Arthur Smith Troy Fautanu Zach Frazier


Arthur Smith Troy Fautanu Zach Frazier


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New Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Arthur Smith expressed his excitement about the team drafting two offensive linemen in the first two rounds of the 2024 NFL draft.

In Arthur Smith’s three years as Atlanta Falcons head coach, the Falcons selected three skilled-position players. The draft strategy the past two seasons for his new team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, couldn’t be any different.

The Steelers used their first two selections of 2024 to address the offensive line. First, Pittsburgh drafted offensive tackle Troy Fautanu at No. 20 overall. Then in the second round, the Steelers chose center Zach Frazier.

Those selections came one year after the Steelers traded up for offensive tackle Broderick Jones in the first round.

On April 26, Smith expressed a lot of excitement about working with those young offensive linemen in his first season as Steelers offensive coordinator this fall.

“It’s always going to start up front. There’s obviously so many important pieces to it,” Arthur Smith told reporters. “But when you want to play a certain brand of football, a Steelers brand of football, it certainly helps to have the right guys.

“I certainly appreciate the investment, and they’re all really top end players. It’s our job to help them reach their potential and really the chemistry with the entire line and how it fits.”

Fautanu could potentially start at either right or left tackle this season. The early projections have Frazier starting at center in 2024.


Steelers’ Arthur Smith Raves About Landing Center Zach Frazier in Round 2

Arguably the biggest hole on the Steelers roster heading into the 2024 NFL draft was center. Pittsburgh released veteran center Mason Cole on February 23, which left no natural centers on the team’s roster.

General manager Omar Khan prioritized offensive tackle with Fautanu falling to No. 20 overall in the first round. On Day 2, there were two centers who could potential start in 2024 worth targeting in the second round.

Even though the first of those two centers, Oregon’s Jackson Powers-Johnson, went off the board at No. 44 overall, Khan remained patient for seven more picks. As a result, the Steelers landed a starting-caliber center while keeping their remaining draft capital.

Smith couldn’t foresee the first two rounds going any better for his new team.

“It’s rare to find a guy with that kind of pedigree and his resume and the amount of snaps he had in college,” Smith said of Frazier. “Certainly, his background in wrestling, he’s been a high achiever his whole life.

“We couldn’t be more fired up to get Zach in the building.”

Smith noted how much college experience both Frazier and Fautanu will bring to Pittsburgh. Both are also tone setters and together, they can help make up a unit that could bully opponents.

“They’ve played a lot of snaps at a high level. They’re not up and down players,” Smith told reporters. “They are truly two really physical players. Play with high effort, high football IQ. They check a lot of boxers for us.”

“We are certainly well on our way. It feels that way, and I’m really excited.”


OL Scout Calls Frazier ‘Best Center’ in 2024 Draft

Frazier was the third center off the board, and the final one that projected to be a potential starter in 2024. But Steelers fans shouldn’t consider the West Virginia product a consolation prize.

Offensive line scout and development Duke Manyweather touted Frazier on X (formerly Twitter) as the best center in the 2024 draft class.

“Steelers, you just got the best Center in the draft!!!!!” wrote Manyweather.

Over the past three seasons, Frazier started 37 games at West Virginia. He also started nine contests at left guard as a freshman in 2020.

At center, Frazier made first-team All-Big 12 conference in 2022 and 2023.

Like Jones and Fautanu picked before him, Frazier could be a long-time starter along Pittsburgh’s offensive line.

“Frazier is an experienced center-only prospect with adequate size, solid athletic ability and very good play strength that he combines with high-level football intelligence and competitive toughness to run the show pre-snap, lead and find ways to get defenders blocked in a variety of schemes,” Bleacher Report’s Brandon Thorn wrote. “He projects as a long-term, dependable starter at the pivot.”

Dave Holcomb is a sports reporter covering the NFL and MLB for Heavy.com, with a focus on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Detroit Lions. Originally from Pittsburgh, Holcomb has covered college and professional sports for outlets including Fansided, Rotowire and Yardbarker. More about Dave Holcomb





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