George Fant believes he can become an All-Pro tackle with the Jets and is looking forward to the opportunity to prove himself, whether it’s on the left or right side.
The Jets signed Fant to a three-year, $27.3 million contract to be their starting left tackle but then drafted 6-7, 363-pound Louisville left tackle Mekhi Becton with the No. 11 pick. Fant, a former Seahawk, believes his best position is left tackle. It could make for an interesting battle whenever training camp starts.
“That was my thing leaving Seattle. I wanted to play left tackle,” Fant said in a Zoom call Thursday. “I feel really comfortable at the position. I think that’s where I offer the best abilities and be able to help the team the most. I’m versatile. I can play both sides. I play the right tackle spot as well, pretty good on that side as well.
“I’m just ready for the opportunity to go out there and start and really show the NFL and everybody and prove to myself as well that I know I can play at a high caliber and really show what I can do.”
When asked specifically how he would feel about playing right tackle, Fant said, “I’m not going to get that deep into that thing. I’m just excited to get there and play. It’s not even about the position. It’s about just getting on the field.”
That is the biggest thing for the 6-5, 322-pound Fant. Signed as an undrafted free agent by Seattle in 2016, he started 24 of 46 games in which he played. The past two years, Fant, who played basketball for Western Kentucky and got a late start in football, was used mostly as a sixth offensive lineman in a jumbo package. The Jets afforded him the chance to be a full-time tackle, and he plans to take advantage of it.
“I’ve sat down and written out my goals,” Fant said. “The first thing on my goals is I want to be the best player I can be, All-Pro level. That’s where I feel I’m capable of getting to. I got to go out there and prove it now, show it. A lot of people haven’t gotten to watch me a lot behind Duane Brown and Germain Ifedi in Seattle. I didn’t really get a chance to really show what I can do. I’ve gained so much confidence in my play and I’m ready to go out there and show it.”
Fant is looking forward to working with Becton, whom he called “a mountain of a man.” Fant, who said he watched Becton play some games at Louisville, added that he was excited when the Jets drafted him and wants to help him.
“He’s a really good player,” Fant said. “I’m excited to work with him and give him a little bit of the wisdom I’ve learned from great players that I’ve played with. The good thing about both of us is we’re really raw, we’re really athletic and we bring a lot to the table. So I can tell him a couple of things that have worked for me and keep learning from each other.”
Fant — the first free agent with whom Jets general manager Joe Douglas reached a deal and a big piece in the offensive line overhaul — also is excited about blocking for Le’Veon Bell and working with Sam Darnold. They have some mutual friends and he has watched Darnold play a lot.
“I’m really excited to play with him,” Fant said. “I think I’m most excited to play with him. Just watching him, watching how good of a leader he is, I’m excited about that.”