Name: Folorunso “Foley” Fatukasi
Position: Defensive Tackle
Fatukasi’s strength and drive take him a long way. He fires out low and fast, getting a strong initial push almost every snap. His leg drive and motor are exceptional as he never gives up on a battle. He can keep offensive linemen at bay with just his arms, but prefers to engage and push. This is how he succeeds almost exclusively, as he struggles at times to run along the line or disengage with finesse. He is primarily a two-gap, straight-line tackle.
Fatukasi has ideal frame for an interior defensive lineman. At 300-plus pounds, he could work at nose as he did most of his UConn career. But he possesses the length and straight line acceleration that could make him a productive 3-technique, as well. His length will come in handy in pass-rushing downs, so long as he learns to keep separation on a more regular basis.
Speaking of which, Fatukasi is almost all potential as a pass rusher. He was fairly productive in that area in college with 14 sacks the last three years. But his preferred strategy is collapsing the pocket with powerful bull rushes, which will not succeed on nearly the same level in the NFL. On rare occasions, he employs a spin move, but that is pretty much it. Fatukasi’s lateral quickness is average, but he also has a good burst, which would indicate he could add some other moves to his arsenal. If he could get a nice rip move, it would help shed blockers who are slow to catch up to his quick drive off the ball.
This is Fatukasi’s greatest weakness and the primary reason he will be a late day two, maybe day three pick. He seems to get blinders on once engaged, focusing too hard on the battle in front of him rather than shedding the blocker and finding the ball carrier. It is especially clear on zone blocking plays, where he stays with his man rather than moving down the line ahead of the blocker. As a result, he ends up out of the play when he is actually out-muscling the man in front of him. He also struggles with double teams more than a player of his power should because he fails to sense it coming and adjust accordingly.
Unlike Da’Ron Payne or one of the other first round tackles on the Vikings’ radar, Fatukasi would likely not be a day one starter. Like Jaleel Johnson last year, Fatukasi is a bit of a project with tons of raw ability. His power is inviting, especially next to another powerhouse like Linval Joseph. With his length and burst, in a few years time, Fatukasi could be a good pass rusher out of the 3-technique, as well.
The Vikings once deep tackle rotation is slowly thinning out. Shamar Stephen and Tom Johnson are unrestricted free agents. The Vikings are likely to only re-sign one to make room for Jaleel Johnson and a rookie they draft. Fatukasi fits into that rotation due in large part to his position versatility. While he played mostly nose in college, he figures to play more 3-technique in the pros. But if he can prove he has the power to slide inside, it would allow Joseph to get a little more rest.