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Mel Kiper’s first mock draft for 2024 NFL draft is out; Fashanu and Robinson projected in first round

Mock draft season continues to heat up as the NFL season marches closer to its ending, and this time it’s long-time ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr’s first crack at predicting how the 2024 draft will start. As has become the norm at Penn State over the past decade, several Nittany Lions are likely to hear their names called during draft weekend. Two, in particular, are mainstays in most first-round mocks, with offensive tackle Olu Fashanu and edge rusher Chop Robinson both having impressive careers at Penn State. Kiper’s mock was no different. 

Kiper linked Fashanu to the New York Jets at pick 10 in his mock, barely keeping him as a top-10 player. While that is more love than he got from Daniel Jeremiah in his mock, Kiper still had Fashanu behind Notre Dame’s Joe Alt (picked at 7th by the Tennessee Titans) as the second tackle selected. Alt is a great player in his own right and has more size and raw power than Fashanu. Still, the Penn State product would be a perfect fit as the blindside protector for an aging Aaron Rodgers thanks to his elite pass protection and athletic tools. 

“At 6-foot-6, 319 pounds, Fashanu has the physical traits and footwork of an elite lineman,” Kiper said in a write-up of Fashanu. “He could have been a first-rounder in last year’s draft if he had entered. He allowed one sack in 21 career starts for the Nittany Lions. He still hasn’t come close to reaching his ceiling.” 

Chop Robinson fell all the way to pick 26 meanwhile, ultimately being selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Robinson is a very raw player at this point in his career, but his age and elite physical tools are hard to pass up. With Shaquil Barrett getting older and former first-round pick Joe Tryon-Shoyinka failing to break out so far, Robinson could inject some youth and upside into their pass rush.  

Unlike Fashanu, Robinson has the potential to greatly impact his draft stock during the draft process. Pick 26 feels more like the floor for where he could go rather than his ceiling. If he blows up the NFL combine in Indianapolis or shows out at his pro day and in private workouts, the Nittany Lions could end up with two top-20 picks this year.

Story originally appeared on Nittany Lions Wire