Daniel Faalele has joined John Harbaugh’s Baltimore Ravens and become the latest Australian to make it to the NFL.
The 22-year-old is now in the big time. Taken in the fourth round with the 110th pick by the Baltimore Ravens, the offensive tackle played his college football for Minnesota and was a member of the IMG Academy, a private boarding school in Bradenton, Florida.
The 22-year-old joins other Aussies in Cameron Johnston (Texans), Adam Gotsis (Jaguars), Jordan Mailata and Arryn Siposs (Eagles), Jordan Berry (Steelers), Mitch Wishnowsky (49ers), and Michael Dickson (Seahawks) in the NFL.
Faalele honed his skills at the IMG Academy before going and trying his hand at football with Minnesota.
Born in Melbourne, Faalele played rugby and basketball during his younger years. It was not until he was noticed by a member of the University of Hawaii’s coaching staff during a scouting trip that he became known.
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Standing at an impressive 6’9” and weighing the best part of 400 lbs, the 22-year-old is a serious mover on the football field. His size, quickness, and ability to create substantial running lanes while also protecting his quarterback are a feature of his game.
When asked about the franchise’s fourth-round pick, Ravens’ General Manager, Eric DeCosta, had nothing but glowing words for Taalele.
“He was a guy I first noticed on 2019 tape”, DeCosta said.
“The first thing you notice is size, but then you are struck by how well he moves for that size. Then it’s just consistently knocking people off the ball.”
Faalele could see game time early on
The Ravens are a run-first team with the likes of Lamar Jackson running over opposing defenses for fun. Faalele could use the 2022 season to get his feet underneath him in the Baltimore offense and become a bit-part player in his rookie season.
With Ronnie Stanley being placed on injured reserve after a season-ending ankle injury last season, it is unknown if he will be ready to go come Week 1. That could be a chance for Faalele to make an immediate impact.
Faalele gives the Ravens some much-needed depth along the offensive line. He could start at right tackle in the not-so-distant future. With the Ravens’ love of running the football, the Melbourne-born tackle could see game time regularly if he makes the final roster.
His strength and ability to cover the ground are incredible given his size; he could become the dominant player to open up running lanes for Lamar Jackson, J.K. Dobbins, and Gus Edwards.
Faalele played ten games and started the last eight at right tackle as a true freshman. He then played 11 games as a sophomore the following season and received an honorable mention for the All-Big Ten.
During his last college game for Minnesota, the 22-year-old scored a touchdown. A brutal two-yard run against West Virginia in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl.
Another Australian has made his way into the most prominent sporting league on the planet. Faalele is undoubtedly destined to play some part in the Baltimore Ravens’ plans for the 2022 NFL season.
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