SIX years ago, Daniel Faalele hadn’t even played football, and now he’s destined for the NFL.
The 22-year-old 6-foot-8 Australian offensive lineman is projected to enter the first round of the 2022 Draft after playing a breakout role for Minnesota in college.
And if selected, the 384-pound mountain man will overtake Jets star Mekhi Becton as the current heaviest player in the league.
Born in Melbourne in 1999, Faalele’s massive natural frame was ideal for dominating opponents in Australian rugby league.
He spent much of his childhood rampaging through school children on Victoria’s rugby pitches and basketball courts.
But a chance encounter with the University of Hawaii scouts would see Faalale make the dramatic switch to the playing field in 2016, a sport he had never played before.
With a scholarship to the IMG Academy in Florida, the teenage Faalele took to soccer naturally and helped his team to an undefeated season.
But playing an alien sport in a foreign country, he needed a little help from his teammates and EA Sports’ Madden video game.
Faalele revealed: “I didn’t know what a first try was or anything. I didn’t know the positions or what roles they played.
“It was a combination of watching movies and playing Madden with teammates at IMG, which helped me a lot.”
‘WHICH NFL TEAM DO YOU PLAY FOR?’
D1 college offers poured in, with the Aussie ultimately choosing Minnesota over Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan and LSU.
It’s easy to see why Faalele was discovered so early and why he stands out in the game we love.
Projected No. 1 pick Evan Neal faced Faalele when the Aussie was just 16 years old, and even then his jaw dropped at the teenager’s physique.
Neal explains, “I saw him on the field with the coaches and said, ‘What NFL team do you play for?’
“He is huge!”
Three successful seasons in Minnesota later and the NFL is no longer just a distant dream.
‘AS BIG AS A FU*** TRUCK!’
Faalale finished his time with the Golden Gophers in style, notching a 2-yard touchdown as his team beat West Virginia 18-6 in the 2021 Guaranteed Rate Bowl.
Since then, the colossal RT caused a stir at the Combine in Indianapolis, as officials and reporters came face to face with the new heavyweight in town.
He officially weighed in at 384 pounds (174.1 kg) and revealed that he had shown up at the university the year before at 426 pounds.
If drafted, he will become the second-heaviest player in NFL history behind former Cowboys and Texans 388-pound tackle Char-ron Doresey.
But weight alone isn’t everything, and Faalele appears to have the athletic talent to carve out a successful NFL career.
His 11″ hands and massive wingspan will be ideal for catching run-blocking targets, while NFL scouts noted his “relatively impressive quickness” at center.
Faalele is far from the finished product, but that’s what you’d expect from a player who had never stepped onto a football pitch six years ago.
A larger-than-life player both on and off the pitch, the Aussie is keen to learn on the job and hopes to be a great asset to any team in the future.
And he wants to be inspired by fellow Australian tackle Jordan Mailata, who currently plays for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Faalele said: “Just seeing how [Mailata] plays is motivating and his story is a similar story [to mine].
“I have been following him since he came into the league in 2018, and he has been progressing very well.
‘THE SKY IS THE LIMIT’
“We are both big, powerful, explosive.
“The sky is the limit for me. I feel like I definitely have a lot to show and I have a lot more room to grow.”
“I feel like that’s what’s exciting about me. I have a lot more potential to reach and I feel like that’s an advantage.”
Mailata agrees and expects big things from the 22-year-old after being impressed by the size of his fellow Australian.
And while he originally believed no one could compare to his build, the Eagles star was quickly convinced when he saw Faalele on tape.
He told The Athletic: “[Teammates were saying we were similar size] I said no, we’re not! Nobody is built like me!
“And then I saw a movie and I was like, ‘This son of a bitch was as big as a fucking truck!'”
The 2022 NFL Draft will take place in Las Vegas between Thursday, April 28 and Saturday, April 30.
We want to thank the author of this article for this remarkable material
Meet Daniel Faalele, a 6-foot-8 NFL draft prospect who tips the scales at 384 pounds and learned the rules of football from Madden in 2016 – Home