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2024 NFL Draft

PFF Reveals Draft Grade for Steelers Selection of Troy Fautanu

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Pittsburgh Steelers OT Troy Fautanu

With Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft wrapped up, media outlets are already given out grades. Pro Football Focus did an exercise where they labeled every first-round selection as either elite, very good, good, average, or  below average.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ selection of Washington offensive tackle Troy Fautanu at 20th overall was tabbed as “good” by PFF.

“There have been questions about whether Fautanu will play inside or outside in the NFL, but he may have landed at the most likely spot where he can play left tackle, his natural position. Fautanu ranked 15th on PFF’s final big board and fifth among all FBS tackles this past season in PFF pass-blocking grade (88.2),” they wrote.

Fautanu is a 23-year-old prospect who was one of the least talked about tackles among the top group until the NFL Combine when he shattered notions from those who thought he had to move inside with a 34.5-inch arm measurement.

An athletic freak, Fautanu played most of his career at Washington at left tackle, except for a few games when he kicked inside to left guard due to injuries. For the Steelers, their mentality up front is creating a dominant run game that will allow them to buoy a limited passing attack. But in order to do that in Arthur Smith’s wide zone scheme, they need athletic players who can move in space, and nastiness from those up front. And Fautanu sees only one way that a player can work on the offensive line — nastiness.

“There’s only one way you’ve got to play o-line, man,” Fautanu said. “And that’s just nasty. I feel like every Saturday or just every day you practice being violent with your hands and just trying to be explosive off the ball and just trying to, you know, put your will and the other guy. You’ve got to dominate. You’ve got to finish guys.”

Some teams flagged Fautanu for medical reasons thanks to an old knee injury, he said on Thursday. Steelers general manager Omar Khan said it wasn’t an issue for his team.

“We wouldn’t select him if we weren’t comfortable with it,” Khan said. “I can’t speak for some of the stuff that’s put out there and what’s true and what’s not, what other people were saying. But we were comfortable.”

Fautanu said the injury that was flagged was an older one that hasn’t bothered him in some time.

“That knee thing hasn’t bothered me in years,” he said. “If you come out playing football for years and years and you don’t get injured, you’re like a pony. I understand the physicality that I do play with. Sometimes, things are going to happen like that. But that doesn’t stop me from showing up to work every day and playing the way that I do play.”

He didn’t miss a game once he worked his way into the starting lineup at Washington, playing all 13 games in 2022 and 15 games in 2023.

Fautanu was the No. 7 player on our Top 100 big board and Steelers Now projected him to go No. 16 to the Seattle Seahawks. His NFL Mock Draft Database average also had him going to Seattle.

Alan Saunders and Nick Farabaugh provided reporting for this story.