In 40 games at UCLA over a three-year span, tight end
In 2012 alone, the 6-foot-7, 255-pounder had 12 touchdown catches for the Bruins.
But when the NFL Draft came around in April, a total of 254 college players heard their name called on stage -- Fauria wasn’t one of them.
There were concerns about his speed, his blocking ability and the system he ran in college. All of which led to his free agent status after the draft.
"I’m not going to lie," Fauria told detroitlions.com. "I scored 12 touchdowns and thought I was the (best). I was surprised on draft day."
But in retrospect, Fauria says going undrafted might have been the best thing that could have ever happened to him.
"I used what happened as fuel and I’m never going to lose that ever for the rest of my career," he said. "It made me work harder. It might have been a blessing in disguise."
Fauria has taken advantage of his opportunities in Detroit after the Lions signed him as a preferred free agent following the draft. He has a terrific shot to make the 53-man roster, especially with the recent hand injury suffered by rookie tight end
Fauria could turn out to be a terrific red zone weapon for the Lions because of his height and ability to go up and get the football in a crowd. He’s been very good in those situations all training camp and has improved his blocking steadily along the way.
He had three catches for 44 yards in last week’s, 40-9, victory over New England, including a 22-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
"It was good to see him sort of, I don’t want to say break out, but he made a lot of the same plays he’d been making in practice," head coach Jim Schwartz said.
Fauria said it was good for is confidence, too.
"You put it on film during practice and that’s the repetition of doing it and doing it and doing it, but if you don’t show up in games, what makes them keep you," he said.
"(Last week) helped me make a case to be on this team."
The best part about Fauria’s game is the options he provides an offensive coordinator. He was labeled as a one-dimensional tight end coming out of college, but has shown over the course of the last month that he can be a pro-style tight end. He’s tall and has good hands and is improving as a route runner.
He gives the Lions options – especially in the red zone.