JACKSONVILLE – He's smart, and that's usually a good thing.
But Luke Fortner, an offensive lineman selected by the Jaguars last Friday in the 2022 NFL Draft, said there were times at the University of Kentucky having an impressive academic resume wasn't that great.
"It probably hurts me more than it helps me," Fortner said with a laugh. "When I mess up, everyone's like, 'Dude, you're supposed to be smart. What the heck?'''
Fortner, the No. 65 overall selection in the draft – the first selection of Round 3 – joined senior writer John Oehser for this week's O-Zone podcast, discussing topics including how he sees a Jaguars team that he has followed a bit in recent seasons because of a former college teammate.
That's Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen, a Pro Bowl selection following his 2019 rookie season which Fortner first faced as a collegiate freshman.
"Josh is actually only a year older than me; that's how long I've been in college," said Fortner, who played six seasons at Kentucky because of an NCAA rule allowing players an extra season because of COVID-19.
"One of my buddies in the offensive line class was like, 'This Josh Allen kid … you should have seen him last year. He wasn't that good.' I get out there and the offensive line coach bumps me out to tackle. He says, 'Josh, why don't you give him a rep?'"
Added Fortner with a laugh, "It didn't go so well. I think I would fare better now, but he's a tough man to block. That's for sure."
Fortner, 23, used his time at Kentucky wisely. He received an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and a master's degree in aerospace engineering. He is currently working toward a masters in business administration.
"Kind of the silver lining of the pandemic for me I could come back and improve my draft stock, but also end up with an MBA," he said.
Fortner in the podcast also discussed his first impressions of the Jaguars.
"Obviously, [quarterback] Trevor Lawrence is a great player," he said. "I really like the pieces they have and I feel like they have some really good players. I feel like they're just a couple of seasons away. If it's not this season, it's going to be next.
"I'm excited to see where they end up. I get to be a part of that now. It's exciting stuff."
Listen to the entire O-Zone Podcast with Fortner below. See more O-Zone podcast episodes here.