those receivers are great players. They’re going to be great pros,” Douglas said. “They weren’t there (at No. 10), so I can’t really live in that world, but they’re going to be tremendous players.”