Taliese Fuaga knocking off the rust at left tackle in Saints rookie minicamp

This was mildly surprising. When the New Orleans Saints took the field for rookie minicamp practices this weekend, former Oregon State right tackle Taliese Fuaga was lining up on the left side of the line. He hasn’t played left tackle since he was in high school, but the Saints must be prepared in case they need him there in the fall.

And it makes more sense to have Fuaga knock off the rust in May than in August or September. He told reporters after practice that “Yeah, it’s just, you know a little rusty over there on the left side. Definitely got to get those reps in again.”

Right now, the Saints should have confidence that Fuaga can continue to play at a high level on the right side after he won All-American and all-conference recognition there in college; while putting together game tape that convinced the team to draft him at No. 14 overall. But the left tackle spot is far from settled.

If Trevor Penning can’t win the job in his third year on the squad, Fuaga might be needed there protecting Derek Carr’s blind side. So it’s better to get a foundation for him to work with in his stance at left tackle than to throw him into it unprepared later this year. So how difficult is the transition?

“I don’t know, some say it’s like driving on the other side of the highway, you know what I’m saying?” Fuaga replied. “It’s just getting used to it. That’s all I can say about that.”

While this doesn’t mean the Saints are done with Penning and looking to move Fuaga around in the pros, it does mean they’re preparing for that eventuality. It’s on Penning to develop into a better player and prove that isn’t necessary. If he continues to struggle as he’s done in the past, it could be Fuaga taking his place in the line.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire