Troy Fautanu selection proves Steelers value versatility on the offensive line

The Steelers went with Troy Fautanu with their first selection giving them a plethora of options for Fridays picks.
Mar 2, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Washington offensive lineman Troy Fautanu (OL19) talks to the
Mar 2, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Washington offensive lineman Troy Fautanu (OL19) talks to the / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Many rumors floated around about who the Steelers might potentially take. Mock drafts had the Steelers taking Amarius Mims or going after Jackson Powers Johnson. Just when it appeared that the run on offensive players might deplete all available tackles before the Steelers pick at number 20.

Just when the Steelers seemed to face a challenging decision, one of the top three tackles remained on the big board. Interestingly, it could have been the specific tackle they had their eyes on all along. Mike Tomlin verified this later on after the selection was made.

This could be another strategic move from the general manager, now known as the Khan Artist, who cleverly hinted that they were after a pure tackle, not one who could play elsewhere on the offensive line.

Troy Fautanu offers versatility on Steelers OL

Fautanu, depending on the assessment you follow, was either in the top three or four tackles. What's intriguing is that he was perhaps the most versatile among all the tackles, with the talent to play on the interior of the line. This could mean that the Steelers' need for another tackle and a center might be addressed in one move, potentially opening up more options for their 2nd round selection.

Given that Fautanu can play the interior of the offensive line, they can see who’s available at the next selection and decide how Fautanu fits in the Steelers' offensive line after they make their second-round selection.

Thus, if they can get Zach Frazier, Jackson Powers-Johnson, or (in a worst-case scenario), Sedrick Van Pran-Granger, then perhaps they plug Fautanu into one of the tackle positions. Mike Tomlin later downplayed the idea of using Fautanu in the interior, but it should not be discounted as a possibility.

If they can't get a center in round two, they can utilize Fautanu as a center during his first season and draft a center next season. So, in essence, they were never looking at pure positional tackle; they were looking for versatility, and they found it in Troy Fatanu. No matter how they use him, the Steelers will have upgraded their offensive line for two consecutive seasons.

Perhaps with Fautanu, the Steelers pick the best available play in the second round, or perhaps they trade up to get Powers-Johnson. Whatever happens on Friday should be intriguing, if only because Omar Khan is showing a certain tenacity that few general managers in the NFL have.