The Philadelphia Eagles have taken a bold step with their final decision in the NFL Draft and have won a player who has never played football before.
But Jordan Mailata gives the Super Bowl champions a convincing summary: Considered an offensive attack, he stands 6 feet-8 and weighs 346 pounds – of which very little body fat is – with 35 1/2 inches of arms. The native Australian spent the last four months learning to play football and completing blockades at the IMG training facility in Florida. The Eagles were either impressed or intrigued enough to trade with the New England Patriots to improve 17 places and take him in the seventh round with the 233rd pick. The Eagles also sent a seventh 2019 campaign to the Patriots.
"Right now he will be in Stout's room," said Eagles vice-president of player staff Joe Douglas of offensive lineage coach Jeff Stoutland ( via Philly.com). "His size, his measurable ones, they are quite rare, only to see the excitement that not only Stout had, but also [assistant offensive line coach Eugene Chung] over Jordan, it was tangible."
Stardom is nothing new for the 20-year-old Mailata, who stood out during his time with the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Last fall he turned to football. "It's a fun sport, you know, why are not you trying?" He said in an NFL Network interview. "It was an absolute brainstorm of an experience."
This is not the first time that the Eagles are immersed in the gruff ranks. Last year, they signed Adam Zaruba, a close opponent who spent the season in the practice group.
Mailata may be a gamble, but it's one that worked for the Patriots who designed Ohio State's Nate Ebner's 197th Pick 2012. Ebner never played football in high school, but he went with the Buckeyes continue. Since rugby was his love, New England allowed him to take time off to play on the US Rugby Sevens team that was ninth at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
"It was a long discussion, about many different conversations" Ebner, a backup security and special team loyalty (via USA Rugby). "But in the end, they knew who they were designing as rugby players in 2012, and they understood that this is a unique opportunity for me and they have shown nothing but support throughout this trip." I'm so happy to have their blessing, and that may not have happened without them supporting me. "
Rugby Sevens is a faster version of the game known around the world; instead of 15 players per team playing 40-minute halves, there are seven per side playing seven-minute halves.
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