Olu Fashanu made one of the most shocking decisions we’ve seen recently by not declaring after the 2022 season. He decided to forgo entering the draft and decided to return to Penn State. He would have been a top-10 pick and most likely, the first offensive tackle taken in the 2023 draft if he did decide to declare. He has all of the talent that NFL scouts covet and still decided to go back to college.
Fashanu, a 4-star recruit according to Rivals, received offers from several prominent programs and was considered one of the top 5 prospects overall from the D.C. area. He redshirted during his true freshman season in 2020 and earned his first career start in Penn State’s bowl game in the 2021 season, resulting in a 14-point loss to Arkansas in the 2022 Outback Bowl. He has since become the primary starting left tackle for the Nittany Lions. Here is my scouting report for Fashanu.
Fashanu possesses an impressive stature, standing 6’6’’ and weighing roughly 320 lbs. Notably, he also exhibits remarkable agility and athleticism, making him a force to be reckoned with on the field. He has been rumored to have nearly an 83-inch wingspan. The average NFL wingspan for an offensive tackle is 81 inches, according to Mockdraftable.
While Fashanu is a work in progress and still has room for improvement, his natural athleticism and his upside is undeniable. He is an above-average run blocker due to his foot-quickness and unreal size. He is very good at turning his body and walling off defenders with ease.
In pass protection, his agility shines through, allowing him to mirror opponents effectively and use his length to deliver well-timed punches to disrupt pass rushers’ advances. Fashanu didn’t allow a single sack this season, which is incredible for a player with his limited playing experience.
His evolution from the beginning to the end of the 2022 season shows that Fashanu is only beginning to tap into his physical potential. His consistency improved steadily with each game, hinting at the possibility of reaching the elite status of offensive line prospects, much like Tyron Smith, of the Dallas Cowboys.
It is crucial to recognize that Fashanu, despite his inherent talents and promise, remains a work in progress. Having accumulated fewer than 1,000 snaps during his time at Penn State, he still has room to grow. Practicing patience in evaluating Fashanu’s potential as an NFL Draft prospect is key for his development.
Aiming for greater consistency in two key areas could unlock Fashanu’s full potential. First, refining his patience and leveraging his length and movement skills could lead to him becoming even better in the 2023 season.
Second, honing his strike timing is crucial to prevent opponents from gaining leverage and disrupting his initial engagement at the line of scrimmage. Occasionally, he can allow rushers into his chest which prevents him from utilizing his ridiculous length.
Fashanu isn’t as physical as you would like someone with his size to be. If Fashanu can showcase a little more “nastiness” in his game this season, he will silence all of the doubters and become one of the best tackle prospects to come out in the last decade.
Fashanu possesses a physique and athleticism that appear tailor-made for a starting NFL tackle. That kind of combination is a rarity and is the reason why there are never enough good tackles in the league. While continued consistency and growth will be important this season, Fashanu’s athletic profile positions him as a top pick in the 2024 draft.
Credit should be given to his forward-thinking approach, as he aims to better his skills throughout 2023. Despite being just 20 years old, Fashanu possesses the skillset that aligns with those of a potential top-10 draft selection and a cornerstone player for an NFL team.