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‘Perfectionist’ Troy Fautanu Getting Up to Speed at Right Tackle

Pittsburgh Steelers first-round pick Troy Fautanu struggled at OTAs but after minicamp, the rookie is feeling more confident at right tackle.

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Steelers OT Troy Fautanu
Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Troy Fautanu at Steelers rookie minicamp on May, 11, 2024 -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Pittsburgh Steelers shored up their offensive line when they drafted Troy Fautanu. After selecting Broderick Jones in the first round a year ago, the Steelers now have their starting tackles for the foreseeable future. For Fautanu, juts like Jones last year, it is now about getting up to speed in order to be ready when called upon.

“All it was, was just getting reps at it,” Fautanu said to reporters during the team’s mandatory minicamp. “Coming into mandatory minicamp, I feel a lot better now that I had a whole bunch of reps at OTAs. Day-by-day I am just trying to find a way to get better.”

Fautanu is set to play right tackle for the Steelers but never played a down on the right side in college. This meant a steep learning curve for the rookie as all of his collegiate snaps came at either left tackle or left guard. On the first days of OTAs, Fautanu struggled mightily but went to work to fix it. Due to previous coaching, Fautanu put the bad day bending him and made sure to get better for the next day.

“The biggest thing for me was making sure day nine doesn’t look like day one,” Fautanu said. “In a way, it didn’t. As I said before, I am a perfectionist. I get that from coaching, previous coaching. My [offensive line] coaches always said it’s never going to be perfect but I am going to coach you like it is supposed to be.”

Fautanu credits his rough first day to overthinking which makes sense since it was his first day going against NFL players and since he never played that position before. Fautanu bounced back from his rough first day and said that the thing that he struggled with, he should not ever struggle with because it is what flashed on his tape, which is his fast get off.

“It’s been a lot easier because when I am getting to the line, I am not thinking so much,” Fautanu said. “That first day was all about so many things going into my head, not getting off of the ball… The biggest thing is coach Isaac Williams always tells me that they drafted me for one thing and that is to play fast because that is what my tape showed so there is no excuse for me to get off of the ball late at all.”

While he just finished his first minicamp and OTA sessions of his career, Fautanu knew what he wanted to work on throughout the summer drills and executed on it.

“Just making sure I find ways to use my hands,” Fautanu said. “I think that is the biggest thing right now because I am not worrying about guys bull rushing me or anything like that. Trying to perfect my punch… I’m just going to keep going back to it. Just constantly trying to find a new way to get better every single day because if you don’t you are going to get surpassed like that.”

While the Steelers are likely to take the slow route with Fautanu just like they did with Jones last year, he is expected to start at some point during his rookie season. Do not be surprised if Dan Moore Jr. is the Week 1 starter but it will not stay that way for long considering where the team drafted Fautanu.

76 • Troy Fautanu, Tackle, Washington
6-foot-4, 317 pounds, 23 years old, 1st Season

Acquired: The Steelers drafted Troy Fautanu out of the University of Washington with the 20th overall pick in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Last YearIn Troy Fautanu’s final season at Washington, he played in and started all 15 games of their season at left tackle. Fautanu played a career-high 993 offensive snaps and allowed two sacks and three quarterback hurries. His play earned him First-Team All-Big 12 honors for the second consecutive season.

Additionally, Fautanu won the Morris Trophy for being the Pac-12’s top offensive lineman.

Pittsburgh Steelers 2024 NFL Draft Troy Fautanu

Washington offensive tackle Troy Fautanu blocks against a Tulsa defender, Washington Athletics

CollegeTroy Fautanu enrolled at the University of Washington prior to the 2019 season. Fautanu spent his first season on campus as a redshirt. The following season was the COVID-shortened 2020 season. Fautanu appeared in all four games for the Huskies during the season.

Fautanu’s production and playing time started to increase in 2021 as he appeared in nine games, starting three of them. Two of his three starts that season came at left tackle and the other one was at left guard. He played over 200 offensive snaps and allowed just one sack and four quarterback hurries.

In 2022, Fautanu stepped into a full-time starting role as he received 12 starts at left at tackle and one at left guard. Playing in 949 offensive snaps, Fautanu allowed an amazing zero sacks. Fautanu earned First-Team All-Pac 12 honors following the season.

In his career, Fautanu appeared in 41 games and recorded 31 starts. Fautanu started 29 games at left tackle and two at left guard in college.

Year GP GS Snaps Sacks Allowed PFF Rating
2019 0 0 0 0
2020 4 0
2021 9 3 201 1 69.5
2022 13 13 949 0 77.9
2023 15 15 993 2 75.1
Pittsburgh Steelers 2024 NFL Draft Prospect Troy Fautanu

Washington offensive lineman Troy Fautanu reacts after a touchdown by running back Dillon Johnson against Utah during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

Salary cap and future: Troy Fautanu is entering his rookie season in 2024 and will cost the Steelers $2.74 million against the team’s 2024 cap space. Fautanu is signed to a standard four-year rookie contract that has a fifth-year option attached to it due to him being a first-round draft pick.

Fautanu’s rookie contract with the Steelers will keep him in Pittsburgh until after the 2026 season which is the earliest he can become a free agent. The Steelers will have the option to keep him with the team through the 2027 season if they chose to exercise Fautanu’s fifth-year option.

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