New York Jets 2019: Ranking the 53-man roster — No. 20 Foley Fatukasi

NY Jets (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

With the New York Jets season over, we continue our full roster breakdown. Let’s start today’s ranking with budding star Foley Fatukasi.

20. 30. . Defensive Tackle. Foley Fatukasi

Foley Fatukasi will go down as one of former New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan’s few fantastic finds.

The Far Rockway, Queens product born Folorunso Ifeyinka Fatukasi starred at local Beach Channel High School. He got recruited by UConn, where he impressed as a student-athlete, and dominated as a four-year starter.

In short, at Storrs, he performed like a one-man wrecking crew. A few top NFL prognosticators who watched the kid dominate the Combine compared him to defensive house wreckers like Dontari Poe and Michael Brockers. Gang Green pounced on Fatukasi in the sixth round of the 2018 Draft (180th overall), making him the 33rd D-Lineman taken off the board.

The 6-foot-4, 320-pound behemoth interior lineman looked terrific in his first training camp and preseason, but he failed to crack Todd Bowles’ rotation. Foley entered the 2019 season as a major question mark, on the roster bubble. That’s why his ascent under DC Gregg Williams became one of the nicest surprises of this year.

Foley boasted a stellar 81.5 PFF rating as a 2019 rotational player, relentless against the run. He’s a coach’s dream — a total grinder, who does much of the “dirty work” not listed in the stats lines. But in terms of statistics, he played 41% of the team’s total defensive snaps in his 14 games, with 16 solo tackles, seven TFLs, three QB hits, and a sack. When was the last time Jets fans even thought about Leonard Williams?

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The Jets future D-line looks promising with a mix of Foley, 2019 UDFA Kyle Phillips, and the untapped potential of “the next Mean Joe Greene,” Quinnen Williams. Fatukasi has proven himself as one of the league’s best young run-stuffing DTs. To paraphrase an old hit song from the 70s, he’s only just begun.