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How big is too big? Would Daniel Faalele fit in Cowboys OL plans?

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With the release of La’el Collins, the possibility of the Dallas Cowboys selecting an offensive tackle in the 2022 draft skyrocketed. The big question is whether or not they saw enough from Terrance Steele to move forward with him in a starting role.

Minnesota offensive tackle Daniel Faalele, a native of Melbourne, Australia, didn’t start playing football until he enrolled at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida in 2016. He didn’t see any real playing time until 2017 then became a 4-star recruit. He enrolled at the University of Minnesota in 2018 and immediately became a fixture. A mammoth of a man, he’s proven to be more than just a mountain in a uniform.

Measurables and Stats

Listed Height: 6-foot-8

Listed Weight: 384 pounds

Jersey Number: 78

Stats (2021): 13 games played

Stats (career): 34 games played

Film Study Information:

Games Watched: Penn State (2019), Ohio State (2021), Purdue (2021)

Best Game: Ohio State (2021)

Worst Game: Penn State (2019)

Physical Skills Evaluation:

Balance: Can get top heavy and get caught leaning against shiftier edge rushers. But overall stays balanced well for a man his size.

Hand Placement: Missed placement on speedier rushers, namely Micah Parsons. Hand placement as a whole is inconsistent, too often he strikes but doesn’t latch on, making it easy for the defender to disengage from him. Has more than a few moments of him establishing leverage, which is impressive for his size.

Power: Uses his immense size to overwhelm rushers. Has heavy hands and it is not uncommon to see him play with a nasty demeanor.

Movement Skills: Not a good athlete and it shows, ran a 2.04 10 yard split, which would be below the 0 percentile for offensive tackles. His 20-yard split was 3.25 which would be good for 3rd percentile. Struggles to get to an effective gear in space, clunky mover. Controlled in his movement, which is good for a 400 pounder.

Footwork/Foot Speed: Gets out of his stance and doesn’t cross his feet. Usually keeps his body over his legs and stays square. Able to get out of his stance quickly and effectively.

Performance Evaluation:

Pass Protection: Faalele is wildly inconsistent here and it stems from his hand placement, he is so erratic with its success, it greatly effects his overall pass protection. He has reps where he doesn’t seem all that interested in giving forth effort, then he will have one where he is an absolute bully to the defensive lineman. Has flashes of attacking the defensive ends arms and chopping them off his frame.

Football IQ: Still relatively new to football, so this can be sloppy at times. Struggles at times with counters and needs to adjust the angles of his pass sets. He has flashed growth which is a good sign considering how new he is to football.

Anchor: Due to his massive size, his anchor is questionable at best. He doesn’t really drop his hips, but he haven’t see it affect him thus far.

Flexibility: Saw him reach a 2i tech and be able to flip his hips and seal them off. Surprising giving his movement skills, but some flexibility is there.

Run Blocking: Has more than a few moments of lowering his head going into blocks. But it’s not a occurrence that pops up all the time. Shows promise of being a very good run blocker

Strengths:

Is a mountain of a man and it helps with his pass sets. Very difficult player to get around and stays square in his pass sets. Has surprising flexibility for a man his size, saw him reach a 2i technique and he was able to seal them off. Shows promise of being a successful run blocker, and his football IQ improved with the more he played.

Weaknesses:

Movement skills were less than desirable. Looked effective in very short distances but his testing in his 10-yard and 20-yard splits at the combine was very bad. Has lapses of leaning and lowering his head in the run game. His size works against him in his ability to anchor in. Penn State got him a number of times with this inability as you don’t see him drop his hips often. Still relatively new to football, so there is plenty of room for growth.

Fit with the Cowboys:

Faalele, if drafted by the Cowboys, would compete with Steele for the starting job at right tackle. He is still fairly new to football so there is an untapped ceiling to his game that could entice teams. He is square and balanced in his pass sets, showed ability to gain leverage and showed promise as a run blocker. There are things still to clean up, which is understandable. He lowered his head too often going into run blocks, and his anchor will need to develop.

Prospect Grade:

Pass Protection (15)

10

Anchor (10)

6

Balance (10)

9

Flexibility (10)

8.75

Hand Placement (10)

6

Run Blocking (10)

6.5

Power (10)

8.3

Movement Skills (10)

6

Football IQ (5)

3.5

Footwork/Foot Speed (10)

8

Final Grade:

72.05, 4th round player

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