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Penn State’s Olu Fashanu remains a top 10 pick in NFL mock drafts

Analysts have mixed opinions on Nittany Lions defensive end Chop Robinson

Penn State All-American offensive tackle Olu Fashanu is expected to be taken in the first 10 picks of the NFL draft in April. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Penn State All-American offensive tackle Olu Fashanu is expected to be taken in the first 10 picks of the NFL draft in April. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
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Less than one week before the NFL Scouting Combine, the consensus remains that Penn State left tackle Olu Fashanu will be a top 10 pick in the NFL draft in April.

ESPN draft analysts Matt Miller and Mel Kiper Jr. and Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network have Fashanu being taken between the seventh and 10th picks in their latest mock drafts.

Fashanu, a consensus first-team All-American, has been working with Duke Manyweather, who trains current and future offensive linemen at his OL Masterminds in Frisco, Texas.

“Fashanu has issues in the run game,” Miller said on a conference call this week. “He’s aware of some of the weaknesses in his game and is trying to get those cleaned up.

“I’m excited to see his movement next week at the Combine. I think it’s going to be pretty special just based on the type of athlete that he looks to be.”

Miller projects Chicago taking Fashanu with the ninth pick. He and many others have the Bears using the No. 1 pick in the draft to select USC quarterback Caleb Williams, Fashanu’s high school teammate at Gonzaga in Washington, D.C.

Jeremiah has Fashanu going to Tennessee at No. 7 in his latest mock draft, which was posted this week. Kiper has the New York Jets taking him at No. 10 in his mock draft, which was published several weeks ago.

Most analysts have Notre Dame left tackle Joe Alt rated ahead of Fashanu.

“If you can’t get Alt, it’s not a consolation prize to get Fashanu,” Miller said. “If you can’t get the Notre Dame left tackle, go straight to Penn State and get another 10-year starter.”

Fashanu will be at the Combine in Indianapolis along with nine other Nittany Lions: tight end Theo Johnson, center Hunter Nourzad, offensive tackle Caedan Wallace, defensive ends Chop Robinson and Adisa Isaac, linebacker Curtis Jacobs and cornerbacks Kalen King, Johnny Dixon and Daequan Hardy.

Analysts have mixed opinions about Robinson, an All-Big Ten first-team selection who was widely projected to be taken in the middle of the first round when he declared for the draft in early December.

Kiper and Jeremiah still expect him to be drafted in the first round; Kiper has him going to Tampa Bay at No. 26 and Jeremiah has him going to Buffalo at No. 28.

Miller, however, projects Washington drafting him in the second round with the 40th pick.

“I’ve never had a top 20 grade on Chop Robinson,” Miller said. “My biggest thing is going to be his size and strength. I didn’t think he played with great strength, especially in the run game, at Penn State.

“He’s listed at 250 pounds, but he does not look 250 pounds. I think next week is going to be big. Are you 6-3, 250? Or are you 6-2 and 235?  If I had to guess, that’s why you see him start to drop a little bit in rankings and mock drafts.”

The draft stock of Penn State tight end Theo Johnson is on the rise after his performance at the Senior Bowl. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)
The draft stock of Penn State tight end Theo Johnson is on the rise after his performance at the Senior Bowl. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)

Miller and others consider Johnson’s stock to be on the rise after his strong performance last month at the Senior Bowl. Johnson, who received All-Big Ten honorable mention, caught 34 passes for 341 yards and seven touchdowns last season.

Kiper rates him as the fourth-best tight end in the draft behind Brock Bowers of Georgia, Ja’Tavion Sanders of Texas and Cade Stover of Ohio State.

“Theo Johnson is definitely on the rise,” Miller said. “I think there’s a good chance he’s the third tight end drafted just because there’s such an appetite for that big, nasty, in-line tight end who does a great job in the middle of the field.”

Isaac’s stock also is rising after his strong outing at the Senior Bowl. He led Penn State last season with 16 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks.

Miller projects Isaac to be taken late in the second round by San Francisco with the 63rd pick. Kiper rates him as the third-best defensive end in the draft.

King, who was considered a first-round pick by some last year, is not listed in Miller’s two-round mock draft. Kiper rated King, who made the All-Big Ten second team, as the 10th-best cornerback in the draft.

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