Steelers Rookie Had Medical Leak Crush Draft Stock

Pittsburgh Steelers first-round pick Troy Fautanu said damaging medical information might have been leaked by a team.
Jan 8, 2024; Houston, TX, USA; Washington Huskies offensive lineman Troy Fautanu (55) against the
Jan 8, 2024; Houston, TX, USA; Washington Huskies offensive lineman Troy Fautanu (55) against the / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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PITTSBURGH -- As a lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers fan, Troy Fautanu was anything but upset that they took him with the 20th overall pick of the 2024 NFL Draft, but he was surprised. Fautanu and many others were expecting that he'd be gone within the first 15 picks. So why did he fall? Fautanu has a guess.

“I have no clue," the Steelers' latest first-round pick said in an appearance on Softy & Dick, a radio show on KJR in Seattle. "I talked to my agent, and he was saying that a team later in the draft might have leaked it to try and get me to fall. The last time I dealt with [my knee] was in 2021, but I’ve never missed any games, never missed any practices due to it, so it was kind of random, honestly."

A knee injury that had plagued Fautanu through high school and the first part of his college career was reportedly flagged by a team's medical staff during pre-draft meetings, according to a report from Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer, and it was feared that the injury could limit his longevity in the NFL.

Fautanu insists that the knee hasn't been an issue for years and he was confused why it was being reported as an issue. Steelers general manager Omar Khan said he and the rest of the front office were comfortable with the medical evaluation their team doctors performed and felt lucky to land Fautanu at pick No. 20.

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Stephen Thompson


Stephen Thompson graduated with a bachelor's degree in communications and political science from Pitt in April 2022 after spending four years as a sports writer and editor at The Pitt News, the University of Pittsburgh's independent, student-run newspaper. He primarily worked the Pitt men's basketball beat, and filled in on coverage of football, volleyball, softball, gymnastics and lacrosse, in addition to other sports as needed. His work at The Pitt News has won awards from the Pennsylvania News Media Association and Associated College Press. During the spring and summer of 2021, Stephen interned for Pittsburgh Sports Now, covering baseball in western Pennsylvania. Hailing from Washington D.C., family ties have cultivated a love of Boston's professional teams and Pitt athletics, and a fascination with sports in general.