Good morning, Broncos Country!
The NFL Draft is two weeks away, so if you’re like me (and not Joe Rowles or Scotty Payne) it’s time to finally start learning the names of some of the college guys who could be Broncos by May.
Of course, without a first-round pick it’s harder to get uber-attached to a top-10 player at his position (that we would inevitably have to watch crush our souls and get drafted to another team anyway).
But I have come to love Draft Weekend regardless. I’m not sure if my favorite part is the adrenaline rush of the Broncos trading up (or down even) and changing all expectations of which player might be coming, or my inevitable transformation from “who is this player?” to “this player is amazing” just because John Elway told us he has a lot of “upside.”
So in my super deep draft research dive, the first order of business is mock drafts - which are ridiculously inaccurate but still fun. As The Athletic’s senior draft analyst Dane Brugler says, “Mock drafts represent hope.”
True, but as a cynic, I prefer Deadspin’s definition: “Typically, it’s a prediction for what every team might do with its draft selection, with most of the emphasis zeroing in on the first round. Unless it’s an informed guess at what each team might do based on intel sourced from someone close enough to know. Unless it’s a stab at what teams should do. Unless it’s ... just some wild-ass shit plucked straight out of thin air.”
Sounds about right. Especially if you read Todd McShay’s latest mock draft for ESPN. The one where he chose a 390-pound offensive lineman out of Minnesota for the Broncos - Daniel Faalele:
“To cap off the second round, how about a 6-foot-8, 384-pound offensive tackle? Russell Wilson dealt with protection issues in Seattle, but it’s a long way around Faalele for pass-rushers.”
That’s a fun little prediction there, Todd, but it’s not all that revealing about Faalele’s talent. So that brings me to my second level of a super deep draft research dive - consult Dane Brugler’s “The Beast: Draft Guide 2022.”
And as expected for a Day 2 prospect, Faalele has a lot to offer (pun intended):
“Humongous natural frame with rare build thickness and measurements (9 1/2-inch wrists, the largest at the combine) ... uses his upper-body power and massive hands to knock back defenders at the point of attack ... generates steady movement in the run game ... displays the reach and grip strength to latch, snatch or put his target on lockdown before they can get to him ... naturally stout and shows very little give versus bull rushers ... moves with surprising balance and footwork for a player his size ... excellent initial quickness to set up and stay well timed through the rep ... naturally wide; it takes a $20 Uber ride to get around him.”
But still some deficits to make up:
“Wide rush speed will stress his lateral range ... has a soft inside shoulder and is susceptible to rushers crossing his face ... still a novice in his ability to sort through blitzers, stunts and late pressures. ...”
All in all, Brugler likes Faalele as a future NFL tackle:
“A three-year starter at Minnesota,... Faalele engulfs edge rushers with his wide frame and uses his anvil hands and natural power to overwhelm his man at the point of attack. ...Overall, Faalele has ... a unique package of size, play strength and fluid movements. He should compete for an NFL starting right tackle job during his rookie season.”
So in my final research step, I plug the draftee’s name into one of a dozen mock draft simulators...because why not?
Here’s how Pro Football Focus evaluated this mock pick at No. 64 ...
A solid D+, lol.
Daniel Faalele's name has lost some buzz in the draft community, but he's poised to be a major player for an OT-needy team.@_RyanFowler_ breaks down the 4 best landing spots for Faalele in the 2022 NFL Draft.#FrontOffice33 | #NFLDrafthttps://t.co/Mt1i9geM27— The Draft Network (@TheDraftNetwork) April 7, 2022
So what do you think, Broncos Country?
Given that George Paton seems to be highly interested in offensive tackles, it’s likely Faalele is on his radar. Whether Paton has any intention of giving the former Gopher a serious look is anyone’s guess.
Do you like the idea of Daniel Faalele as the Broncos’ first pick in the draft at No. 64?
This poll is closed
Not crazy about it but I like the ideal of a right tackle.
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