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This Australian NFL prospect is nearly 180kg of raw talent

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“My main pitch is I just tell them that I’m a great teammate, coachable, like a sponge,” he said, according to the Star-Tribune of Minneapolis. “I love learning more about football and being a good teammate.”

In his scouting report for NFL.com, Lance Zierlein wrote that it often seems as if Faalele is “going through an internal checklist of movements rather than cutting it loose and playing”. In the NFL, he’ll need more than sheer size and the key to his success, Zierlein noted, “will be directly tied to how teams accentuate his strengths and mask his weaknesses with coaching and scheme”.

Faalele is from Melbourne and knew very little about American football when he first made the switch.Credit:AP

ESPN’s Todd McShay and Mel Kiper have Faalele landing with the Los Angeles Chargers with the 79th overall pick. McShay’s take? “A 6-foot-8, 384-pounder at right tackle opposite Rashawn Slater? In the third round? The Chargers would be pumped for this outcome, even if Faalele takes a bit of time to develop into a regular starter.”

Offensive lineman Blaise Andries, his Minnesota teammate and also a likely draft pick, told the Star-Tribune that Faalele makes his life easier on the field, something many teams may consider as they evaluate his upside.

“My favourite one [story] I tell [NFL personnel] is double-teams [with Faalele] work like a hot knife through butter. It makes it easier on the guard, especially when you have a big man that can move some bodies. … They asked if I’d play next to him again. I said, ‘In a heartbeat.’”

Faalele told the Associated Press that “the sky’s the limit for me. I just need more coaching and I feel like going to the next level I’m excited to see how far I can go.”

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Orlando Brown, the late offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns, is an inspiration for Faalele, as is Jordan Mailata, the Philadelphia Eagles’ offensive lineman who is a former professional rugby player and an Australian native of Samoan heritage. Mailata was drafted by the Eagles in 2018 despite having no football experience.

Slimming down – a bit – is a priority for Faalele, who weighed 426 pounds (193kg) when he arrived at Minnesota but has lost weight every year since enrolling. His target is 375 (170kg) by the start of training camp.

“I feel like I definitely have a lot to show and I have room to grow,” Faalele said. “I feel like that’s the exciting thing about me. I have a lot more potential to reach.”

The Washington Post

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