The first two days of the NFL Draft have come and gone without a UConn player drafted yet. But that’s likely to change on Day 3 as defensive lineman Foley Fatukasi will likely hear his name called.
Fatukasi has been projected as an early Day 3 pick since the start of the draft season and his performance at combine and pro day didn’t appear to move him one way or another.
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller pegs Fatukasi as the first pick of the fifth round (138th overall) to the Green Bay Packers, while CBSSports has the Miami Dolphins taking him at the end of the fourth round, 131st overall.
In terms of where he stands in the rankings of players still on the board, NFL.com rates him as the 19th-best available while ESPN has him as the 36th best prospect left, both of which project Fatukasi to the fourth round. SB Nation has the former Husky as the 68th-best, which correlates to the late fifth round.
Listed at 6-foot-4, 318 pounds, the scouting report on the Far Rockaway, NY native reads “raw but talented,” noting he has the tools to become an NFL starter but will need some development. His production against the run game was average in college but with his size, he could see the field on early downs as a space eater along the line.
Fatukasi’s strengths are centered on his physical attributes, as he uses his size and strength well to move blockers and disrupt offenses. His high motor will certainly catch the eyes of scouts, although it can sometimes lead to Fatukasi playing out of control and losing his technique. Once he joins a team, Fatukasi will need to refine that technique and learn how to better use his strength and size in the trenches.
His draft-ability is helped by his flexibility, as he can play either nose tackle or defensive end in a 3-4 scheme or defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme. It opens the door for more teams to take Fatukasi as he isn’t limited to a 3-4 or 4-3 defense like many front seven players.
However, it’s important to remember the NFL Draft is extremely unpredictable and only becomes more erratic the further it progresses. Fatukasi probably won’t go undrafted, but any of the final four rounds are in play for the former Husky.
Day 3 of the draft begins at noon and will be broadcast on NFL Network, ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2.