Steelers could find their center in a draft prospect nobody is talking about

Everyone is talking about Graham Barton transitioning from left tackle to center; Perhaps this prospect could make a similar switch in the NFL.
NFL Combine
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You don't have to search long to find out how much interest the Pittsburgh Steelers have in addressing the offensive line early in the 2024 NFL Draft (just check out our 2024 visit tracker). Since the NFL Combine, Pittsburgh has spent the majority of its time and resources scouting the top offensive line prospects set to enter the draft.

Offensive tackle and center are two positions Pittsburgh is likely to target with the 20th overall pick this year. As a last order of business, the Steelers hosted Duke's Graham Barton for a pre-draft visit -- putting him firmly on their draft radar.

Most of their Top 30 visits were easy to make sense of. Mike Tomlin and Omar Khan have been vocal about wanting to move Broderick Jones back to left tackle, so finding a right tackle like Amarius Mims or JC Latham who fits the size thresholds Steelers look for at the OT position seems like an easy choice.

Likewise, Pittsburgh has no true center on their roster after releasing an underwhelming Mason Cole. Because of this, it wasn't a surprise to see them use a Top 30 visit on all three of the top center prospects (Barton, Jackson Powers-Johnson, and Zach Frazier).

However, there's one visit that's hard to make sense about: Troy Fautanu.

Fautanu has loads of experience at left tackle for the Washington Huskies. However, he measured in at just 6'3 3/4'' at the NFL Combine, and some project him to kick inside at the next level.

Troy Fautanu could be a center for the Steelers

Fautanu doesn't come close to meeting the size thresholds that the Pittsburgh Steelers look for at the offensive tackle position, as they typically look for players who are at least 6'5''. But maybe the Steelers don't view him as a tackle.

While some teams will view Fautanu as a guard, it's not unreasonable to think that he could be a center in the NFL. In fact, that's where he profiles best from a size standpoint. When compared to tackles, Fautanu has just 3rd percentile height and 41st percentile wingspan, per Mockdraftable.

These numbers jump significantly to NFL centers. Fautanu's 6'3 3/4'' frame would be 56th percentile compared to all centers entering the league since 1999, and his wingspan would jump up to the 92nd percentile.

On top of this, Fautanu would move from a very good athlete at tackle to an elite athlete at center, according to

The combination of size and athletic testing gives Fautanu a perfect Relative Athletic Score of 10.0. Obviously, the size profile and athletic traits aren't the only things that go into making a great NFL center.

There's always a projection when moving inside, both great tackle prospects can make the transition. Fautanu certainly doesn't lack tenacity, and he would be tailor-made for Arthur Smith's wide zone offense thanks to his outstanding ability to move laterally and get to the second level.

The biggest factor to consider here is that Fautanu has never played center before. This means that the Steelers would be taking a bit of a gamble trusting that he could learn to snap the football. However, the transition from left tackle to center isn't that dissimilar to Graham Barton (who took snaps at center as a freshman but has been a left tackle at Duke for the past three years).

What's going to make Troy Fautanu so intriguing to NFL teams is his athletic profile and ability to play all along the offensive line. The Pittsburgh Steelers clearly have interest after using a Top 30 pre-draft visit to meet with him. Perhaps he's the center prospect that nobody is talking about ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft.