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Taliese Fuaga has a marquee rookie showdown on the schedule in 2024

New Orleans Saints first round pick Taliese Fuaga already has a marquee matchup on the schedule in his rookie season. Bleacher Report’s Ryan Fowler picked the best rookie versus rookie matchups in 2024, and Fuaga’s Week 13 tilt against Los Angeles Rams defensive end Jared Verse made the cut. Here’s why Fowler has this game circled on his calendar:

Make sure you have your volume turned up while watching this Week 13 showdown between the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints. Thanks to Rams edge-rusher Jared Verse and Saints offensive lineman Taliese Fuaga, pads will crack early and often.

While Verse needs to continue refining the nuances of his edge-rushing game, his fundamental strength and ability to win the leverage battle gives him a floor for success. Considering he’ll have 2023 standout rookie Byron Young to take attention off of him, Verse should face a fair share of isolated opportunities against Fuaga in this matchup.

Although Fuaga lived at right tackle at Oregon State, a bump over to the left side to replace 2022 first-rounder Trevor Penning. looks like the immediate plan in New Orleans. Fuaga is a massive man who can distort the line of scrimmage in the run game, but Verse will test his ability to kick-slide and quickly anchor in pass protection.

Fuaga made his name in college from his matchups with Laiatu Latu, in his junior year and at the Senior Bowl. Latu was the first edge rusher picked in the NFL draft. Standout performances against a player like that tend to boost your draft stock. Hopefully, Fuaga has settled in at left tackle before Week 13 but winning the matchup versus Verse would be a nice badge to add as a rookie.

Like Latu, Verse was one of the three edge rushers in the discussion to be the first player off the board at the position. They have completely different styles, however. Latu is the more versatile pass rusher who likes to use his length and hand fight. Verse is most effective going right at you with a bull rush. Fuaga’s strength should allow him to handle power rushers, but this will test that ability.

By this game, both players should be starting to get more comfortable at the next level. Verse will be the only first-round edge rusher Fuaga faces as a rookie. Circle Dec. 1 on your calendar for this marquee showdown between two highly-drafted rookies.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire