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Panthers select DT Sione Fua with the #97 pick

Sione Fua (92) will help anchor the Panthers defensive line at NT.
Sione Fua (92) will help anchor the Panthers defensive line at NT.

If you were on CSR around December and January then you'll know I was beating the drum for Sione Fua way back. When Andrew Luck was still in the picture I called a 1. Luck, 65. Fua draft a 'dream', but in the end Carolina managed to select the Stanford NT with the compensatory pick given for the departure of Julius Peppers.

While he's not the kind of player who will 'wow' you, he is a DT willing to do the dirty work in the trenches and contribute however possible. A high character guy with absolutely zero concerns the Panthers now figure to have their DTs set for the time being in a very smart 3rd round tandem.

Don't take my word for it though, we've got the pros... after the jump

Step One: Learn how to pronounce his name

see-OWN-ay foo-AH

From NFL Draft Scout:

"the Cardinal's run defense features an underrated three-man defensive front that enables the linebackers to make a lot of plays. NT Sione Fua may be the team's best defensive player, although he does not receive much publicity."

This is the theme of his career "does not receive much publicity". Again, he wont make a ton of noise... but he knows how to play.

From Walter Football:

"Fua has had an impressive season for the Cardinal doing a great job of holding up at the point of attack and taking on multiple blockers. He's been disruptive and has right combination of bulk and strength teams are looking for in a 1-technique. He's slowly rising up boards."

The knocks on him are a perceived lack of penetration and some conditioning issues. When you realize though that he was a 3-4 NT at Stanford on a team with very little defensive talent then you begin to realize he holds the point of attack extremely well for extended periods of time. For the Panthers it seems he will play the role of NT to McClain's 3-technique- and I really like the pick.