Minnesota Gophers left tackle, Daniel Faalele hasn’t been seen on the Minnesota campus since COVID struck and sports were temporarily put on hold. He opted out of the 2020 season and hasn’t worked out with the team in at least 6+ months.
Because of that, some Gopher football fans are wondering what Daniel’s future holds and whether or not any of it will unfold on the University of Minnesota campus. Interested parties for the Australian LT go far beyond the college ranks.
In just one Google search, I found THREE different publications who, in the last week, have noted Daniel Faalele as an interesting 2nd-4th round 2021 NFL Draft prospect.
Daniel Faalele + NFL Draft Articles (This week)
That means that mid-round tackle prospects like Jackson Carman of Clemson or Daniel Faalele of Minnesota should be given a good look, assuming they address a potential Brown departure in free agency should that come to fruition.RaiderMaven.com (SI)
If the Colts wanted to wait until the second round of the draft, Faalele may be their choice to target. This is a possibility because there is also a chance the Colts try to draft a quarterback in Round 1. If that’s the case, the new left tackle will have to wait at least one more round. Faalele has the size that will intrigue teams and when combining his movement skills, he has a high ceiling to be an anchor on the left side of the line.ColtsWire.com (USA Today)
As the biggest player in the 2021 draft, Daniel Faalele stands in at an imposing 6-foot-9 and weighs a whopping 400 pounds. That size shows up on tape, as he has tremendous grip strength at the point of attack and has the power in his anchor needed to neutralize a power rush. His massive wingspan makes it easier for him to lock out edge rushers, and he does a good job of sealing off lanes in the run game. He’s also a good athlete for his size, as he has pretty solid acceleration climbing to the second level and has sufficient lateral agility.WindyCityGridiron.com (SB Nation)
Draft profiles don’t get better than Faalele’s
The infatuation with Daniel Faalele starts with his size and athletic ability. He’s 6’9″, 400 pounds and scouts compare his light feet to that of Fred Flintstone.
Faalele hails from Australia, where rugby was his sport of choice. He hasn’t even played five years of American football, in his life. NFL coaches and scouts see him as a massive piece of clay that could mold into an OL anchor.
But, not so fast…
With all of these NFL Draft projections, one can’t help but wonder if Faalele is already good as gone. But, not so fast. According to Ryan Burns of *GopherIllustrated.com, Daniel is still expected back on campus, enrolled in classes and playing football for PJ Fleck once his teammates and coaches are vaccinated.
This would be a massive win for PJ Fleck and the Minnesota Gophers next season. Hopefully Daniel Faalele has been staying in the best shape possible, while away.
There isn’t a Gopher football reporter more plugged in than Ryan Burns. He doesn’t throw statements like this around lightly, either. If Burns is being told that Faalele is (for now) expected to return, then that’s what I’m going with.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan
*GopherIllustrated.com (247Sports) is a paid subscription site. It has more inside University of Minnesota Gophers sports information flowing within its paywalls than anywhere on the internet.
Tid-bits like these are available on the regular, especially if you follow their “Gopher Report” boards closely. I have no stake or friends in 247Sports or GI. I just think their content is outstanding.