2024 Chicago Bears Draft Target: Taliese Fuaga
Trevor Ruszkowski - USA Today Sports

2024 Chicago Bears Draft Target: Taliese Fuaga

by - Senior Writer -

Although the Pac-12 may not be a conference anymore, it will at least go down as having had a memorable final season. From Washington's making it to the National Championship to Oregon's being one of the best two-loss teams in recent memory to USC QB Caleb Williams's lighting it up for the past two seasons, it's no wonder the Pac-12 was arguably the most exciting conference in the country to watch.

Speaking of Williams and the Pac-12, for that matter, Chicago could take a page out of the Pac-12 and go with what some might call a Pac-12-heavy draft for them. That all starts with taking Williams No.1 overall, as he could be the answer to solving their QB woes. What they do after him is going to determine the long-term success of this franchise, but in order to have that success, they need to protect their investment (Williams).

In order to do that, the Bears will need to continue improving their offensive line, and that could continue with the No. 9 overall pick, where another Pac-12 option is a possibility. Already linked to several offensive linemen at No. 9, you can throw Oregon State OT Taliese Fuaga, as he is one of the fastest-rising OLs that no one is talking about.

One of the bigger OLs in the draft, Fuaga stands at 6-6 and weighs 324 pounds. That is one massive human anchoring the offensive line, and he would do a phenomenal job not only protecting Williams but also paving the road for D'Andre Swift and the rest of the RBs in the room.

Unlike the other tackles who played left tackle, Fuaga is a right tackle by trait and a beefy one at that. Coming off by far his most consistent season as a player, there is no reason to believe that he can't compete at a high level in the NFL. Fuaga is one of the more aggressive players in this year's draft and goes right after his man off the snap despite playing with an inconsistent pad level at times.

While scouts love his aggressive and physical nature, one aspect of his game is a concern, and it is a surprising concern. Fuaga is what you call a one-pop blocker, someone who hits you immediately and doesn't necessarily finish you off. That forces him to work harder than most players would to sustain his blocks, especially in the run game.

However, given what this Shane Waldron offense is expected to look like, pass protection is the key. Fuaga's pass-blocking technique is exceptional, to the point that scouts have considered him the best pass-blocking tackle in the draft. He has learned to play different styles to adapt to how edge rushers are attacking him and uses the mirror style to neutralize the opponents' defense on his end.

His hand work alone in the passing game is what makes him so good as they are constantly moving to keep his defender moving. That has to continue in the NFL, as a slip-up on that end could expose him much more than before. As good as his pass blocking is, there are some concerns about how Fuaga can recover, as he doesn't do a great job recovering when he is beaten off the block.

Despite being a tackle by trade, he is known for his versatility, and the Bears could use that to their advantage should they draft him. With Darnell Wright already at the RT position, drafting Fuaga could pay off in an even bigger way than some realize, as you could move him from RT to RG and instantly help improve your interior portion of the line.

Yes, he is best suited as a right tackle, but he can still be a great player and a long-time NFL starter should he move to the right guard position. He may not be at Joe Alt's level, but over the past few weeks, the gap between him and Olu Fashanu has closed, and he could emerge as the second-best OL in his class.

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