There are 361 days until the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. Is it too soon to be discussing first-round mock drafts for next year? Yes, but I’m going to do it anyway. The 2024 NFL Draft could be a massive one for Penn State football, as several players have the potential to be first-round picks next year. And the hype train is officially up and running for one Nittany Lion, as Penn State lineman Olu Fashanu is already projected to be a top 2024 NFL Draft pick by Mel Kiper Jr.
Mel Kiper Jr. projects Penn State lineman Olu Fashanu as a top 2024 NFL Draft pick
Mel Kiper Jr. has been synonymous with ESPN’s NFL Draft coverage for the last 40 years and is one of the most respected analysts in the industry. During Saturday’s coverage of the 2023 draft, Kiper shifted his focus to 2024 and discussed his top names for next year’s draft. Kiper listed his top five picks for the 2024 NFL Draft, which included some of the biggest names in college football today. Penn State lineman Olu Fashanu came in fourth on Kiper’s list, behind USC’s Caleb Williams, Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr., and North Carolina’s Drake Maye.
Fashanu already shot up NFL Draft boards last season and was projected to be a top-ten pick had he decided to leave Penn State. The star left tackle told us he believed he did enough in 2022 to come out but decided to return to help the Nittany Lions chase a potential Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff berth in 2023.
“The way we ended the season last year with the Rose Bowl victory and New Year’s Six bowl was awesome,” Fashanu told us at the THON Explorers Program in February. “Not only myself but everyone else here knows that we can go much farther than that. Being on the team again, having that opportunity to go to that spot is a pretty big motivating factor.”
Why did @olu_fashanu decide to return to Penn State?
— Basic Blues Nation (@BasicBlues) February 19, 2023
Fashanu set for a massive 2023 season
Fashanu returns to lead what could be one of the best Penn State offensive line units in recent memory. Already one of the best pass blockers in the country, Fashanu was named to Bleacher Report’s “perfect offense” for the 2023 season in February. Fashanu is looking to build upon a stellar 2022, where he didn’t allow a single sack all season.
However, Fashanu is also looking to take a significant step as a leader this year. Forcing himself out of his quiet persona, Fashanu has already been recognized by his teammates for his leadership qualities. This was cemented after the Blue-White Game when James Franklin announced that Fashanu was named a team captain for the upcoming season.
Penn State football has high expectations for 2023, and Olu Fashanu will play a leading role. If he and the Nittany Lions can rise to the task this fall, then Fashanu will likely hear his name called on the opening night of the 2024 NFL Draft next spring.
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