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JC Latham Could See His Football Travels Taking Him to Aaron Rodgers & Jets

First-Round T/G Prospect from Alabama Grew Up in Wisconsin Watching ARod, Packers Work Their Magic

Alabama offensive lineman JC Latham participates in a drill during the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine on Sunday, March 3, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Kevin Sabitus/NFL)

The mock drafts are coming out and they aren't clearing up the Jets' task at No. 10 if the Green & White are interested in selecting an offensive tackle to protect one of Aaron Rodgers' flanks and open creases for Breece Hall. Some mocks have Olu Fashanu of Penn State going to the Jets as the second tackle taken. Others see Taliese Fuaga from Oregon State becoming a Jet as the third tackle off the board.

But the Jets aren't saying how they're ranking the tackles or if they're keen on taking the best one available. But there are scenarios where one particular OT could come to them.

And that would be just fine by JC Latham.

"It was a great meeting," Latham, Alabama's two-year right tackle, said of interviewing with the Jets at the NFL Combine. "I really jelled with the whole coaching staff. We went over the film — good, bad, ugly. I got to know them and they got to know me and my background. So it was really a great time."

What could make it an especially good time for Latham is to be blocking for Rodgers. That's because besides moving all over both sides of the ball in high school and college, he also moved around the country growing up. He was born in Mississippi, moved to Milwaukee and then Oak Creek in Wisconsin, finished his high school at IMG Academy in Florida, then spent three seasons at Alabama.

Wisconsin is the key. During his formative years, Latham got to watch ARod not as a Jet but in his Packers prime.

"I grew up in Milwaukee, so I definitely was watching them a whole lot. Just seeing the incredible plays he made and the offense when he was with Green Bay was unreal," he said. To join forces with Rodgers as a pro "would definitely be a dream."

The Jets are certainly in the tackle market, no secret there, and it could just be a matter of where Latham's nameplate fits on their big board. He's got the size (6-6, 342), and analyst Lance Zierlein called him a "bulldozer in human form."

Then there's that versatility. Latham explains how it all unfolded.

"When I was at IMG, I was a defensive lineman, top 10 in the country, number three at my position," he said. "Two weeks before my first game, three guys got hurt playing basketball. Crazy events. So they asked me and Tyler Booker to play offensive line. I didn't even practice or have an offseason at left tackle, I just went out there and played."

When it came time to sign with 'Bama, he said Evan Neal, who became the Giants' seventh overall pick in 2022, "was at left, so I moved to right. Same situation — I really didn't get a lot of time to train, just jumped in right away. And then played a little bit at guard that season."

That sounds a lot like Alijah Vera-Tucker's journey around the Jets' OL the past two seasons. But general manager Joe Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh have both stated they want to keep AVT in one position all year. Latham, were he to become a Jet, by extension would get the same opportunity to sit down in one position and master it as quickly as possible.

"You just have to be willing to understand that if you want to be great at something, you've got to work for it," he said. "When I made the move to offensive line, I knew if I wanted to be great at it, I had to work at it. So every day after practice, I'm working out, trying to figure out how I can make this better — and I was really bad at the time. So I had to figure it out. I started with my first step, then my pass set, then transitioned to my hands, the ability to move in space.

"It was definitely a grind, but every single day, we just started with something little and kept building on that."

Of course, Latham may never get to be a Jet. And although he'd love to be a left tackle in the pros, he also prides himself on his adaptability.

"Obviously, it's a question mark on me. I'm a right tackle. Usually tackles taken extremely high are left tackles. But I feel like I can break that kind of narrative," he said, adding, "I have the ability to do anything you ask of me and get the job done. I train myself to not necessarily be one- or two-dimensional. I try to train every aspect of my game so there's not a weakness in it."

That's a valuable belief system to have, no matter where Latham's journeys around the country or up and down a team's O-line take him.

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