Prospect Spotlight: Oregon State OT Taliese Fuaga

Fuaga is a former three-star prospect who spent four years at Oregon State.
Fuaga is a former three-star prospect who spent four years at Oregon State. / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

Name: Taliese Fuaga
Position: Offensive Tackle
School: Oregon State
Age (Draft Day): 22
Height/Weight: 6'5", 324 lbs


Fuaga is the top right tackle prospect in this draft class. He started each of the past two seasons for the Beavers, taking a big step in his game from second-team All-Pac 12 in 2022 to first-team All-Pac 12 and second team AP All-America. His improved play turned the heads in draft circles as well. Fuaga opened the season as a relative unknown. Now, there is a chance he will be the second offensive lineman selected on draft day.

With great size and impressive athleticism, Fuaga is an imposing figure. He is a right tackle by trade, but has the frame and skill set that could see him flip over to the left-hand size. His play power also points to a possible future at guard if he struggles to get acclimated with the speed at the NFL level. He played defensive line in high school as well, which gives him a good understanding of how opponents plan to attack him.


First step: Fuaga flies off the ball. He is usually the one initiating contact, especially in the run game. It allows him to get out on the edge on screens and outside run plays as well. It also allows him to reach the second level quickly to block linebackers and defensive backs. He is sometimes a little overeager to reach that second level that he misses the block altogether, but the athleticism is still impressive and should translate well.

Play power: Fuaga can absolutely destroy smaller defenders in the run game. He is excellent as a downhill blocker, clearing out space for running backs to run through. He has heavy hands that allow him to control defenders right off the snap coupled with the strength to finish plays. This profile makes him a dominant run blocker who is very difficult to overpower in pass protection.

Run blocking: Largely because of his impressive play strength, Fuaga is a strong run blocker. It goes beyond the ability to overpower defenders though. He takes great angles to create holes and cutback lanes. With his burst and ability to flip his hips, he is more than capable of setting the edge on off tackle plays as well.


Kick slide: For as big as Fuaga is, he struggles to get out to his spot with his kick slide in pass protection. It's not on every snap, but when he faces an obvious passing situation with a speedy edge rusher, he is susceptible. The fluidity of the slide improved in 2023, but there is still work to be done for him to be successful at the NFL level.

Pass blocking technique: Fuaga is a solid pass blocker, but there are some more technical aspects of his game that need work. His hand usage improved a lot in 2023. You can see him knock down hands to negate pass rushers more frequently. However, he still struggles when opponents attack his outside shoulder. He has room to improve his handling of spin moves and bull rushes as well. The talent is there. Fuaga just needs some refining.

NFL Comparison: Braden Smith

Unlike Smith, Fuaga played tackle in college. Smith made the rare guard to tackle transition. But like Fuaga, Smith plays on the right side, excels in the run game and is an above-average pass blocker. He has good play power. Smith, when healthy, is a top-20 tackle in the league. Fuaga is a little more athletic, but if he can reach Smith's level, he will be a really good draft pick.

NFL Draft Outlook: Top 15 selection

While it is easy to see why some folks are eager to kick Fuaga inside to play guard, I think he is going to be a tackle in the NFL for a long time. His combination of athleticism, power and size make him an ideal candidate to play at right tackle. However, I think he could eventually move to the left side, similar to what the Buccaneers did with Tristan Wirfs and what the Lions are likely doing with Penei Sewell. I don't know if he will reach their level, but the potential is there for Fuaga to be a Pro Bowl tackle. With so many teams needing offensive line help, it is hard to see him falling out of the top 15. He might wind up going in the top 10.

Grade: 89.5