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2024 NFL Draft

Steelers Land Washington OT Troy Fautanu in First Round

The Pittsburgh Steelers have drafted Washington offensive tackle Troy Fautanu in the 2024 NFL Draft to bolster the offensive line.

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Pittsburgh Steelers 2024 NFL Draft Prospect Troy Fautanu

The Pittsburgh Steelers have selected Washington offensive tackle Troy Fautanu in the 2024 NFL Draft. The 20th overall pick is a 23-year-old prospect  whowas 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.”

Take him at his word. While he called moving him off tackle to guard or center lazy analysis, he would be willing to do it if a team asked him to. Versatile, athletic, and nasty would be the way to describe Fautanu.

I have a few questions about Fautanu’s physical ability. He is a special athlete and moves so well in space. Go watch his drills at the NFL Combine and this guy moves better than others in space. Fautanu has excellent lateral agility and can cut off his outside shoulder and mirror back inside on counters as a result. He has very little tightness in his lower body, and that fluidity allows him to take some absurd angles during the run game and make some impressive recovery reps.

Fautanu has no experience on the right side, which is important for the Steelers if they are serious about moving Broderick Jones back to the left side. Fautanu being picked would almost ensure that Jones sticks at right tackle, especially since Fautanu is a prototypical left tackle in his build. But his athleticism in space and on the front of wide zone runs would give Pittsburgh the ability to do some serious damage on the ground.

While he is nasty and a finisher, Fautanu can play with reckless abandonment, which causes him to whiff or fall off blocks. As such, there are some holding penalties that pop up on film, and a few were called on him, too. Fautanu is a bit too dependent on his athleticism and can get caught drifting to his spot rather than getting onto his spot. As such, Fautanu can be sped up at the end of his depth, and open the gate inside or expose his chest at times.

Troy Fautanu is an excellent prospect and quite pro-ready, which is a plus given that he will be 24 in his rookie season. The knee injury aside Fautanu would fit well in the Steelers scheme, and if he does not work out at tackle in his rookie season, the team could kick him inside for years to come.