Hulking Daniel Faalele Embraces Comparisons to Orlando Brown Jr.

Minnesota offensive lineman Daniel Faalele (15) during the bench press event at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Friday, March 4, 2022.

At 6-foot-8, 384 pounds, it's not difficult for Daniel Faalele to make a huge impression.

Faalele is the heaviest player in the modern history of the NFL Scouting Combine, according to the NFL Research database. That's a lot lighter than Faalele was when he enrolled at Minnesota, tipping the scales at 426 pounds.

The Minnesota offensive tackle is bigger than Orlando Brown Jr., the former Ravens Pro Bowl tackle who is now with the Kansas City Chiefs. When comparisons between the gargantuan tackles were made last week at the NFL Scouting Combine, Faalele didn't mind. In fact, Faalele has been studying Brown's game.

"I like watching Orlando Brown and how he uses his strength to his advantage and how he uses his length and plays big," Faalale said. "He's also smart and takes good angles."

Faalele is viewed as a potential starting NFL tackle with loads of upside, but it's going to take plenty of work to become a Pro Bowl player like Brown. Faalele is viewed as a potential starting right tackle in the NFL, and in his latest mock draft aft the Combine, Dane Brugler predicted the Ravens will take him in the second round with the 45th-overall pick.

The Ravens are definitely in the market for offensive tackles, and Faalele's size would fit their preference for big offensive lineman who can move people off the line of scrimmage. Baltimore's starting right tackle for next season has yet to be determined, and acquiring a young swing tackle in the draft could be valuable with All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley coming off his latest ankle surgery.

Faalele has already made a rapid rise after a late start in football. He didn't start playing until his junior year of high school when he moved to Florida from his native Australia. He was so unfamiliar with the rules of football, he spent his first year learning from the bench and didn't play a snap.

But once Faalele got on the field, his size helped accelerate his learning curve. Some pass rushers in college simply became frustrated trying to get around the brick wall that Faalele's body presents.

Faalele believes he'll make another leap as a player once he reaches the NFL and focuses even more on perfecting his technique.

"The biggest challenge is always pad level," Faalele said. "I can always get lower. That's something I've worked on throughout my career."

Faalele had an impressive week at the Senior Bowl, but he didn't participate in any of the Combine's on-field drills, electing to wait until his Pro Day. He lifted 225 pounds 24 times in the bench press at the Combine, a decent showing but not nearly as impressive as Central Michigan offensive tackle Bernhard Raimann (30 reps).

Faalele hopes to blow people away with his Pro Day workout, and even if he doesn't, he can take solace from Brown's draft experience. He became a Pro Bowl player after a miserable Combine performance in 2018 caused him to plummet into the third round. Brown still gives grief to people who dissed him after his Combine performances.

Faalale knows the Ravens and other teams shopping for tackles are watching him closely, and he plans to capitalize wherever he plays next season.

"I love being a sponge and seeing how much more I can grow," Faalele said. "I feel like the sky's the limit for me. I'm excited to see how far I can go."

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