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What do the New York Jets see in Leki Fotu?

Leki Fotu, NY Jets, DT, NFL, Film Breakdown, Stats
Leki Fotu, New York Jets, Getty Images, Jet X Graphic

Is Leki Fotu a liability in the New York Jets’ defensive tackle rotation?

It was a surprise when the New York Jets added Al Woods in the 2023 offseason. Woods was a bulky, run-stuffing nose tackle with little pass-rushing ability, a major change of pace for a Jets team that had typically filled out their interior defensive line with athletic pass-rushing types.

The Jets heavily leaned toward using Woods in running situations, as more than half of his snaps came on run plays. It worked decently, as they defended the run better with Woods on the field than when he was off, although their pass-rushing suffered when Woods got caught on the field for a passing play.

Woods only played six games before suffering a season-ending injury, and he became a free agent after the season. This left the Jets with an interesting choice: find a direct Woods replacement who fits the same mold or go back to their usual athleticism-centric ways on the interior?

The Jets signed former Cardinals defensive Leki Fotu, who seems like a direct Woods replacement on paper. Fotu’s 334-pound frame outweighs Woods’ 331 pounds. However, Fotu offers a different play style than Woods when you watch him closely, raising questions as to whether he is truly intended to play the same role that Woods did.

Fotu is a player who has generated little hype among Jets fans. On paper, there isn’t much to be excited about. For his career, he’s averaged about one sack and 23 total tackles per season. His metrics and grades are typically poor, even against the run.

So, what’s the deal with Leki Fotu? What do the Jets see in him? Where does he fit in their defense? Is he as bad as some of his numbers say he is?

We answer all of those questions in the latest Blewett’s Blitz film review, breaking down 30 plays from Fotu’s 2023 season to showcase a full synopsis of his game. Plus, a full list of Fotu’s strengths and weaknesses can be found at the bottom of the page.

Full Leki Fotu film breakdown + scouting report

Scouting report of Leki Fotu’s strengths and weaknesses

Games watched: All 2023 appearances

Strengths:

  • Size
  • Hands fit inside in run game (mostly)
  • Athletic for size
  • Thick base
  • Some pop in punch
  • Plays with extension
  • Run game recognition
  • Naturally strong (technique lacks at times)
  • Good straight line speed
  • Some stunt upside
  • Lateral movement
  • Change of direction for size
  • Strong hands
  • Powerful swipe and club

Weaknesses:

  • Anchor for size (mostly because of technique)
  • Doesn’t fire out of stance with consistency
  • Base too narrow
  • Can play high
  • Not explosive off the snap (feel he can be)
  • Feet can get inactive when stacking
  • Comes into contact high
  • Needs to sink into anchor more often
  • Pass rush hand usage is lacking
  • Rush can stall very early
  • Can be late to shed
  • Little to no counter moves
  • Too willing to be strung out on blocks instead of finding ball

More New York Jets film breakdowns from Blewett’s Blitz:

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