NFL Draft Round 1 Grades: NY Jets wisely choose to protect Aaron Rodgers

The Jets nailed this one
Olu Fashanu
Olu Fashanu / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

The NY Jets smoke-screened the entire NFL world in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft, passing on Georgia tight end Brock Bowers to select Penn State offensive tackle Olu Fashanu with the 11th overall pick.

The Jets opted to add to their offensive line depth with a player who they likely hope will be their long-term left tackle of the future. Fashanu will have an opportunity to sit and learn behind a future Hall of Famer in Tyron Smith, and there's a good chance he will play this season.

The value of the selection is increased by the fact that the Jets were able to trade down one spot from No. 10 to No. 11, recouping two additional mid-round picks in the process.

But was Fashanu the right pick? Should the Jets have gone with Bowers? Would a different offensive lineman have made more sense?

The NY Jets were wise to draft Olu Fashanu

The Fashanu pick is as much of a win-now move as it is a move for the future. Fashanu will play in 2024 — that much is almost certain.

Tyron Smith hasn't played more than 13 games in a season in nearly a decade. Morgan Moses is coming off offseason shoulder surgery. Alijah Vera-Tucker has played just 12 of a possible 34 games over the last two seasons.

There's a very good chance that Fashanu plays more snaps than 2023 first-round pick Will McDonald did as a rookie last year. In fact, he'll probably play a similar snap count to what Bowers would've played as a rookie with the Jets.

Fashanu significantly raises the floor of a Jets team that already had a Super Bowl ceiling. Instead of Max Mitchell and Carter Warren serving as the team's top insurance policies, they now have a top-15 pick to back up Smith and Moses.

The Jets will have an opportunity to add another (perhaps multiple) playmaker in a loaded wide receiver class on Day 2. The picks acquired in the Fashanu trade-down should help them move up from No. 72 if they want to.

There's also the possibility that the Jets could sign a player like Tyler Boyd, who remains a free agent. The Jets aren't done adding to their wide receiver room, but they weren't going to find a better insurance policy/long-term solution than Fashanu who has been compared to longtime Jets tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson.

The pipedream would've been to land a player like Rome Odunze or even Malik Nabers. With the top wide receivers off the board, Fashanu was their next-best option. This is a good thing, Jets fans. You should be very happy.

Grade: A-