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Troy Fautanu was a solid first-round pick by the Steelers

You wanted an offensive lineman, and the Steelers got you an offensive lineman when they made tackle Troy Fautanu their latest first-round pick (20th, overall) in the 2024 NFL Draft on Thursday night in Detroit, Michigan.

Fautanu, a shade under 6’4″ and weighing 317 pounds, started mostly at left tackle over his final two seasons at Washington. Like most first-round picks, Fautanu has a decorated college resume. At the top of the list is the fact that he helped lead the Huskies to the national title game in his senior season. Speaking of his senior year, Fautanu won the Morris Trophy, awarded to the Pac-12’s best offensive lineman. With that in mind, it shouldn’t surprise you that he was voted Second-team All-Pac-12 in his junior season and First-team All-Pac-12 in 2023.

As per CBS Sports, Fautanu allowed two sacks in 1,161 pass-blocking snaps over his final two seasons and was graded the fifth-best pass-blocking tackle by PFF last year.

It has been said that Fautanu is versatile and could move inside to guard if he had to or play anywhere along the offensive line.

I’m guessing the Steelers have designs for Fautanu to play tackle. In fact, head coach Mike Tomlin said exactly that when speaking to reporters on Thursday night: “Right now, he’s a tackle. We see him as a tackle.”

Left or right? Doesn’t matter to me, just as long as he plays somewhere and is good. I’m pretty easy to please when it comes to this draft stuff. As I’ve said many times before, as long as Pittsburgh uses its first-round pick to address a need and doesn’t reach, I’m fine with it. Fautanu, one of the top-rated tackles in the 2024 draft class, was ranked anywhere from 11th to the low 20s on just about every draft big board I researched.

So, Fautanu checks the only two boxes I care about when it comes to a Steelers first-round choice. Would I have been happier with a cornerback, receiver or center? That’s hard to say right now, but I know I would have had concerns about the future of the tackle position had the Steelers gone in another direction. The bottom line is this: Pittsburgh can only address one need at a time, and it’s hard to argue with the selection of an offensive tackle in the first round.

When you combine the selection of Fautanu with the drafting of tackle Broderick Jones in the first round in 2023, it’s easy to get excited about the future of the Steelers’ offensive line. The organization has spent the past few offseasons trying to rebuild its once-great unit. Multiple centers, guards and tackles have been added in free agency and the draft. Some have panned out, while others have not.

You’re not going to have success with every transaction, but if you keep throwing premium people at the problem, you’ll eventually get there.

It obviously remains to be seen if Troy Fautanu will be a successful first-round pick, but he is a talented addition to an offensive line that has slowly improved over the past few years.

Maybe he can help lead the unit back to greatness.


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