Every cycle, we see prospects emerge out of nowhere to challenge for early-round capital. This year, it’s the 2023 NFL Draft scouting report of Penn State OT Olumuyiwa Fashanu that’s following this trend. We know Fashanu has been good for the Nittany Lions — but the tape is even more impressive than anticipated.
Olumuyiwa Fashanu NFL draft profile
If you need any proof that NFL prospects slip through the cracks in the recruiting process, look no further than Fashanu. His explosive ascent early in the 2022 season is reminiscent of a five-star talent finally earning his opportunity. But Fashanu was a mere three-star recruit in the 2020 class.
Hailing from Gonzaga High School in Washington D.C., Fashanu went overlooked by a great many Power Five schools. But Penn State had eyes on his talent, and his character only sealed the deal for James Franklin and his staff.
A daily volunteer at a homeless shelter and a student in business management and logistics, Fashanu clearly has a career waiting for him after football. However, if his success as Penn State’s left tackle to this point is any indication, he’ll have a long NFL career first.
Fashanu made his first career start against Arkansas in Penn State’s 2021 bowl game as a redshirt freshman. He took that job into the 2022 season, and he led off the campaign with dominant outings against Purdue, Ohio, and Auburn — the latter of which challenged him with multiple NFL Draft prospects in Derick Hall Jr. and Colby Wooden.
At this point, we know Olu Fashanu is legit. But how legit is he? And how high is too high for his NFL Draft stock in a more uncertain OT class? As always, the tape has the answers.
- Position: Offensive Tackle
- School: Penn State
- Current Year: Redshirt Sophomore
- Height/Weight: 6’6″, 308 pounds
Olumuyiwa Fashanu scouting report
Were Fashanu to declare for the 2023 NFL Draft, he’d be a 20-year-old rookie through to December. He’s still incredibly young, but that only makes his elite performance to this point even more impressive — and more exciting.
Sometimes, it’s easy to distinguish underclassmen as legitimate NFL Draft prospects simply because they look the part. That’s where it starts with Fashanu. The Penn State OT has a tall, strong frame with excellent length. He’s very well-proportioned with a sturdy base. His sheer length and width can envelop and absorb rushes in tight spaces.
At his size, Fashanu is a tremendous athlete who can chase defenders in space and cover ground easily as a short-area mover. He has the lateral explosiveness to get inside the 5-tech and seal him off as a backside blocker. Similarly, Fashanu shows great burst off the line into contact, and he can use explosiveness to build momentum on extensions. He’s visibly explosive moving to the second level and can bound upfield with powerful strides.
Fashanu shows off easy athleticism in space when he has room to open up his strides, but his short-area athleticism is even more appealing for his NFL projection. The Penn State OT is an amped-up mover for his size with excellent foot speed, and he gets out of his stance very quickly. He has the foot speed and corrective athleticism to adjust blocking angles heading into contact and adequately square up defenders in space. Moreover, he has the lateral athleticism and range to respond to delayed blitzers and cover ground in recovery.
Fashanu is a high-level athlete, but the other necessary physical components — power and strength — are still very much present. The Penn State OT showcases excellent power capacity with his length and frame density, and he easily reloads and re-exerts to maximize power on punches. Going further, Fashanu has the rotational freedom to extend and lock defenders outside the box. He can then realign and pave defenders away with leg drive.
With his power capacity, Fashanu can easily displace defenders and drive them upfield. And he’s shown he can throw larger defenders into the turf with power capacity and torque generation. Fashanu’s rotational torque is imposing, but he also does a great job using his strength to suffocate defenders. He has the core and grip strength to keep defenders within his frame as a run blocker. He’s able to anchor and latch under pads, redirecting defenders at will.
Fashanu has shown he can lock out and absorb power exertions with ease, using his strong base to hold his positioning. He has stifling play strength at contact. Rushes often fade when confined within his frame, and the Penn State OT can dominate smaller defenders with his reach and play strength. That said, Fashanu holds up well against larger defenders as well. He showcases absurd recovery strength at times when anchored and exposed to power. He can maintain his anchor and leverage amidst heavy amounts of stress.
Some of Fashanu’s power absorption ability also comes from his torso flexibility. The Penn State OT has the torso flexibility to absorb power and recoil after being driven back a few steps, and he brings impressive overall recovery capacity. But also paramount in Fashanu’s success as a protector is his balance and leverage.
Fashanu has extremely natural leverage acquisition and knee bend for his size. He can effectively transfer his weight while maintaining leverage on pass-blocking reps. The Penn State OT has a very stable blocking axis, and he effortlessly maintains his center of gravity while matching. He’s extremely well-balanced and well-leveraged in pass protection and has a tremendous feel for positioning and weight distribution on the move.
MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board
Operationally, Fashanu is much farther along than one would expect for a redshirt sophomore. The Penn State OT has shown he can fully extend and keep defenders within his frame. In contact situations, he keeps his hands consistently tight, and he rarely exposes his torso to power. Fashanu can quickly replace his hands inside the torso after initial extensions. He shows excellent freedom with reloading and releasing hands on successive attacks, and he can sequentially extend to lock out and gather opponents when matching around the apex.
Fashanu’s gather technique is already a dangerous trump card in pass protection, but Fashanu has shown he can use independent hands to adapt and combat rushing moves as well. The Nittany Lions blocker has excellent timing on his extensions and maintains synergy with his upper and lower body when combating hands. When matching he keeps his hands low and loaded, and he can violently extend and latch when in position. Perhaps most impressive with Fashanu is his discipline. He’s patient in allowing rushers to enter his wheelhouse, then snapping around with rotational power and sealing them off on passing plays.
Excitingly, Fashanu complements his hand usage with stellar footwork and foundational mobility. He has excellent foot speed around the edge, but is also controlled, allowing him to tempo up his footwork to match rushers to the apex. The Penn State OT is extremely composed with his footwork. He keeps a steady base and stays in-phase when matching, actively buoying defenders with his base and timing extensions to latch and lock down rushers.
With his urgent foot speed and spry lateral athleticism, Fashanu can easily match rushers and hold positioning while maintaining a wide base, and he has the recovery athleticism to close ground at the apex if needed. Even the little details invoke excitement with Fashanu — things as little as an opening pass set. He’s shown he can bait rushers into going vertical with angular sets, then adjust his trail angle mid-rep, match rushers vertically, and take away their angle.
Fashanu is advanced for his age, and the awareness he shows on the field falls in line with that reputation. Fashanu can maintain leverage and stay disciplined on run plays, walling off backside defenders and staying assignment-sound. He’s also shown he can stack blocks moving to the second level. Fashanu actively uses angle awareness to wall off rushers from outside alignments.
In pass protection, that awareness persists. Fashanu has excellent vision and processing speed when faced with stunts. He can seal off interior defenders and then divert outside with little delay. In a similar vein, he’s alert in condensed spaces. He can quickly chip interior blockers and shift his focus outside to delayed rushers. He has the athleticism to make up ground in those situations as well. Fashanu quickly corrects laterally and squares up free rushers when faced with stunts.
Fashanu’s biting physicality is a terrific undertone for his entire play style. Fashanu has some mauler moments, and he makes a concerted effort to drive defenders upfield after making initial contact. He eagerly moves upfield to stack blocks and attack defenders, routinely capitalizing on imbalanced defenders. And when presented with opportunities, he can finish opponents into the turf.
Among other things, Fashanu has great overall hip flexibility. Not only can he flip to seal off rushers at the apex, but he can also swivel around to maintain leverage on moving blocks in space.
Fashanu’s areas for improvement
For a redshirt sophomore, there’s a surprisingly low amount of flaws in Fashanu’s scouting report. Most of the negative notes are not glaring flaws but minor inconsistencies to iron out with more experience (or caveats that place him a notch below the elite tier in some physical categories).
At times, Fashanu’s grip strength doesn’t always prevent defenders from stressing laterally and prying free. He also doesn’t quite have elite range or change-of-direction ability in space, although he’s exceptional in both areas. Overall, Fashanu’s physical foundation is superb. The majority of his areas for improvement are technical.
At times, Fashanu can be a bit more controlled with his leverage angle when blocking to the apex. He sometimes overcorrects against wider alignments and gives a lane inside. He’ll also occasionally roam back past his center of gravity when tracking in pass pro, drawing his axis back and reducing his balance.
In the process of squaring up defenders in space, Fashanu sometimes drifts too far upright, limiting his power drive at contact. Fashanu can be tugged off-balance when leaning into blocks. He sometimes lurches past his center of gravity. And while he has great hip flexibility, that flexibility isn’t quite elite. Rushers with superior bend and leverage can get under his frame and stress the corner.
Operationally, Fashanu is sometimes a bit too reliant on two-hand extensions. He shows the capacity for independent hand usage. Still, he can use it more often in recovery. In college, he can get by simply by smothering rushers with his strength and physical traits, but the margin for error will be smaller at the next level.
Moving on, Fashanu sometimes places his two-hand extensions a bit too high, allowing defenders to shrink under his frame. In a similar vein, he occasionally extends and widens his torso before his base is set, allowing defenders to get inside his frame. At times, Fashanu can get better depth on his kick. He has the freedom of movement to increase his range off the line, and he’s shown he can get proper depth with his athleticism.
Finally, Fashanu sometimes lingers a bit too high on his toes and can get tugged off-balance on direction changes as a result. And as a run blocker, he occasionally overshoots blocking angles when tracking linebackers upfield.
Current draft projection for Penn State OT Olumuyiwa Fashanu
Fashanu is an early-first-round talent in the 2023 NFL Draft and a potential OT1 candidate if he keeps the pace he set early in the 2022 season. That may sound brash for a player who only has four career starts to this point. But Fashanu’s tape has been phenomenal to this point. Diagnostically, he has high-level physical traits, and he supplements those traits with uncanny footwork, hand usage, leverage, and angle awareness for his age.
Already, we’ve seen Fashanu, who turns 20 years old in December, use independent hands in pass protection. We’ve seen him adjust his set angle to manipulate defenders and take control of reps early. We’ve seen how natural he is and how patient he is, timing his extensions and stymying rushes around the apex. With his athleticism and instincts, he’s a natural talent in pass protection. And with his power and physicality, he can be a road grader on the ground.
There are still things for Fashanu to clean up, most notably inconsistencies with leverage acquisition and balance on direction changes. But even there, Fashanu has shown himself to be incredibly well-balanced and well-leveraged. For such a young player, he plays with an impressive degree of control and coordination, which he uses to channel and maximize a near-elite physical foundation.
Many weeks remain before Fashanu finalizes his 2023 NFL Draft scouting report (or even declares). But he’s already putting himself in the first-round conversation with his play. Fashanu can be a high-level, scheme-versatile starter at left tackle in the NFL. And with him blossoming this early, NFL teams are sure to have him on the radar as a future cornerstone.
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