Minnesota Golden Gophers
Faalele is an extremely big and strong offensive tackle who should be able to add value to any team as a swing tackle with some starting potential.
As one could expect because of his sheer size, Faalele is a powerful man who can forcefully move defenders at the line of scrimmage. He has impressive vertical and lateral movement as a run blocker to block in a north/south manner or pull laterally. Flashes good pop in his hands at the point of attack. He has the type of power to throw guys off him literally. The Minnesota lineman has enough length to sufficiently protect the edge, even when his footwork may let him down. Consistently shows good timing of the snap. He utilizes good leg drive on his run blocking reps. Overall, Faalele shows good athleticism for a player of his size. Extremely good in run blocking because of his strength and ability to overpower people.
As he is blocking, he can become fairly unbalanced when he is on the front foot. His weight can take him forward, causing him to whiff or shift too much of his weight in front of his center of gravity. Faalele has a slow get-off in pass protection. His following shuffle is also fairly slow and stagnant, making his overall mobility down the arch of the pocket limited. Fairly weak hands that led to edge defenders being able to stack and shed off of blocks with relative ease. It’s hard for him to mirror pass rush moves because of his big frame and slow feet. When he comes up against powerful edge rushers, his chest and imbalance can be exposed heavily. He struggles at times to regain control of his feet and put an anchor down in the ground. Also struggles to pick up late rushers from the second level. He is susceptible to quick, bendy edge rushers who can drop their shoulder and explode past him in pass protection.
Originally from Australia, Daniel Faalele is still relatively new to the sport. He has incredible size and experience, playing right tackle for three seasons at Minnesota, outside of sitting out the 2020 season. Because of his size, he will pass the length check with flying colors. He offers very good power at the point of attack in the run game. As a pass blocker, he has good timing of the snap and the length to regularly keep the pocket clean. Looking at his size from a negative standpoint, he has heavy feet in pass protection that makes it hard for him to mirror pass rushers. His overall balance remains a huge concern given his size, so unless he can shed a good amount of weight to gain more body control, his projection makes it tough when he will be going against better athletes in the NFL.
Daniel Faalele attended IMG Academy in Florida where he helped lead them to an undefeated season in 2017, which was his first season of playing competitive football. After high school, 247Sports ranked him as a 4-Star recruit, the 295th-best recruit nationally, the 19th-ranked offensive tackle recruit in the country and the 52nd recruit in the state of Florida.
Faalele committed to Minnesota and as a freshman in 2018, he appeared in 10 games and started the final eight at right tackle and won Outstanding Offensive Freshman. In 2019, Faalele started 10 games and missed two games due to injury. In 2020, Faalele sat out the season due to COVID-19. In 2021, Faalele got back to starting at right tackle and put together a strong year. He was named All-Big Ten First Team by the coaches, All-Big Ten Third Team by the media, Associated Press All-Big Ten Second Team and Academic All-Big Ten.
Faalele was born in Australia where he played basketball and rugby before being recruited for football. His size is an obvious attraction and his physical mentality backed up the eye-test, “They would try (to tackle me), but I would usually break the tackle or just drag them with me.” IMG Academy coach, Kevin Wright, praised Faalele’s unique athleticism for his size, “He is nearly 400 pounds, and yet he has a low body-fat percentage. His explosiveness tested off the charts, and his footwork is impressive, probably because of his basketball and rugby training.”
Current Player Value/Potential Player Value
7.4 / 8.0
Floor/Ceiling: Swing Tackle / Spot Starter
Scheme Fit: Run-Heavy Zone Blocking
Grade: Early 4th Round
Injury History: Missed two games in 2019 due to a right knee injury.
Character Notes: N/A
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