2024 NFL mock draft: Rams land top offensive tackle at No. 5 overall

Left tackle has been a tricky position for the Los Angeles Rams the last two years. Joe Noteboom was signed to a three-year deal last offseason but he missed most of the 2022 season with a torn Achilles and is now in line to be a backup to Alaric Jackson, who’s entering the final year of his contract as a former undrafted free agent.

Unless Jackson really shines this season, the Rams could be looking for their third starting left tackle in three years next offseason. Enter Olumuyiwa Fashanu, the stud left tackle out of Penn State.

In Matt Miller’s latest mock draft for ESPN, he has the Rams selecting Fashanu with the fifth overall pick, making him the top tackle in the class. It’s a decision that would make a lot of sense, assuming Jackson doesn’t suddenly turn into a Pro Bowl-caliber left tackle for Los Angeles this year.

Andrew Whitworth retiring is among the chief reasons the Rams struggled last season, but a top-five selection would provide a chance to address the left side of the offensive line. An evaluator from an AFC team with over 10 years of NFL experience told me this is the deepest tackle group he can remember, and Fashanu is graded as OT1 right now, showing great mobility and quickness. A first-year starter in 2022, Fashanu allowed zero sacks and just two pressures.

Yes, the Rams could try to position for one of the top quarterbacks, but fixing the left tackle spot with Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp still having solid years ahead of them makes the most sense for a long-term team build.

Between injuries and struggles on the field, Noteboom no longer looks like the Rams’ current or future left tackle. Los Angeles isn’t giving up on him just yet, but the outlook isn’t great on the former TCU product.

Fashanu would give the Rams a young tackle to build around, as well as a player who’s under contract for the next five years. For a guy who plays a premium position, that could be huge as Los Angeles rebuilds its offensive line.

Story originally appeared on Rams Wire