Sunday, February 25, 2024

2024 NFL Draft rumors: Jets GM targeting highly touted OT from Senior Bowl to better protect Aaron Rodgers

When the New York Jets are on the clock with the 10th pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, they will surely have Aaron Rodgers in mind. 

No, that does not mean that the Jets will be drafting a receiver in the first round for Rodgers, something that has never happened during Rodgers’ career. That does mean that the Jets may use the pick to select a player who can help protect Rodgers for the 2024 season, and possibly beyond that should Rodgers continue playing. 

Jets general manager Joe Douglas has developed an affinity for Oregon State offensive tackle Taliese Fuaga, according to ESPN, who is among the former college standouts currently taking part in Senior Bowl week from Mobile, Alabama

Fortunately for Douglas, there’s a good chance Fuaga will be on the board when the Jets are on the clock. He is currently tabbed as CBS Sports’ fourth-best offensive tackle prospect and the 20th overall prospect in this year’s draft. All three of our CBS Sports draft experts have Fuaga being selected during the second half of Round 1.

Want more draft coverage? You can hear in-depth analysis twice a week on “With the First Pick” — our year-round NFL Draft podcast with NFL Draft analyst Ryan Wilson and former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. You can find “With the First Pick” wherever you get your podcasts: Apple PodcastsSpotifyYouTube, etc. Listen to the latest episode below!

Things can and will change in the months, weeks and days leading up to the NFL Draft, which will begin on Thursday, April 25. While Fuaga’s status as a top-ranked offensive tackle prospect probably won’t change, it could fluctuate some between now and the start of the draft. At this point, though, Fuaga is being projected as a mid-first-round pick. 

There are a host of reasons why Fuaga is ranked so high in what is a loaded class of offensive tackles. He fully uses his 6-foot-5, 332-pound fame to his advantage by being a devastating blocker, both in the run game and in pass support. 

Fuaga hasn’t disappointed so far in Mobile. He’s more than showcased his physicality while winning one-on-one matchups. 

Along with his physical tools, Fuaga has intangible strengths that make him an attractive pick. For example, Fuaga was named as a team captain at Oregon State last season. 

Even if Fuaga is off the board, it’s pretty clear the Jets will still select an offensive tackle with the 10th overall pick. Improving Rodgers’ protection is among New York’s top priorities this offseason, and for good reason. The Jets had high hopes entering the 2023 season, but those hopes all but evaporated when Rodgers suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in Week 1. Gang Green held tough for a while but ultimately faded without Rodgers and finished the year with a 7-10 record. 

While Jets owner Woody Johnson didn’t blow things up this offseason, there’s no telling what will happen if Gang Green suffers another disappointing season in 2024. That’s why Douglas is reportedly focused on giving Rodgers the best possible chance to succeed. 

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