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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Taliese Fuaga

In the final year of the Pac-12 Conference, its schools send several notable offensive lineman prospects into the NFL draft. Troy Fautanu and Roger Rosengarten from Washington, Jackson Powers-Johnson from Oregon, and Jordan Morgan out of Arzona immediately jump out. Still, none are coming into this month's draft with more hype than Oregon State's Taliese Fuaga.

A three-year starter at right tackle, the Tacoma, Washington native is leaving the Beavers as a member of both the All-Pac-12 and All-American Frist-Teams, and up until a few days ago, was Daniel Jeremiah's No. 1 tackle prospect before he released his 4.0 prospect rankings. Words like mean, force, and bully have been common to hear when I was asking about him or doing pre-report research. Do those strong words hold up when you turn on the tape?

Player Bio

Name: Taliese Fuaga

Jersey: No. 75

Position: Offensive Tackle

School: Oregon State

Class: Junior

Height: 6'5 3/4ths"

Weight: 324 lbs 

Games Watched: vs. USC and Bosie State (2022), vs. UCLA, Washington, and Oregon (2023)

RAS Score Comp:

Player Breakdown

Pass Blocking (14.5/15)

There were long stretches of time when Fuaga was borderline unstoppable in pass protection. I was excited to get the chance to watch him face likely top-20 pick Laiatu Latu. After lining up against each other on the opening handful of snaps, they scarcely did so the rest of the game, which was disappointing, but Fuaga dominated that matchup in the handful of reps they went at it.

Where Fuaga excels as a pass protector is with his raw power (you're not beating him in a bull rush battle), violent hand usage, his ability to recognize and react to stunts and twists in a timely manner, and his length usage despite not having the biggest wingspan you've ever seen. Where he still needs some room for improvement is with some mechanics-related stuff, leading with his inside hand more probably being the biggest thing, I'd say. That and maybe being a tick or two better moving out against guys lined up as wide nines and being susceptible to the occasional inside move, but my guess is that gets ironed out in due time.

Run Blocking (14.75/15)

I wasn't overwhelmed by Fuaga's run-game outing against USC in 2022, but every game from there got better, with his best performance coming against UCLA a year later. His tenacity in the run game was palpable, either as a sealer or finisher and his losses in the run game were minimal. Outside of needing to be a little better at taking some angles at the second level and then latching on to guys there, there's no weakness in Fuaga's craft as a run blocker. He plays MEAN when it's time to pound the rock, which is why he will be a rich man when it's second and even third contract time.

Length (13.75/15)

To preface this, Fuaga's official wingspan was marked at 80 and 5/8ths inches back at the combine, ranking in the 25th percentile all-time among tackle prospects, and his arm size is 10 lower. With that said, I thought Fuaga did a great job with his natural limitations, and I think he's 100 percent playable out at tackle. This especially showed up in his recovery ability, specifically when he got beat to his outside. I thought he did an excellent job of being able to re-latch onto rushers and force them to go around the quarterback effectively.

Footwork (8.25/10)

Fuaga's active feet were common across the five games I watched. This allowed him to redirect on blocks efficiently and move on to other available blocks if necessary. This score comes down some because Fuaga will probably have some issues moving off the snap if he isn't timed up properly, but I didn't see that pop up as much as I would've thought. Additionally, I'd like to see Fuaga rely more on his leg drive in pass pro. This isn't an issue for him as a run blocker.

Mechanics (8.5/10)

The initial kick step Fuaga possesses is elite, as is his ability to stay square and play within his frame, plus his in-game IQ. Where I'd like to see some improvement is with his hand fighting, relying more on his inside hand to generate first contact as opposed to his outside so he's less vulnerable to inside counter moves. Ultimately, though, the Oregon State product would benefit from winning via fundamentals over just his raw strength, but it's not at a highly concerning degree, given the score here.

Athleticism (9/10)

The testing scores you saw at the top translate to the field with Fuaga. He can explode off the snap and has enough agility and speed to be a difficult assignment for even the most athletic pass rushers, although he lacks some against guys in wider alignments. His speed to efficiently head up to the second level of the defense is also very nice.

Versatility (9/10)

While exclusively a right tackle at Oregon State, Fuaga would probably have few issues kicking inside to guard if a team feels he's best suited there. I wouldn't doubt that even a select few would be okay with him being a left tackle despite the wingspan deficiencies. I also believe he can play any run front, which only helps him out.

Anchor (9/10)

While Fuaga relies a bit more on his power than footwork or technique when it comes to dropping his anchor, his core balance is really good, and he was able to distaste things on his terms as a pass protector far more often than not. Once coaching gets him to rely more on his lower body strength to direct guys to where he wants to go, Fuaga might be unstoppable.

Control (4.25/5)

Outside of some lower body mechanics we just mentioned, Fuaga's ability to control things with his overall strength and violent hand usage is very good. I would also have liked to see him be a little better working laterally while attached to rushers, but that's by no means a red flag.

Player Summary

After seeing him for myself, I can easily see why Fuaga has the level of hype he does. He plays with a peak level of tenacity that is hard to replicate, and if some of the mechanical flaws in his game get corrected, he has All-Pro upside at both guard spots and presumably right tackle. His best fit would be where he's been all along if you ask me, but at his build, I have no doubt Fuaga would be equally as good inside, where I'd have to imagine some teams value him higher.

Regarding his range, things realistically begin with either the Titans at No. 7 or the Bears at No. 9. And yes, that implies that he could be the first lineman off the board. Fuaga is firmly on level with Olu Fashanu and Joe Alt, for my money, and there's zero reason he should fall outside the top dozen picks. However, I think a certain AFC West team out in Sin City, picking one spot outside the opening dozen picks, would love to have a guy exactly like this who fits everything they're trying to establish as a program, but that's neither here nor there.

Rookie Projection: Day One Starter

Third-Year Projection: Franchise/All-Pro Offensive Lineman

Final Grade (91/100): Top 10 Talent

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