Aussie 175kg man mountain Daniel Faalele explains why his lack of gridiron experience is an ADVANTAGE as he joins one of the NFL’s best teams – and he’s already got an American accent after just a few years in the US
- Faalele was taken in the fourth round of the NFL draft by the Baltimore Ravens
- Ravens are known for selecting huge athletes and getting them to excel
- The 22-year-old is very new to the game but believes that can be a positive
Melbourne-born man mountain Daniel Faalele realised his dream last weekend when he was drafted into the NFL by the Baltimore Ravens – and now he has revealed he couldn’t have hoped for a better team to join.
The 22-year-old is one of the heaviest players in the sport’s history, and while he showed great promise in college football with the University of Minnesota, he’s still incredibly raw because he only started playing the sport in 2017.
And that’s exactly why he’s so excited about getting a start with Baltimore.
The Aussie has often been compared to another giant who plays the offensive tackle position, Orlando Brown Junior, who struggled with his speed, weight and footwork just before being drafted, but excelled in his time with the Ravens.
Faalele is so immense at 175kg and standing 203cm that some experts are concerned he’s too big to forge a career in the NFL, pointing to his lack of mobility and rough technique – but his new team see only positives.
Some experts worried that Faalele could be too big for the NFL at 175kg and 203cm tall – but he’s landed with a team that loves drafting huge players and has a proven track record of getting them to excel
‘When I had my [pre-draft] visit with the Ravens I had a really good feeling,’ Faalele revealed on Baltimore’s YouTube channel.
‘Coach D [Ravens offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris] is an awesome coach, we had a great meeting. He talked about coaching Orlando Brown before.
‘He just gave me confidence that I’d be in good hands and I had that confidence that we would be a good fit.’
Asked about comparisons to Brown, Faalele said he wants to follow in his predecessor’s footsteps.
The non-gentle giant – seen here finding out he’d been drafted by Baltimore – as already picked up an American accent despite spending the first 16 years of his life in Australia
Being far behind his teammates in terms of experience can actually be an advantage, says Faafele (pictured playing college football for the University of Minnesota)
Faalele didn’t star at the NFL Combine, which is used as a big test of prospects before the draft. But so a player he is often compared to, Orlando Brown Jr, also failed to impress – but went on to excel with the Baltimore Ravens
‘One day I’d like to play like him, his football intelligence is really good and he uses his strengths to his advantage.
‘I feel like coach D has helped him develop those things and I’m in good hands.’
Faalele played rugby union as a youngster in Australia, then had a stint in basketball before getting his first taste of gridiron at 16 – an age when almost all of his NFL teammates have been playing for around 10 years.
However, he sees his lack of experience as a positive because he’s a relatively blank slate for the sport’s top minds to work with.
‘It can be an advantage just because I don’t have as many coaches in my career, so I don’t have as many bad habits, and whatever I’m taught from here on is what I know.’
One of the more surprising things about Faalele’s interview – at least for Australians – is how quickly he’s picked up the American accent.
If you didn’t know he hailed from Melbourne and spent the first 16 years of his life Down Under, you’d assume he was born and bred Stateside.