2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Daniel Faalele

2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Daniel Faalele

by April 1, 2022 0 comments

There are some serious physical freaks in this year’s NFL draft, but none top Minnesota’s Daniel Faalele. He comes in at a massive 6-foot-8, 385-pounds. Now, this also means that Faalele is extremely raw and extremely polarizing to grade. After an impressive Senior Bowl, ideas were floated around that maybe Faalele should kick inside to guard. Others think that he should stay at tackle because of his length. Here, we’ll give the full breakdown of all the questions regarding this mammoth of a football player. 

Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Draft Scouting Reports.

Player Bio

Name: Daniel Faalele
Jersey: No. 78
Position: Offensive Tackle
School: Minnesota
Class: Senior
Height: 6’8″
Weight: 385 lbs

Games Watched: Ohio State (2021), Maryland (2021), Miami OH (2021)

Major Injury History: None

Player Breakdown

Pass Blocking (11.5/15)

Faalele wins a good amount of his reps in pass sets. There are problems to his play here, which we’ll get into with the other traits, but he was surprisingly rather clean against the pass. Faalele dominated Ohio State’s Tyreke Smith, which was great because of the criticisms around Faalele and speed rushers. The big narrative was that those finesse, quick, edge rushers would dominate Faalele because he’s too slow. He’s had mixed results fighting this narrative, but the severity of it is very overrated. Faalele is still a raw pass rush, though impressive nonetheless, and has built an exciting foundation for himself early. 

Run Blocking (12.5/15)

The size makes Faalele an excellent candidate for a good run blocker, but he doesn’t necessarily blow you away. Faalele does all the basics pretty well, and he’s a more than serviceable linebacker. It was a little surprising that he doesn’t pack too much pop downhill, though he doesn’t have to be a true mauler. What Faalele needs to work on is being quicker in his processing. When slanting or pulling, Faalele must find his assignment in a quicker manner. He’s also gotten confused on who to block at the second level. Besides these negatives, Faalele has done well in the run game again, and the potential is there to translate to the next level. 

Length (14/15)

This one’s just obvious. The 6-foot-8 (and nearly 6-foot-9) frame allows Faalele to wall up with ease. His massive structure gets Faalele in proper position very early on in the rep. Faalele almost has a problem with too much length, but this is reflected more so in other traits. Overall, the size is why people will draft Faalele so high, and he knows how to use that size. 

Footwork (7.75/10)

Faalele takes off with a relatively wide shuffle, letting him set up his anchor and use all of that frame to cover up any angles for the pass rusher. Faalele’s feet can be slower to shift than most, though, and this is where that speed rusher narrative comes into play. He has gotten killed by some guys with better bend than others. Then, there are times when Faalele looks incredibly fleet-footed. The footwork consistency can, and should, get better, but for now, we set it at an average mark. 

Mechanics (7.5/10)

Mechanics are really interesting with Faalele. On a solid amount of reps, Faalele is able to get his hands right into the shoulder pads of the defender, but when he doesn’t, it can be trouble. With Faalele, it’s hard to go all the way around, so you have to knock him off balance, and that’s what happens when Faalele can’t get his hands on because he’s almost too tall. On other occasions, we’ve seen Faalele get stunned coming out of his stance, but the pieces are once again there to clean these issues up. 

Athleticism (7.5/10)

For whatever reason, Faalele did not compete in much testing this offseason. He did put up 24 reps on the bench press, a little lower than what you’d think he would, but not by all that much. On film, Faalele packs solid athleticism. His functional strength will not be an issue at the next level. What we’d like to see a little more of is quickness out in the open space. However, that is super challenging for someone who’s 385-pounds. Overall, even without the testing, athleticism will not hurt Faalele’s draft stock or play at the next level. 

Versatility (9/10)

In the intro, we discussed how rumors are swirling around what position Faalele will play in the NFL. The idea of putting a 6-foot-8 player at guard is insane, though it may just be where Faalele fits best. We saw almost all of Faalele’s most impressive reps come at guard during the Senior Bowl. He’s shown on tape he can play either position, and it wouldn’t hurt too much to keep Faalele on the inside while developing to play outside later in his career. 

Anchor (9/10)

Faalele’s anchor is most likely the best part of his game. Naturally, it’s almost impossible for anyone to move that much weight, so Faalele already has the upper hand there. When his footwork is at its best, you are not getting by Faalele. The few times he gets jumbled up, it’s possible to stun Faalele and knock him off balance, though anchor is a great strength of his overall. 

Control (3.5/5)

Control sort of plays into a lot of what we’ve talked about in terms of footwork and Faalele being at his best. There are situations where Faalele looks like he knows exactly what he’s doing, sets up his wall with ease, and knows where he wants to finish the play. There are others, especially against Ohio State, where Faalele finishes the defender way too close to the quarterback. While this may look nice on the highlight reels, lineman cannot be tossing defensive ends at their quarterback’s legs, no matter how beat they have them. Besides this, Faalele does well to control the play on most occasions. 

Player Summary

Faalele might be the most interesting player to evaluate. He is not as raw as initially thought, and those measurements are incredible. No one should be able to play with the size and technique that Faalele does, but he still pulls it off. Now, there are a good amount of weaknesses. Faalele should not be a Week 1 starter unless you play him at guard. When we look at the draft projection for Faalele, he can go almost anywhere in the second round and don’t even be surprised if he ends up going to a Cincinnati Bengals-type team in the back of the first. With the right development, Faalele can be one of the most physically imposing players in the NFL and have a very nice career. 

Rookie Projection: Developmental Guard/Tackle

Third-Year Projection: Starting Guard, Transitioning to Tackle

Player Grade (82/100): Late-Second Round Pick

Pro Comparison: Jordan Mailata

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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