UW OL Troy Fautanu shares thoughts on possible move to guard in NFL

Apr 20, 2024, 10:03 AM

Projected first-round NFL Draft pick Troy Fautanu starred at left tackle for the UW Huskies this past season, anchoring a standout offensive line that played a pivotal role in the team’s run to the national championship game.

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At the next level, however, many have speculated that the 6-foot-4, 317-pounder could move inside to guard. Fautanu has shown the versatility to do so, having started a game at left guard for the Huskies back in 2022.

Where does Fautanu envision himself playing in the NFL? The former UW offensive lineman shared his thoughts Friday morning during a wide-ranging conversation with Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk.

“I’m just trying to compete, wherever that is,” Fautanu said. “At the end of the day, I do think I’m a tackle. I’ve heard that a lot. I’ve heard both, (but) I’ve heard more tackle than anything. But there’s guys in the NFL that have been around for a while, so you’ve gotta be realistic sometimes and get in where you fit in.

“I’m just excited for an opportunity. It’s crazy to think that this is now a career. This is my job. So wherever they’re paying me to play, I’m gonna play, and I’m gonna play to my fullest capabilities.”

Fautanu was an Associated Press third-team All-American this past season and won the Morris Trophy as the top offensive lineman in the Pac-12. He and his fellow UW linemen also received the Joe Moore Award, which is given annually to the best offensive line in the nation.

NFL.com’s draft profile describes Fautanu as a “ready-made brawler,” but Mike Salk joked that he was struggling to pair the Nevada native’s on-field intensity with his friendly demeanor on air.

“All I’ve heard about you from everybody is: ‘He’s so nasty, man. You gotta see him. He’s physical and he’s violent and he’s so nasty,'” Salk said. “And then you get him here on the phone and he’s like the nicest person we’ve ever spoken to. I’m having a lot of trouble putting together this idea that you’re so nasty with this incredibly nice guy on the phone. How do you do that?”

Fautanu said that when he’s on the field, he flips a switch.

“When I roll up my pants and roll up my jersey and have the stomach showing, I think I turn into a different person,” Fautanu said. “I don’t know. It’s weird. … I felt like I’ve always had that want to put (a defender) on their back. There’s gotta be a want there, and I have that want every day that I play football, especially on (gamedays) when you’re going against someone that’s not wearing your colors. It’s a mindset thing. Either you have it or you don’t. Coach Huff (former UW and current Seahawks offensive line coach Scott Huff) made sure to make that an emphasis, and I try to show that in the way that I play.”

There’s a chance Fautanu could remain in the Pacific Northwest. Many draft experts have projected the Seattle Seahawks to select him with their first-round pick at No. 16 overall, given that the interior offensive line is one of their biggest needs.

“Living in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest the past five years has been awesome,” Fautanu said. “And you never know, I (could) end up back here. But for me, it’s just another opportunity. So wherever that happens, wherever that is, I’m truly excited.”

Listen to the full conversation with Troy Fautanu from Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

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