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Dennis Allen on Saints Round 1 pick Taliese Fuaga playing left tackle

Taliese Fuaga practicing at left tackle in Saints rookie minicamp

One of the surprise developments coming out of New Orleans Saints rookie minicamp last weekend was the news about where Taliese Fuaga was playing. The former Oregon State starter performed so well at right tackle that the Saints picked him at No. 14 overall in this year’s NFL draft, but when he took the practice field for the first time in black and gold he was lining up at left tackle. Fuaga was seen as an easy replacement for Ryan Ramczyk on the right side, while the veteran Pro Bowler is dealing with a career-threatening knee injury, but his first action came on the other end of the line.

It makes sense to see whether Fuaga is a viable option at left tackle, which is a higher-priority position in an offense with a right-handed quarterback. If Fuaga can protect Derek Carr’s blind side, that might be where his future lies. Saints head coach Dennis Allen shared some insight to the plan for Fuaga at this early stage in the offseason during his rookie minicamp press conference.

“Yeah, so we want to take a look at him on the left side and see how he does over there,” Allen began. “I think we’re pretty confident that he can play right tackle. So getting him some work over on the left side, I think, is important, and then we’ll evaluate it as we go and see how he does.”

When asked if Fuaga would be taking practice reps on both sides of the line, Allen responded: “Starting off we’re going to work him primarily over on the left side, and we’ll evaluate it as it goes. We haven’t made any decisions, in terms of concrete decisions, but yet that’s where we’re going to start him right now. We wanted to get him a lot of work in this camp, see how he does in this camp, and then we’ll reevaluate after this camp.”

Fuaga himself described the challenge of switching sides as like learning to drive on the opposite side of the highway, so while it’s clearly something he’s confident he can do it’s going to take time for him to get used to changing hist stance and working from a different alignment.

And he isn’t the only offensive lineman the Saints are cross-training. Allen said the Saints are preparing multiple blockers to play on either the left or right side, as well as inside at guard or outside at tackle. That includes Fuaga, the team’s 2022 first-round pick Trevor Penning, plus veterans like Olisaemeka Udoh and Landon Young. With so much uncertainty surrounding Penning’s development and Ramczyk’s health, the Saints need…

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