There are plenty of prospects who don’t meet the thresholds regarding size in the NFL. In the draft, multiple centers are a bit undersized but make up for it with their experience, technique, and football IQ. Drew Dalman is another player that fits this mold. Dalman is another player in a long line of players this year who have family ties to the NFL. His father, Chris Dalman, also played in the big leagues for the 49ers for seven seasons. Now, another son of a former player is set to have his name called next weekend.
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Name: Drew Dalman
Position: Interior Offensive Line
Weight: 299 lbs
Pass Blocking (8/10)
Dalman is a solid pass protector. He can shuck off his first man in a double-team and move over to help another fellow offensive linemen. He can diagnose stunts and blitzes well as well.
Run Blocking (8/10)
Dalman is a slight bit better in this regard than his pass protection. He does well at working his way to the second level and taking on a linebacker. Dalman may seem to get ahead of himself a bit as he lets go of his first man before they’re out of the play.
He is a very good athlete. He scored a 9.9 for his RAS score and posted elite scores in terms of his three-cone and shuttle times. Dalman posted a 1.74 in his 10-yard split, and it shows up on tape. He worked his way to the second level and was used as a pulling center as well.
Dalman gets blown off the line of scrimmage by more powerful defensive tackles. Upon the first impact, he immediately loses balance and has to recover quickly, and it already has put stress on the quarterback. Dalman didn’t account for any pressures or sacks during the 2020 season, but it could have been worse had he not had as refined of a technique as he has.
He put up 33 reps on the bench press at his pro day. He seems to get overworked by more powerful defenders.
Dalman rarely gets his hands outside of the chest area of the defender. Even when he is in a bad position, he does his best to move the defender out of the way of the ball carrier’s path.
Dalman has spent time at both guard and center, with most of his experience coming at center. He only started two games at guard during his sophomore season. He projects as a center only at the next level.
Football IQ (8.75/10)
Dalman has a great understanding of defensive fronts and identifying where defenders that are blitzing are coming from. His IQ is one of the best traits of his game, and it is easy to say why. He is an experienced lineman and knows when to help out his other linemen.
Due to his limited play strength and measurables, Dalman gets worked over at the line of scrimmage. In the NFL, it will be a lot worse if he can’t manage to add some additional strength.
Competitive Toughness (5/5)
His toughness shows when he goes against defenders that have him outweighed by about 40 pounds. Dalman is a physical competitor despite the mismatch in size and makes up for it with his technique.
Dalman’s injury history appears to be clean.
Dalman is an intriguing option late on day two or day three as a potential starting option at center. His athleticism, IQ, and technique far outweigh his concerns with his power and slight versatility concerns. In a pinch, he can play some guard, but he is far better as a center. Dalman’s best fit is in a zone running scheme that relies on him getting out into space to use his best traits.
Final Grade (76.5/100): Early Fourth Round