Football fans of a certain age might recognize Fauria’s last name (pronounced FORE-ee-aa); his uncle, Christian, played tight end for 13 seasons in the NFL on four teams, with most of his success coming with the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots. Both uncle and nephew played for head coach Rick Neuheisel; Christian at the University of Colorado in the 1990s and Joseph over the past couple of seasons at UCLA, before Jim Mora took over in his senior season.
He actually started his career at Notre Dame in 2008, playing in three games but not making any receptions. A semester-long suspension for a non-athletic violation pushed Fauria into his decision to transfer to back “home” to UCLA; he starred as a pass-catcher and pass rusher for Crespi Carmelite High School in Encino, Calif. He redshirted during his NCAA-mandated year off the field in 2009, and then played a bit role the next season, catching three passes for 21 yards and two touchdowns. But those two scores came in the final two weeks of his sophomore season, portending his blossoming into a reliable target (39 catches, 481 yards, six touchdowns) in 2011. In 2012, while he didn't rack up as many receptions (46) as some might have expected, his 6-foot-7 height made him a dangerous red-zone threat, and a touchdown machine, as he chalked up 12 touchdowns on the season.
Long, athletic player who is an excellent red zone target because he can box out and have great reach for high passes. Possesses solid hands to catch away from his frame. Fluid runner who is a tough ask for linebackers to cover in the middle. Shows some short-area quickness to separate on double-moves and out cuts. Gets out of his three-point stance more quickly than expected given his size. Good balance to snatch the ball on the run and hurdle defensive backs trying to cut him down.
Very lean build. Flashes some balance and elusiveness after the catch but long legs allow defenders to wrap or trip him up easily. Struggles to get low blocking in-line or trying to hit targets in the open field. Will often be overwhelmed by defenders, struggles to stick on his block.
The nephew of 13-year NFL tight end Christian Fauria transferred from Notre Dame back home to southern California three years ago, but finally flashed the top-100 talent everyone knew he possessed in 2011 (39 catches, 481 yards, six touchdowns) by using his height, length and unexpected foot quickness to make plays around and over the top of defenders. He further demonstrated these qualities in 2012 en route to 12 receiving touchdowns. Fauria is an impressive red-zone threat due to his height and ability to box defenders out, but he is fairly unimpressive after the catch in the middle of the field. He also has more than his fair share of struggles as a run blocker.
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.