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NFL Draft: Jets draft Foley Fatukasi, UConn defensive lineman from Queens, in sixth round

Connecticut defensive lineman Foley Fatukasi stands on the

Connecticut defensive lineman Foley Fatukasi stands on the sideline against Navy, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in East Hartford, Conn. Credit: AP / Stew Milne

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The last day of the NFL Draft for the Jets involved three trades, two of which with the Vikings resulted in a Queens native getting drafted by his hometown team.

Connecticut defensive lineman Folorunso “Foley” Fatukasi, from Far Rockaway, was a sixth-round pick, 180th overall Saturday.

Fatukasi had no idea the Jets would draft him, despite the fact that he met with team officials at the East-West Shrine Game. Fatukasi had family and friends over to his parents’ house to watch the draft Saturday and there was a loud reaction when his name was called.

“It was a long day,” said Fatukasi, who went to Beach Channel High School. “I did have some friends and family who just came and supported me regardless of what was going to happen and I’m highly thankful for them because they’ve always been behind me. Just to even be at this moment, I’m trying to catch my breath just talking because it was a long day thinking when my phone [was] going to ring.”

The Jets view Fatukasi as a defensive end with the position flexibility to move inside if necessary. Fatukasi was available to the Jets after a series of trades with the Vikings.

In the first trade, the Jets moved back in the fifth-round, going from 157 overall to 167 and picking up an additional seventh-round pick, 225 overall, from the Vikings.

But 10 minutes after the trade was announced, the Jets gave up their fifth-round pick to the Vikings and moved back one spot in the sixth round (180 overall) and gained another pick in the same round, 204 overall.

Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan made another trade, giving up a 2018 seventh-round pick, 235 overall, to the Colts for the rights to defensive end Henry Anderson.

In nine games last season, Anderson had 22 tackles and two sacks, but his season was cut short when he suffered a partially damaged larynx in a game. Anderson had surgery, and the Jets have yet to examine him. League rules stipulate if Anderson fails the physical, he would be returned to the Colts and the Jets would get back their seventh-round pick.

Maccagnan praised Anderson’s character and if he performs, he’s “young enough to invest going forward.”

The Jets made four selections Saturday:

In the fourth round, tight end Chris Herndon from Miami, who received high marks from Maccagnan. “A little more athletic than some of the tight ends we have [and] probably a better pass receiver,” Maccagnan said.

The Jets had three sixth-round picks, cornerback Parry Nickerson from Tulane, running back Trenton Cannon from Virginia State and Fatukasi.

The Jets project Cannon as a kick/punt returner and coach Todd Bowles said Nickerson will play both slot and outside corner.

“I’m a consistent lockdown playmaker,” Nickerson said of his skills.

Overall, this Jets draft will be remembered for the first-round pick, quarterback Sam Darnold. The Jets traded three second-round picks and swapped spots with the Colts, from No. 6 to No. 3, to get in position to snag one of the top quarterbacks in the draft.

“I think not having the two second-round draft picks, of course we made the trade, and we felt very good how the trade turned out,” Maccagnan said. “I think when we went into it, we’re always going to see if there’s ways to get extra picks . . . We tried to address needs in pro free agency. In the draft, we try to find good value for where we pick.”

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