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Jets Draft Scenario | Offensive Tackle vs. Georgia TE Brock Bowers at No. 10 Overall

Taliese Fuaga, Troy Fautanu Options if Joe Alt Is Unavailable in First Round

Washington offensive lineman Troy Fautanu runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine, Sunday, March 3, 2024, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

The NFL Draft is one of the most exciting and unpredictable times onf the pro football calendar. Leading up to Thursday night through Saturday in Detroit, has been analyzing the different projections on who will land with the Jets. For this piece, instead of breaking down the a mock draft, let's examine a question posed to NFL Network lead draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah on his two-hour pre-draft conference call last week:

Who do you think Jets general manager Joe Douglas would select if the top three wide receivers (Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze) and Notre Dame tackle Joe Alt are off the board when the Jets are on the clock with the No. 10 overall pick?

The Options
Daniel Jeremiah said there are three players he could envision GM Joe Douglas selecting in this scenario -- Oregon State T Taliese Fuaga, Washington T Troy Fautanu and Georgia TE Brock Bowers.

Fuaga (6-5, 324) was a first-team All-American RT and team captain in the 2023 season. He started all 25 games on the right side of the line for the Beavers where all of his 1,565 snaps have come from, but Jeremiah believes he can play either left tackle or guard. Jeremiah has Fuaga as his No. 10 overall prospect and second-highest offensive line prospect, two spots behind Notre Dame's Joe Alt. Fuaga, from Tacoma, WA, is considered one of the top run-blocking linemen in the draft. He was coached by Jets DC Jeff Ulbrich at the Senior Bowl in January.

Fautanu (6-4, 317) checked in one spot behind Fuaga at No. 11 overall in Jeremiah's top-150 prospects and he projects him as a player who can play all five positions across the offensive line. He started 29 games at left tackle for the Huskies and two at left guard (The Athletic's Dane Brugler has him at his top guard of the class). Fautanu was a third-team All-American, first-team All-Pac 12 and the Morris Trophy winner (best OL in the Pac 12) in the 2023 season. Jeremiah believes versatility is an important factor for Douglas when evaluating offensive linemen, similar to Alijah Vera-Tucker, whom Douglas drafted No. 14 overall in 2021.

Bowers (6-3, 243) is listed as a tight end, but he's an offensive weapon. A three-time first-team All-American and the first two-time John Mackey Award winner (nation's best TE), he took 52.2% of his career snaps in the slot, 36.6% inline and 9.5% out wide. He has 2,538 receiving yards and 26 receiving touchdowns as well as 183 rushing yards and 5 scores. Bowers has a 4.4% career drop rate and averaged 8.5 yards after the catch per reception in the SEC.

The Decision
Daniel Jeremiah believes Joe Douglas would select Brock Bowers in this scenario.

"I think he comes from an organization in Baltimore where they had great tight ends and they've always done a good job of drafting tight ends," he said. "I like [the Jets] tight end room now. [Tyler] Conklin is a solid player, but this would give him a little something different there that they don't have. If it came down to that between the tight end with [Joe] Alt off the board, I would guess Bowers, and then I would put [Taliese] Fuaga and [Troy] Fautanu right behind that."

Why it Makes Sense
After adding LT Tyron Smith, RT Morgan Moses and LG John Simpson in the start of the offseason, the Green & White's starting five appears to be set up front. Selecting a tackle at No. 10 overall would provide depth, which is important considering the team started 13 combinations last season and Smith hasn't played a full season since 2015.

While the Jets have a talented and productive tight end room with Tyler Conklin, Jeremy Ruckert, Kenny Yeboah and Zack Kuntz, Bowers is a Swiss-army knife who would provide QB Aaron Rodgers another weapon to help win games. The Jets likely will add another pass catcher this offseason as Mike Williams, who signed in free agency, is targeting to be ready for Week 1 as he continues his ACL rehab.

Drafting a tight end in recent years has not had a high return value in the NFL – only Tony Gonzalez (No. 13 overall), Jeremy Shockey (No. 14) and Dallas Clark (No. 24) are the only All-Pro tight ends taken in the first round, but Bowers is debatably the best TE in college football history and considered by some to be a unicorn. Daniel Jeremiah compares Bowers' game to two-time first-team All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowl TE George Kittle and sees Bowers having a similar impact in the NFL.

See's Daniel Jeremiah's top 50 prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft.

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