Steelers Projected to ‘Probably Pass On’ Highly Rated Local College Product

Mike Tomlin Olu Fashanu

Getty The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ray Fittipaldo predicted the Pittsburgh Steelers to "probably pass" on Penn State offensive tackle Olu Fashanu.

The Pittsburgh Steelers could have an opportunity to select a highly regarded draft prospect who played college football in Pennsylvania for the second time in three years this April. That’s if Penn State offensive tackle Olu Fashanu is available for the Steelers at No. 20 overall.

However, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ray Fittipaldo predicted that the Steelers likely wouldn’t draft Fashanu if he is available for them in the first round.

“I think they would probably pass [on Fashanu],” Fittipaldo said while appearing on 93.7 The Fan on April 18. “He’s a left tackle. Their desire is to move Broderick Jones to the left side.

“That’s definitely something they want to do in short order.”

Fittipaldo suggested that Broderick Jones might not switch to left tackle in 2024. But Fittipaldo added that Fashanu isn’t a fit to play with Jones because of his lack of “right tackle capability.”

During his final two seasons at Penn State, Fashanu started 20 contests at left tackle. Last year, he received the Rimington-Pace Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year award. He earned coaches and media All-Big Ten honors as well.

Why Olu Fashanu Might Not Fit for the Steelers

Early in the draft process, the consensus appeared to be that Fashanu would be a top 10 pick in the 2024 NFL draft. That no longer appears to be a guarantee.

While he still sits as a top 10 prospect at No. 7 overall on Bleacher Report’s draft rankings, the latest consensus big board from ESPN has him at No. 14. Pro Football Focus has Fashanu rated at No. 17.

Seemingly, it’s possible the Penn State offensive tackle could be available at No. 20 for the Steelers, who drafted Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett at that same position two years ago.

However, Fittipaldo’s argument that the Steelers will pass on any opportunity to draft Fashanu makes sense.

At the NFL combine, Pittsburgh general manager Omar Khan made it clear that Jones is the team’s future at left tackle.

“He was drafted to be a left tackle and eventually he will be a left tackle,” Khan said of Jones on February 29. “When that is, you know, time will tell, but he was drafted to be a left tackle.”

It’s highly unlike that plan has changed in the past six weeks.

Therefore, any tackle the Steelers draft this year will either need to be able to play both sides or just right tackle. NFL draft experts project Fashanu to be solely a left tackle.

Dan Moore Jr. has started at left tackle for the Steelers the past three seasons. But in 2024, he is entering the final year of his rookie contract.

Steelers Looking for ‘Plug-And-Play’ Offensive Lineman?

Fashanu doesn’t seem to fit with the Steelers for potentially another reason. Although he gained a lot of experience at left tackle the past two years, he still has more developing to do.

“At this point, he could impose his traits upon most collegiate opponents and stack the deck in his favor,”’s Lance Zierlein wrote. “As a pro, he will need to play with better control and more consistent technique to prevent being countered and beaten by NFL talent.

“There is still room to get bigger and stronger, but he’s already playing with good focus and drive as a run blocker.”

Zierlein also described him as having “loads of potential.” But that might not be what the Steelers are really looking for at tackle in this draft class.

Fittipaldo said on 93.7 The Fan that the “consensus” among the Steelers organization is that “they need a plug-and-play offensive lineman.”

Fashanu appears more poised to play immediately than other offensive tackles such as Georgia’s Amarius Mims. But without the ability to play right tackle right away, it would make sense for the Steelers to avoid Fashanu and target different offensive tackles.

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