2021 NFL Draft Prospect: Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota

BleedGopher

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per Talbot:
https://www.nfldraftdiamonds.com/2020/05/daniel-faalele/#
Daniel Faalele the Minnesota Gophers offensive tackle is one of the largest prospects I have ever watched film on
Minnesota Gophers offensive tackle Daniel Faalele is one of the biggest prospects I have ever watched on film. I was breaking down film on several players last season and I fell in love with this kid. Faalele played high school ball here in Florida at the IMG Academy.

When I say he is one of the biggest players I have ever covered, you have to look at his size. Faalele is 6090 and weighs 400 pounds. THAT IS A MONSTER, FOLKS! He would be one of the largest players to play the game in the NFL.

Faalele is from Melbourne, Australia and has only played football for a few years. Faalele’s transformation to football happened in Florida. Daniel has played both right and left tackle for the Gophers.

Faalele, started at left tackle for the last eight games of the 2018 regular season, has become a key member of a Minnesota team that’s made progress under second-year coach P.J. Fleck.

His Sophomore year, Faalele started all 11 games at right tackle, but missed two games with an injury. His team blocked for an offense that totaled 5,616 yards and threw for 3,293 yards which was a school record. They also scored 443 points which is the second most in Gophers history.


Go Gophers!!
 

BTChamp

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Man, I want nothing but the best for him. He has so much potential. I think about Refrigerator Perry and how athletic he was but wasn't really known as the athlete he truly was. He was more known for just being big. I hope Daniel gets to show he is more than just big.
 

MNVCGUY

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The fact that we have 3 underclassmen (Morgan, Bateman, Faalele) getting any sort of legit draft buzz is a true testament to Fleck's recruiting and his staff's eye for talent. And it is yet another reason to be very excited about the prospects for the future here.

The downside of course is potentially losing players early but if the staff is doing their job and building what we hope they are building, we should have quality players waiting in the wings ready for their opportunity when the time comes.
 

march madness

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The refrigerator got to lineup in the backfield and even scored 3 td's. Their were other huge men, but he was athletic. I am thinking Faalelle would have less injury concerns and move better if he could get down to 360.
 

GVLCGopherFan

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I hope (and think) he'll be a high draft pick. That's good news in more ways than one. It means he will have improved....it would also help line recruiting. It's exciting to see the higher rated skill players commit. That said, linemen are key. They can make average skill players good and good skill players exceptional.
 

Livingat45north

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How many football games has "Big Dan" played in his entire life? It's probably something like 30 to 35 games? He's the definition of upside potential.
 

WriterGoph

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The fact that we have 3 underclassmen (Morgan, Bateman, Faalele) getting any sort of legit draft buzz is a true testament to Fleck's recruiting and his staff's eye for talent. And it is yet another reason to be very excited about the prospects for the future here.

The downside of course is potentially losing players early but if the staff is doing their job and building what we hope they are building, we should have quality players waiting in the wings ready for their opportunity when the time comes.
Yep, this is the kind of problem our basketball program has been yearning to have: the ability to show kids you can be a consistent program to put them in the pros. The more guys drafted and the more young guys leaving to be high picks, the more it helps our recruiting for sure. It's definitely a destination programs strive for. Our fans just will have to evolve from our old mindset and embrace the new reality. :)
 

GopherinPhilly

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I don't see Morgan leaving early...he seems to love the experience.
 

LakevilleBro

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Daniel has received very little draft buzz, which is surprising.
 

UpAndUnder43

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The refrigerator got to lineup in the backfield and even scored 3 td's. Their were other huge men, but he was athletic. I am thinking Faalelle would have less injury concerns and move better if he could get down to 360.
I think if they wanted him closer to 360, they’d have him there
 

WriterGoph

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Thats fair. But he also isn’t that good
Between this and the Ibrahim thing, you're very bearish on us losing many guys early for the 2021 draft. Just an observation.

Another observation, you seem to be an intelligent person. Obviously you can see that Dan's situation is extremely unique due to his massive size and athleticism. He had offers from the best CFB programs in America before he had really even played an actual game of American football. That says something. What is says to me is that many very astute evaluators of talent and potential saw that they can mold him into something special due to his combination of traits.

So I think Dan will be treated like an NBA prospect more than most we see in the NFL Draft. He can be drafted almost solely on upside and the rare chance to have someone that big and athletic on your line for a decade. Even if he had to sit the 2020 season out or there was not a season, I'd say it's a virtual lock that a team would use at least a 3rd or 4th-round pick on him in the next draft. If he shows more development and progress, that can become a 1st-round grade. Really what it will come down to for him is how much he thinks he can improve his draft stock by coming back for a 4th year. But I'm sure plenty of pro staffs would argue that his chance to develop as even an NFL backup (getting NFL coaching and NFL S&C and NFL nutrition) would be higher than another year in college.

Bottom line: if he has a great year, that is likely a good sign for our team and program. I'm all for him leaving early if the opportunity is there for him because of that.
 

Nax5

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He's gotta work on his speed and reaction time. Then I think he could be truly great.
 

Veritas

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Daniel has received very little draft buzz, which is surprising.
He is not a flexiable player at all. My brother sat with a former D1 QB at the Northwestern game and he thought Daniel was very raw and very dependent on his superior size against the smaller, less explosive players of the Big Ten. So, a work in progress.
 

hungan1

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Didn't a fellow teammate rolled on his ankle?

I think he needs to weigh risking potential injury and declaring early slbeit lower draft pick vs staying an extra year and allow his body to mature and get more seasoning and coaching with a potential to be a high draft pick.

The difference in pay between AWJr in the 2nd round vs TJ in the 5th round is quite significant. Either way, it is good for Gopher Football to put many player into the NFL.
 

Livingat45north

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Didn't a fellow teammate rolled on his ankle?

I think he needs to weigh risking potential injury and declaring early slbeit lower draft pick vs staying an extra year and allow his body to mature and get more seasoning and coaching with a potential to be a high draft pick.

The difference in pay between AWJr in the 2nd round vs TJ in the 5th round is quite significant. Either way, it is good for Gopher Football to put many player into the NFL.
Make any NFL roster, and the difference between that pay and what you'll get with a "normal" job is quite significant. If we play next season (and I think we will, with or without students on the campus), IMO he'll declare early.
 

Lakeville Goldy

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Make any NFL roster, and the difference between that pay and what you'll get with a "normal" job is quite significant. If we play next season (and I think we will, with or without students on the campus), IMO he'll declare early.
True on the salary, but the key is the average player only plays 2-3 years or something like that. Plus you lose about 60% of your paycheck between taxes and your agent. And, if you aren't one of the top players, your second contract is usually a certain percentage above your first. In other words, that lower paycheck may follow you your entire career.

The problem I see with him coming out early is that NFL teams don't want to spend the time to develop players. They want to take someone and plug them in. Of course coaches work with players, and a player like Faalele will get more of an opportunity than most with his sheer size, but it's still a question of whether he would get much more work here and be able to significantly improve his skills thus improving his chances of a long, productive career.
 

Gold Rush

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I will stick to my prediction I made a year or two ago: Faalele will have a better career in the WWE than he will in the NFL. Just a hunch.....I have no inside info on this and haven't heard anyone else make this prediction yet.

But hoping he has a fine career here regardless of what he decides to do.
 

Otis

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I wonder what weight he could realistically get down to. The man is Samoan! 380 might be as svelte as he could get. As far as draft able OL Andries, Dunlap and Sullivan? graded out better with their technique most of the games and may be higher on the draft boards than Big Dan. It's a good problem to have, ask Wisconsin.
 

Gophergrandpa

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We will have two senior OL next year, too. Are Schleuter and Olson possible draftees? Schleuter has really improved and I heard somewhere that he came into spring camp in great shape. He could have a big year. Olson is a Swiss Army Knife on the line. Thoughts?
 

Lakeville Goldy

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We will have two senior OL next year, too. Are Schleuter and Olson possible draftees? Schleuter has really improved and I heard somewhere that he came into spring camp in great shape. He could have a big year. Olson is a Swiss Army Knife on the line. Thoughts?
I don't know enough about this sort of thing to know where they might stand, but considering two years ago Schleuter was considered a liability on the line but now is one of the stronger players is a pretty big testament to his development. If that type of improvement continues I'd certainly think he'd have a chance to get drafted.
 

BilldGopher

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Doing whatever made Coach yell at you over the PA at an open practice is not good.

Hopefully that was resolved.
 

LongTimeGopher

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Doing whatever made Coach yell at you over the PA at an open practice is not good.

Hopefully that was resolved.
Agree. Haven't heard much about this since that day and it was barely mentioned. My impression from what I read at the time was Coach Fleck wanted Daniel to suck it up and toughen up. Just get out there and play!! Of course I could be wrong.
 

Just Gopher It!!

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The fact that we have 3 underclassmen (Morgan, Bateman, Faalele) getting any sort of legit draft buzz is a true testament to Fleck's recruiting and his staff's eye for talent. And it is yet another reason to be very excited about the prospects for the future here.

The downside of course is potentially losing players early but if the staff is doing their job and building what we hope they are building, we should have quality players waiting in the wings ready for their opportunity when the time comes.
That's a signpost of a legit program to me.
 

fair

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I don't see Morgan leaving early...he seems to love the experience.
I'm in the same boat as you. I think the only way he goes is if PJ really pushes him to go. He just seems to live and breathe "Row the Boat". Plus, if he stays 4 years and continues to improve on his production last year and lead us to a B1G title or better, you'd have to think that would put him into serious Ring of Honor consideration.
 
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