New England Patriots Rumors: Daniel Faalele could solve LT struggles

Daniel Faalele #78 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
Daniel Faalele #78 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots should select Minnesota offensive tackle Daniel Faalele in the 2022 NFL Draft during the critically important 2022 offseason.

This has been a team need for some time. Recent efforts to bolster the position have basically centered on Isaiah Wynn, a first-round draft pick in 2018, and trading for stalwart Trent Brown.

Wynn is a talented player, but due to injury woes and mispositioning by the coaching staff on the left side of the line, he has disappointed. After getting traded back to the Patriots last offseason, Brown would have been a far better choice to play on the left side, but he never got a chance to do so.

In addition to his injury issues, Wynn does not possess the optimal length to play left tackle. The team needs to enhance this position now, and the preferred means is through the draft.

The New England Patriots need to add a big left tackle in the draft

The first course of business for the Patriots should be to re-sign Brown to a long-term contract. The aircraft carrier-sized tackle played that position for New England in 2018, which just so happened to be their last Super Bowl-winning season. He should be re-installed there in 2022.

Nonetheless, that still will not alter the fact that the team needs to draft a tackle in the 2022 draft (preferably a left tackle), as well. This will be especially vital if the team foolishly fails to re-sign Brown once again this offseason. Hopefully, they won’t make the same mistake they made in 2019 in letting him walk.

The most critical element of the Patriots’ offense is to protect young Pro-Bowl quarterback Mac Jones, the Patriots’ first-round pick in 2021. The key element of that protection is the left tackle position on the offensive line. They need to draft one in either the first or second round of the 2022 draft if they intend on keeping Jones upright in the future.

While the team has numerous needs to fill all over the squad, left tackle, along with a number one wide receiver, are the most critical. Jones needs this accompaniment to be at his best. First, he needs to be protected, and then he needs an explosive game-breaker to catch his passes.

This deals with the protection aspect and the best available in the draft is Evan Neal from Alabama. The team can forget about Neal, as he’ll be long gone before the Patriots pick at the 21st spot in the first round.

The New England Patriots should select Daniel Faalele of Minnesota

There are other tackle options aside from Neal though. One recently highlighted by Patriots analyst Even Lazar of is Daniel Faalele.

Here’s what Lazar had to say about this gargantuan tackle prospect,

"OT Daniel Faalele, Minnesota (round projection: second round)Faalele might be the most popular player at the Senior Bowl this year due to his huge frame. We are talking Trent Brown big here at 6-8, 381 pounds. As one might expect at that size, Faalele is an elite run blocker. His pad level, ability to stay attached to defenders once he makes contact, and foot speed are impressive for his size. He sometimes gets caught with stagnant feet when he’s trying to mirror inside rush moves and struggles at times with sudden changes of direction. But if he can play more under control when rushers run the arc on him, he will be a starting tackle in the NFL. The Pats had so much success with Brown, and it feels like Faalele would be the same kind of player."

Bigger and longer is better in an offensive tackle. Like Brown, Faalele is a huge man and you can’t teach size and length. It’s just more difficult to get around someone who is huge and long.

Look no further than Brown to demonstrate that fact. Faalele is likely more of a right tackle (fine if Brown is signed long-term, otherwise, maybe not).

Yet, who says that some tutoring by Dante Scarnecchia, the retired Rolls Royce of NFL offensive line coaches, might not transform him into a left tackle?

A tribute to the greatness of Tom Brady. dark. Next

Projected by Pro Football Focus as their 5th rated offensive tackle and their 56th rated overall player, Faalele would be a solid choice in the second round for the New England Patriots after taking a top wide receiver in the first.

The Patriots only have six picks at present. They have to make them count. More about the draft will be eventuating here. Stay tuned.