Stanford center Drew Dalman is one of the three Cardinal offensive linemen in the 2021 NFL Draft. Although he doesn’t command the same attention as Walker Little, the three-year starter has every chance to follow in his father’s footsteps to the NFL.
Drew Dalman NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Center
- School: Stanford
- Current Year: Senior
- Height: 6’3″
- Weight: 300 pounds
Tony Pauline’s Drew Dalman Scouting Report
Positives: Two-year starter who lined up at both guard and center for Stanford. An explosive zone-blocking lineman with nice upside. Explosive, fires into blocks, and quickly gets out to the second level. Fluid if asked to pull across the line of scrimmage, plays with great pad level, and consistently gets leverage on opponents. Stays square, moves smoothly about the field, and easily redirects to hit a moving target. Keeps his head on a swivel and works well with linemates. Effective with the shotgun snap.
Negatives: Comes with average size and strength, and rarely finishes blocks. Gets obliterated at the point by big, strong defensive tackles. May have size limitations.
Analysis: Dalman is a smart, tough zone-blocking lineman who was effective at both center and guard. He lacks next-level power and needs a running start, but he would be very effective in a system that puts linemen in motion.
Drew Dalman Player Profile
Drew Dalman is just one of several 2021 NFL Draft prospects whose surname may sound familiar. His father — Chris Dalman — played college football at Stanford before being drafted by the San Francisco 49ers. A member of the Super Bowl XXIX-winning 49ers’ team, Chris made over 100 appearances in a seven-year NFL career.
Their paths so far have been eerily similar. After moving from Georgia to California as a kid, Drew began his football journey at Palma High School in Salinas. It is the exact same school where his father honed his craft. A two-way player at Palma, Drew made a name for himself in the trenches. Although he would make a college career on the offensive line, his play as a defensive lineman earned him recognition as a senior.
A three-time All-League and All-County honoree, he was named the 2016 Monterrey Herald Defensive Player of the Year. Additionally, his performances earned him an invite to the 2016 Blue Grey All-America Game. Despite his defensive excellence, and his skinny 265-pound frame, he was recruited as an offensive lineman.
A three-star recruit, he fielded interest from the likes of Michigan, Arizona, and Colorado. However, there was only one school for him. Having written a fifth-grade letter stating he wanted to grow up to play for Stanford, he followed his father’s path to the Cardinal in 2017.
Drew Dalman’s college career at Stanford
Once at Stanford, Drew Dalman once again stepped in his father’s footsteps on the path to the NFL Draft. Coming in a little underweight for an offensive lineman, he spent 2017 away from the field getting in shape to meet the rigors of the college game.
Making his debut the following year, he showcased positional versatility. He lined up in two games at guard and two games at center. During his debut season, he helped protect K.J. Costello rack up the second-most passing yards in program history.
As a result of his sophomore season, he earned the starting center role for Stanford in 2019. Making 12 starts, he rose to prominence with a Pac-12 Offensive Lineman of the Week performance against Washington. The Cardinal combined for 444 total yards as he led the way for Cameron Scarlett’s 151-yard day. He ended the season as a member of the All-Pac-12 Second Team.
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Washington would once again give him the opportunity to showcase his skill set, this time as a senior. He is credited with allowing zero quarterback pressures or sacks as the Stanford line stymied one of the best defenses in the conference. With six starts in the shortened season, he earned All-Pac-12 First Team honors.
As well as his on-field performances, he impressed as a team leader. The team captain was recognized for his courage and devotion to the game while inspiring others with the Jim Reynolds Award. Furthermore, he received the Tommy Vardell Award for epitomizing excellence in academics and athletics.
Following his senior season as the Stanford center, Drew Dalman declared for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Drew Dalman’s best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft
Can Stanford center Drew Dalman follow in his father’s footsteps and hear his name called in the 2021 NFL Draft? There is a strong chance, with Pro Football Network’s NFL Draft Analyst Tony Pauline giving him a fourth-round grade. He brings versatility on the offensive line having played guard as well as center. However, he likely best projects as a developmental center.
Teams that best meet a need and zone-blocking scheme fit include the Seattle Seahawks and Miami Dolphins. However, due to his football intelligence, it isn’t a stretch to think he could become scheme versatile with the right coaching.
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Oliver Hodgkinson is a staff writer for Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter at @ojhodgkinson.