Player Spotlight: Penn State OT Olu Fashanu

Fashanu started 21 games at Penn State.
Fashanu started 21 games at Penn State. / G Fiume/GettyImages

Name: Olu Fashanu
Position: Offensive Tackle
School: Penn State
Age (Draft Day): 21
Height/Weight: 6'6", 312 lbs


Fashanu has had one of the more interesting draft trajectories that I can remember. He was largely expected to declare after his junior season at Penn State and projected to be a top-15 selection. Instead, he opted to return to school. His senior season was good overall, but a few games, particularly a matchup with Ohio State, exposed some deficiencies in his game. Still, I am starting to wonder if Fashanu is falling victim to scouting fatigue, where a prospect is in the spotlight for so long among scouts and media that his game is overanalyzed and unfairly critiqued.

Fashanu is a two-year starter for the Nittany Lions, earning Big Ten honors each year. He has really good size for the position, measuring in at 6'6", 312 pounds, not to mention 34-inch long arms. His game is underpinned by athleticism, which he showed at the combine with a 5.11 40-yard dash and an impressive 32-inch vertical jump.


Pass blocking: Fashanu stonewalls defenders in pass protection. He is very comfortable and experienced at countering most pass rushing moves. He is very rarely beaten off the line and shows a good ability to re-anchor when needed. In a league that throws the ball way more frequently than it runs it, this skill set will be incredibly valuable.

First step and agility: Much of Fashanu's success as a pass blocker comes from his incredible movement skills. He is an effortless mover. His kick slide is smooth and his footwork is very quick. His background as a youth basketball player likely contributes at least in some part to his quick feet. It is rare to see players get the jump on Fashanu because he is out of his stance and into his technique so quickly.

Bend and balance: Part of the reason Fashanu looks so fluid and confident in pass protection is because of his excellent balance. He keeps his feet under him at all times and bends well to keep a good center of gravity. Even when he gets overpowered, it is much more likely for Fashanu to be pushed back into the quarterback's lap rather than knocked down or discarded.


Play strength: Much of my praise for Fashanu is related to the finesse side of playing offensive tackle. Fashanu loses to bullrushes enough that it is a concern. He allows players to get into his chest and he does not have the strength to counter that. Couple the lack of power with his huge frame and he can struggle to generate leverage. In particular, he struggled a lot against Ohio State in back-to-back seasons.

Run blocking: Some of the play strength issues for Fashanu bleed over into his run blocking. Simply stated, he does not have the right mentality for it. You won't see him bowling players over or finishing through the whistle. He can be effective in the run game if he takes the right angle and keeps his hips in line. There are plenty of tackles who generate push in the run game or excel at reaching the second level to clean up linebackers and defensive backs. Fashanu is not one of them.

Hand size: This is more of a red flag than a weakness. Fashanu measured in at the combine with 8.5 inch hands. That ranks in the 0th percentile, according to Mockdraftable. Larger hands usually allow linemen to control opponents at the point of attack and make it easier for them to dictate play. I don't have a great reference point for it being an issue, but it is certainly an outlier, and not in a good way.

NFL Comparison: Garrett Bolles

Fashanu is a bit more filled out than Bolles and a lot younger than when the Utah product came out, but they had a similar profile. Bolles had great footwork and quickness, much like Fashanu, but struggled to generate push and would oftentimes lose out because of a lack of overall strength, particularly in his lower body. It took a while, but Bolles did eventually develop into a Pro Bowl-caliber left tackle, even earning second-team All-Pro honors in 2020.

NFL Draft Outlook: Day 1 selection

Fashanu will have his fair share of doubters, but his extensive background at left tackle and proficiency as a pass blocker should find him a starting spot in the NFL sooner rather than later. He will excel better in a system that prioritizes passing and an outside-zone run scheme. It is hard to foresee him getting a whole lot stronger after spending four years with one of the top strength and conditioning staff at the collegiate level, but if he can get stronger, he could wind up being a home run selection.

Grade: 86.5