A figure out of a fairytale, the herculean human being that is Daniel Faalele is really an attribute to the evolution of the modern-day athlete. Bigger, faster, stronger—it’s what we’ve all heard growing up in sports, and the same pertains to the atmosphere of the NFL Draft and evaluation process within the NFL’s 32 clubs.
While he isn’t hard to find in a crowd or difficult to spot when you flip on the film, a prospect once looked at as a sure-fire late-day-one pick has seen his stock slip after a substandard Senior Bowl and underwhelming pre-draft circuit. However, in what has become an overwhelmingly pass-happy league, the need for cornerstones at tackle—as both starters and as depth pieces—has become a primary need for teams as defenses counter with quicker, more versatile front sevens.
Here are a few teams on Day 2 that could pull the trigger on Daniel Faalele.
Daniel Faalele 4 Best NFL Fits
It’s full steam ahead with Justin Fields at quarterback, and with newly minted tandem Ryan Poles (GM) and Matt Eberflus (HC) in place, it would be wise to make an investment in keeping their young signal-caller upright to optimize his performance ceiling.
With Teven Jenkins expected to start as Fields’ blindside protectant—although the prior regime selected Larry Borom in the fifth round last spring—an upgrade is needed on the right side. Faalele working opposite the road-grader in Jenkins could provide a sense of identity along the front five. Facing those two tackles when winter sets in early in Chicago could present a real-life example of two ‘Monsters of the Midway.’
Entering full rebuild mode with Russell Wilson now in Bronco Orange, the Seahawks’ foundation on offense is a shaky base to build upon at best. Jake Curhan and Greg Eiland are slated to start in Week 1, and the team is limited with depth with 2021 day-three selection Stone Forsythe representing the only other tackle under contract.
Yes, you read that right, Seattle has only three offensive tackles on the roster. So, you can see why Faalele could provide a massive amount of pop whether head coach Pete Carroll sees him as a left or right tackle. Fresh legs are needed in abundance up front, and while little is expected from Seattle within a loaded NFC West, the former Golden Gopher could provide a starting point to kick off their journey back to relevance.
Similar to the bridge year Indianapolis enjoyed with both Philip Rivers and Carson Wentz, who knows if Matt Ryan can extend his playing career past this fall. However, in what is expected to remain a top-heavy race for the AFC South crown between the Colts and Tennessee Titans, the onus to keep Ryan upright while clearing alleyways for standout ball-carrier Jonathan Taylor remains a must.
Enter Faalele, who could make the quick trip south from Minnesota and immediately provide a serviceable option at left tackle and challenge Matt Pryor for snaps.
New Orleans Saints
Whether the team opts to keep Ryan Ramzyck at right tackle remains to be seen, but with Terron Armstead now gone, I don’t envision head coach Dennis Allen rolling with James Hurst to man the left side of the line. While the transition from one side of the line is much more difficult than you think (see Penei Sewell last year) working at left tackle from the start of rookie camp, into OTAs, and toward training camp should allow Faalele to adjust to his new surroundings with open air now to his left shoulder.
The more snaps he gets, the better, and smoother he will be, and while Faalele has left boxes unchecked throughout the evaluation process, his performance ceiling if all comes to fruition remains one of the highest of talents expected to come off the board on Day 2.
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