On Saturday the Atlanta Falcons selected a pair of players in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, beginning with cornerback Darren Hall (San Diego State) at No. 108 overall. They followed it up with center Drew Dalman (No. 114 overall) out of Stanford University, who is 6-foot-3 and weighs 299 pounds.
There’s a lot to like about Dalman, 22, who played 25 games over the course of three years at Stanford, where he was a mechanical engineering major and earned All-Pac 12 first team honors in 2020. A team captain, Dalman won the Jim Reynolds Award, which is awarded to the Stanford senior “whose courage on the field and devotion to the game are an inspiration to all.” He also earned the Tommy Vardel Award, which is given “to the junior or senior player who best epitomizes excellence in both academics and athletics.”
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Dalman also crushed his Pro Day, logging the most 225-pound bench press reps (33) of any center in the pre-draft process.
In fact, he posted the 10th-best relative athletic score of 494 qualifying centers since 1987.
But he’s more than a workout warrior. His agent, Steve Caric, reminds us about Dalman’s Pro Football Focus profile, which tells us that Dalman did not give up a sack since becoming a starter in 2019. Moreover, during that same time period he only allowed his quarterback to get hit once in 745 pass-block snaps.
Drew Dalman Has NFL Bloodlines
It doesn’t hurt that Drew’s father, Chris, played for the San Francisco 49ers for seven years between 1993-99 after the Niners made him a sixth-round pick out of Stanford. During that time period Chris Dalman started 64 of 105 NFL games, winning a Super Bowl ring while serving as a backup in 1995.
His father also has ample coaching experience, and has served as the assistant offensive line coach for the Falcons between 2005-06, not to mention the offensive line coach and run game coordinator for the Stanford Cardinal from 2007-08. Today he is the President of the Palma School in Salinas, Calif, where he also serves as offensive line coach for the football team.
Not surprisingly, his dad’s experience with the Falcons is part of the reason Drew is pumped about being drafted by Atlanta.
Where Does Dalman Fit with the Falcons?
Dalman figures to get the chance to compete with Matt Hennessy for the starting center job. Realistically, though, he will begin his NFL career as the primary backup at the position and hopefully transition into a starting role, much like the path taken by his father. Already considered an excellent technician and consistent finisher, his NFL ceiling will likely be determined by how well he is able to handle the larger, longer defensive tackles he will encounter in the pro game.
Drew Dalman is the second offensive lineman the Falcons have selected in the draft thus far, following on the heels of offensive tackle Jalen Mayfield (Michigan) in the third round (No. 68 overall).
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