It’s not often that a rookie comes into the NFL as the biggest player on the field, but not many players come bigger than the two-metre tall, 174 kilogram Daniel Faalele. The 22-year-old was selected in the fourth round of this year’s NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens and has shined after a string of injuries thrust him into a starting role.
Faalele entered the season buried behind several veterans on the Ravens depth chart. He was expected to spend his rookie year developing with limited playing time, but the Ravens injury woes have forced Faalele into an earlier than expected important role. After Ravens Left Tackle Patrick Mekari went down with an ankle injury in the first quarter of Baltimore’s 37-26 win over the New England Patriots, the Ravens turned to the fourth man on their injury riddled depth chart and Faalele stepped up to the challenge.
The man whose size makes him impossible to miss struggled early in the game. Quickly allowing two sacks, he looked like he was in for a long day. Faalele found his footing as the game went on. He consistently protected Quarterback Lamar Jackson and showcased his athleticism, creating space for Jackson to score the game sealing touchdown.
“Shout out to Faalele because he stepped up major,” said Jackson, impressed by Faalele’s rapid adjustment to the game. “He’s a rookie, so I knew a rough start was going to happen. But I guess one sack happened, and after that he just started dominating like he did in college.”
Faalele was positioned on the opposite side of the offensive line in college, playing exclusively at Right Tackle. Faalele quickly adapted to the unfamiliar position of Left Tackle, and his Quarterback took notice. “He was just getting used to the game, he wasn’t expecting to just have to get in there and play Left Tackle for someone else,” said Jackson. “He got in and started executing, he got his feet wet got out there and started doing what he was doing.”
Faalele previously told 9’s Wide World of Sports what it was like protecting one of the league top Quarterback’s, “Lamar’s a lowkey dude, he’s great to be around – he’s funny as well. But just having him on the field at quarterback is something special, I can’t even explain it. He makes stuff happen that you never see,” he said.
Faalele was born in Melbourne and grew up playing rugby and basketball in his childhood. He didn’t play American football until he was discovered and recruited by college scouts as a teenager. After four years at the University of Minnesota, his impressive college career earned him a spot in the NFL.
At 6’9, 380 pounds, Daniel Faalele is the largest man to score a TD in CFB history pic.twitter.com/uxByEAOONb— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) December 29, 2021
At 174kg, Faalele is the heaviest player in the NFL. He’s also the heaviest player to score a touchdown in college football history. The Melbourne-born star pumped out 24 reps of 100kg in the bench press drill at the NFL combine this year. His impressive strength and hulking stature were enough to convince scouts that he had a future in the NFL.
Faalele is expected to retain his starting spot as the Ravens injury woes continue. A massive undertaking for a player widely expected to be given time to develop before growing into a larger role.