Washington G/T Troy Fautanu is the perfect Miami Dolphins’ draft target

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INDIANAPOLIS – Troy Fautanu had just stepped off the platform following his official NFL Scouting Combine media interview.

Fautanu was showing off a tattoo sleeve on his arm, a tribute to his Polynesian ancestry.

“It’s a big part of who I am,” Fautanu, the Washington tackle/guard said, explaining that his parents are from American Samoa.

As Fautanu began to walk toward his next stop, a television interview, a reporter mentioned that he might be the ideal blocking addition for Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

“Oh yeah?” Fautanu said, with a smile.

Yes, the reporter explained. A few years ago, Miami drafted young star Laremy Tunsil, playing him at left guard as a rookie before moving him to left tackle in Year 2.

My goodness that would be an ideal plan for Fautanu and the Dolphins in 2024.

“I see,” Fautanu said.

Troy Fautanu blocking for Tua Tagovailoa? Yes, please

Will the Dolphins see Fautanu on the draft board at Pick No. 21 of the first round?

Oh, how they can hope and pray.

NFL Network draft expert Daniel Jeremiah has Fautanu as his 17th-graded overall player.

“Fautanu is an explosive left tackle prospect for the Huskies,” Jeremiah says. “Some NFL teams will project him inside. Overall, I view Fautanu as a starting tackle with positional flexibility to play all five O-line spots if needed.”

ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper, Jr., projects Fautanu as the Seahawks’ selection, at No. 16.

“I see the potential for him to be an All-Pro guard,” Kiper says. He is hard-nosed and nasty when he latches on to defenders.”

Fautanu could slot in as the starting left guard on Day 1 for Miami.

NFL Draft: Could Troy Fautanu succeed Terron Armstead?

Then, he could conceivably move to left tackle and succeed Terron Armstead as soon as 2025.

When the Dolphins drafted Robert Hunt (who just received a $100 million contract from the Panthers), he was a tackle who could play guard.

For Miami, he played both, eventually settling at guard.

When the Dolphins drafted Austin Jackson, they viewed him as a tackle, eventually tried him at guard, and now he’s settled in at right tackle.

Miami has another former tackle, Isaiah Wynn, who began last season as the starting left guard. Wynn has re-signed with Miami to compete against for playing time.

The point here is that Fautanu, who is 6-foot-4, 317 pounds, is the perfect, perfect, perfect fit for Miami’s offense. He’s big. He’s powerful. He’s athletic.

“There’s only one way you’ve got to play o-line, man,” Fautanu said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “And that’s just nasty. I feel like every Saturday or just everyday 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.”

Fautanu said that what separates him is his ability to move in space.

If Miami coach Mike McDaniel, offensive coordinator Frank Smith and offensive line coach Butch Barry are reading this stuff, they’re likely salivating.

Of course, they’ve have, uh, probably seen the tape.

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NFL Draft 2024: Troy Fautanu is a ‘brawler’

“Ready-made brawler without an ounce of finesse in his game,” says NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein. “Fautanu has starting experience at tackle and guard and is well-coached, but he will default to unruly hand-fighting when his technique gets away from him. He plays with average hand placement and can be beaten by length, but his tenacity and footwork keep him connected to base blocks.

“He’s capable of getting to reach blocks in zone and chaperoning running backs wide as a pulling guard on the next level. He’s a pop-and-reset pass puncher who uses active hands and feet to help with extended mirroring he’s forced into. Fautanu needs to prove he has the leverage and hand quickness to play inside, but all signs point toward him becoming a good future starter.”

Fautanu sees himself as a tackle capable of playing guard.

“Tackle was where I’m most comfortable,” Fautanu said. “I played there the last three, four years. But at the same time, I’m more than capable and willing to bump inside and play whatever position you know, they ask me to. I feel like I feel like I’m the most versatile offensive lineman in this draft class.”

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If Fautanu is unavailable, Miami could certainly shift its attention to Graham Barton of Duke, who can play guard, center and tackle.

Or, they could look to Jackson Powers-Johnson of Oregon, capable of starting in the NFL as a center or a guard.

But, my gosh would Fautanu look good in aqua and orange.

Fautanu says he’s studied tape of Tunsil of the Texans, Rashawn Slater of the Chargers and Penei Sewell of the Lions, whom he views as in-control technicians with “dawg” mindsets.

“I have a love for the trenches,” Fautanu said. “You have the ability to kind of take your anger out, your frustration. So you have a bad play, you can go out there and kind of reset because every down is different. And I that’s how I approach life. That’s the approach to everything. I just try to seize every opportunity that I have. Because you don’t get to go out in public. I can’t go run somebody over in public without getting arrested.”

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