When the New York Jets signed George Fant in free agency in 2020, it came as a surprise. He played a total of 1,507 snaps from 2016-19 with the Seattle Seahawks and was going to play his first season as a Jet at 28 years old.
However, Fant has been nothing but a productive asset to the Jets during his first two years with the team. In 2020, he started at right tackle. Fant started in 14 games playing 829 snaps. Per PFF, he only committed two penalties and allowed three sacks. In 2021, Fant’s second year with the Jets, he was probably the best player on the team. He started 15 games and played 887 total snaps. As a pass blocker, he was incredibly successful. Fant only allowed one sack, which came very late in the season. He allowed 18 total pressures, an average of 1.2 per week.
Even with the immense success, there have been questions regarding whether or not Fant will remain on this terrific level. There are multiple reasons why Fant will not only play as well as last year but possibly even better.
Pure athletic talent
One thing about Fant that he has always had to his advantage is athletic ability. In college, Fant was a very good basketball player at Western Kentucky. When Fant first started playing football, he was a tight end. When testing back in 2016 at Western Kentucky’s pro day, Fant proved his athleticism. He ran a 4.84 40-yard dash, 7.20 3-cone, 37″ vertical, and a 119″ broad jump. Fant also has a ton of length with his 34 7/8″ arms. The natural ability for Fant has always been there.
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Continuity with the New York Jets’ staff and scheme
The Jets had a brand new coaching staff in 2021. The athletic traits Fant has mesh perfectly with the zone running scheme coordinated by Mike LaFleur. Fant also worked with offensive line coach John Benton for the first time last year. All reports have indicated that the Jets’ new staff last year loved working with Fant. Pair that with his strong, breakout play, and he should be more confident. Having a year of experience in the system as well should only increase his comfortability.
Remaining at his natural LT position
While nothing has been confirmed, it seems likely that Fant will remain at left tackle. When he first signed with the Jets, he spoke about the fact that he feels more like a left tackle. Staying at the same position and having an entire offseason to grow even more where he wants to be should only translate to more improvement.
As stated with his college basketball background, while he will play this season at 30 years old, Fant does not have too much football played for that age. Not to mention, offensive tackles like Andrew Whitworth, Jason Peters, and Duane Brown have all played in their mid-30s to early 40s and been productive. Fant showed the potential before the 2021 breakout. Late in 2019 with the Seahawks, and in 2020, Fant started to display his upside and played at a solid level. Ultimately, Fant is a talented football player and one of the Jets’ best players entering the 2022 season.