Minnesota Golden Gophers offensive tackle, Daniel Faalele is anything but usual. He could be a mid to late-round pick that Jeff Stoutland could mold. Minnesota is not known for producing NFL linemen but things aren’t usual. His size, inexperience, and journey could make him a great match with the city of brotherly love.
Biggest Man in the Draft
It will be 20 years since Matt Anderle was drafted in the sixth round. He was the last Minnesota OT drafted to the NFL. At 6’8″ and 387 pounds, makes him the biggest player in this 2022 NFL Draft class. Faalele has slimmed down, tipping the scales at 400 pounds at one point in his college career. Being this ginormous has its advantages as an offensive tackle. Pass rushers simply cannot run through him. Faalele is also too big for most pass rushers to merely run around. His arms measured in at 35 3/8″ at the Senior Bowl. His wingspan is in excess of 86 inches.
He puts his length to good use to walk pass rushers around the outside track and past the quarterback. The Minnesota OT also routinely locks his long arms to keep defensive linemen from getting their hands to his chest. That is a huge technique for a big man to have at this level. Faalele does an excellent job of using his inside arm to feel for interior pressure while keeping his eyes focused on his target.
With immense size comes incredible strength. Faalele demonstrates an impressive anchor with his lower body strength and wide base. He uses this strength to move people up the field or onto the floor as a run blocker. His competitive toughness is glaringly apparent. Watching him put a man on the ground is almost magical.
The Minnesota OT has a potent punch. He routinely knocked defensive linemen and pass-rushing linebackers back at the point of attack with a single strike. He also has an impressively firm grasp when he gets his hand placement right.
For a man of Faalele’s size, the most significant question mark is usually athleticism. Like I said earlier Daniel Faalele is not usual. He won’t beat anyone in a foot race but has impressive lateral agility for his size. He can get quickly into pass sets and shows some explosiveness at the point of attack. The big man can make his way out to the second level in the run game with smoothness.
There are areas for improvement. Only his fourth entire season of competitive football at any level, Faalele’s lack of relative experience could impact his ability to be an instant-impact offensive lineman. He has some footwork issues, resulting in him becoming unbalanced. He does get beaten because of it at times. Potentially due to his mammoth size, the Minnesota OT is sometimes guilty of bending at the waist rather than the knees.
Eagles Draft Potential
With size, strength, decent relative athleticism, competitive toughness, and some impressive technical ability, as well as his relative inexperience could make Daniel Faalele an alluring project for any NFL team. Could Daniel Faalele be a right tackle project to back up Lane Johnson? Time and the draft would tell.
Al is one of the two co-creators of Edge of Philly Sports. Al started radio and podcasting in 2012 and covering sports in 2015. A lifelong Philly sports fan since watching the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, and Flyers with his grandfathers at age 7. Al always looks at the other side of the hot topics and gives his different outlook on those topics. Web and Graphic Design.