As a former offensive lineman, he has an obvious affinity for the position and its’ importance at this level.
Through his first two draft classes, he has taken an offensive lineman in the first round every year.
His first pick ever was Mekhi Becton out of Louisville with the No. 11 overall pick in 2020. Douglas followed that up with an encore selection of a hog molly a year later in 2021, this time nabbing Alijah Vera-Tucker out of USC.
Heading into 2022 one analyst believes the Jets will once again dip their toe in that water.
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You Can Never Have Enough of a Good Thing
Earlier this week Dane Brugler of The Athletic dropped his first mock draft of the year and pegged two stars on both sides of the ball to Gang Green:
No. 4 overall (via Seattle): Derek Stingley Jr, cornerback, LSU
No. 5 overall: Ikem Ekwonu, offensive lineman, NC State
Brugler said “it wouldn’t surprise him” if Douglas took an offensive lineman in the first round for the third straight year.
He called Ikem Ekwonu a “smaller version” of Becton at 6-foot-4, 322 pounds. Brugler likes his “raw power and movement skills.”
The other super attractive thing is his versatility, he can play “tackle or guard interchangeably” and could be the “long-term” answer at right tackle.
During his run in college, Ekwonu was asked to step in wherever they needed him, sometimes that was at left tackle and other times it was left guard.
Most recently the talented offensive lineman walked away with the ACC’s Jacobs Blocking Trophy which is annually doled out to the conference’s best blocker. He is the first member of the Wolfpack to earn that distinction since 1979 (Jim Ritcher).
Future on the Right Side?
The Jets’ initial plan was for George Fant to be their right tackle for the 2021 season, but two things happened that changed that plan. Veteran Morgan Moses became available and Douglas couldn’t pass up an opportunity to add a proven stud in the trenches, especially in the middle of the summer.
Then in the season opener, Becton went down in a crumpled heap and has yet to return to the gridiron this season. That forced the Jets to call an audible at the line of scrimmage and flip Fant over to the blindside and insert Moses off the bench
Through the first 11 games, the green and white have been more than satisfied with the results in the trenches. So much so that they’d love to bring the former Washington star back in 2022 and beyond.
When they were in negotiations with his representation they offered a two-year deal, but Moses wanted a one-year prove-it deal so he could dip his toe back in the free agency waters in 2022.
If the Jets can retain him, they would have the right tackle spot on lock for the foreseeable future. Moses is 30 years old, will be 31 by the start of the 2022 season. He could hold down the fort for now and Ekwonu could slide in at guard in the meantime.
That would provide a ton of flexibility at the other offensive line spots to make sure the team can put the most talented five out there to protect their franchise quarterback Zach Wilson.