V: A bona-fide franchise left tackle
There are plenty of outstanding offensive linemen on the 2024 NFL Draft board. In many regards, there are as many as seven prospects who can be viewed as Day 1 starters among this rookie class. Sometimes an ample supply for one positional group allows teams to target less numerous elite players, in hopes that enough quality prospects will remain on the board for Round 2, or at least for the team to trade back into the end of Round 1 to add one before the supply runs out. But Penn State offensive tackle Olumuyiwa Fashanu is worth trading up for, even in a deep class. Here's why:
He is a 6-foot-6 319-pound athletic freak who just happens to play one of the most physically demanding positions in professional football. Unlike many offensive linemen who are viewed as a prospect who can compete at left tackle, Olumuyiwa Fashanu is viewed as the prototype for the position, without hesitation, caveats, or qualifiers. He is an NFL left tackle.
Will he fall? Early grades have Notre Dame OT Joe Alt as the prize bull for the position. The next six offensive tackle prospects are nearly interchangeable on many draft boards. When that happens, the order of player selection can surprise many fans. Perhaps Georgia OT Amarius Mims connected with a team's scout or position coach better. Perhaps Oregon's Taliese Fuaga put up better test scores at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine? With a deep rookie class at the position, perhaps NFL team needs will compel them to seek other positions in Round 1.
The Rams have an outstanding young left guard in Steve Avila. Imagine lining him up next to an elite offensive tackle prospect in 2024 like Olumuyiwa Fashanu? The duo would be incredibly effective, not just on a play-by-play basis, but could form an impenetrable phalanx for the team in short yardage, red zone, and goal line scenarios.
The dividends of investing in an offensive line do pay off for years into the future. The Rams could use the addition of Fashanu to cross-train Alaric Jackson as a left or right guard, and perhaps move Steve Avila to center. Some believe that Avila is earmarked to become the Rams center in 2024, a rumor that he nimbly evaded in a recent interview. Fashanu may not only translate into upgrading the team at left tackle, but he could help the front office reform the entire offensive line configuration without breaking the bank to do so.