New York’s George Fant is adapting to an unexpected change.
The Jets’ offensive tackle was coming off the best year of his career after filling in for an injured Mekhi Becton at left tackle in 2021.
Fant had started 15 games and it seemed, from all accounts this offseason, the plan was to keep him at LT and the team moved Becton to right tackle.
There was even talk about a possible Fant contract extension.
Then Becton got hurt again earlier this month, and all bets were off.
This is when everything changed for Fant.
Fant lost his spot at LT and was unceremoniously moved back to RT, where he had played in 2020. It wasn’t to possibly make room for Becton at LT again, like some had thought might happen, but instead it was for newcomer Duane Brown.
Yes, the Jets signed Brown and made the decision to move Fant back to RT.
We are not talking about the five-time Pro Bowl version of Brown either. We are talking about the version of Brown who was still unsigned as teams began camp.
Not only did Fant lose the position he had his best year at, and his contract extension (it appears), but now he will not be in position to easily command LT money, when free agency rolls around.
How are these unexpected changes affecting Fant?
Nobody knows for sure.
In the meantime, Fant appears to be embracing the surprise move like the pro that he is (what choice does he have) and everyone is saying all the right things.
“He [Fant] is a team guy, tremendously talented, so to give him the opportunity to go play right tackle, obviously, he is a competitor,” Jets’ Head Coach Robert Saleh told reporters. “He just wants a home, but at the same time he’s the ultimate team guy. I know he is going to put in the work and he’s going to do everything he can to be the best right tackle he can possibly be.”
What can Jets’ fans expect to see out of Fant at RT?
I went back on NFL+ and pulled up three games from 2020 when Fant started at RT, and compared it to my three graded games at LT in 2021.
Fant is not as good at RT, as he is at LT.
Fant graded at as a B- at LT.
He dropped a whole grade at RT, and looked even more like a converted tight end (which is what he is) in terms of his techniques.
Grading George Fant at Right Tackle
6-foot-5, 322 pounds
2020 game film reviewed at RT: (9/20) SF, (11/1) KC and (12/27) CLE
Grade: C- (average; nothing special about the player)
Used his frame well enough to get by on the right side of the line, but showed issues sustaining and is better in pass pro than run blocking. In pass pro kicks out well and slides into position to shield the perimeter. Not nearly aggressive enough at the point. Waits and catches blocks with his long arms and outside hand placement. Lets the pass rushers dictate to him. Has tendency to get too out of control. Has average lateral foot speed. Gives a high effort level, which he uses to compensate for being susceptible to waist bending and opening the back door and can give up the inside too. Again stays with it, but by that time, he’s lost any blocking leverage and is in chase mode. Showed strong bull rushes can rock him hard. Picked up X stunts and handled swim. Did not pick up a blitz off the edge. Inconsistent hold the point run blocker who sometimes does enough to get by and sometimes it is just not enough. Has a very challenging time controlling blocks from start to finish. Decent pulling laterally, but it is hit and miss at the 2nd level or even further downfield. Poor job down blocking. Showed improvement as the season progressed, but not what a winning team would want at the position.
What really struck me the most in my study of Fant was just how much more uncomfortable he looked at RT compared to when he played LT.
It’s not his fault.
Fant only lines up where he is told to play.
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