The SuperBowl champion Philadelphia Eagles have capped off their journey through the 2018 NFL Draft by taking an almighty punt on Australian Jordan Mailata, a former rugby player who has never played a down of competitive American football in his life.
Mailata, a 21-year-old former lower grade player for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, got snapped up with the 233rd overall pick in the draft, the Eagles’ last selection in this year’s pool.
And while he only started training as an Offensive Lineman a mere four months ago, one thing and one thing alone caught Philly’s attention for long enough to pick him: Mailata is a fucken big boy.
Mailata, at 203cm tall and 157kg, is by every measure of the phrase an insanely big unit.
More to that, he’s agile as hell too, which makes for a scary but intriguing NFL prospect. At his pro day workout, Mailata registered a 40-yard dash time of 5.12 seconds, and a short shuttle time of 4.67 seconds. Those times would have been fast enough to put him comfortably in the top ten of Offensive Lineman had he been invited to the main NFL Combine for the top collegiate players prior to the draft.
Mailata’s highlight rugby highlight tape, which the NFL released after he was drafted, is a sizzle reel of the absolute lad straight-up wrecking fools. It’s a thing of beauty.
The @Eagles just drafted Australian rugby player Jordan Mailata.
— NFL (@NFL) April 28, 2018
The Big Mahn™ stated that prior to switching codes he knew “as little as peanuts” about the game, but the challenge has been one he’s relished since taking it up.
It is a fun sport, why not give it a try? I started training for the last four months to try and pick up the game of football. I am far behind but it is a challenge and it is something I knew I had to take on.
The last three or four months have not been easy at all. Mentally challenging as well as physically. Trying to understand the basics and the fundamentals of football has been a great task. [I had] little knowledge before I came in, but I can happily say now that I can understand concepts and a beginning to have a step in the right direction.
Mailata was one of two Australians taken in this year’s NFL Draft, following on from college standout punter Michael Dickson, who was taken by the Seattle Seahawks with the 149th overall pick.
The ailing Cleveland Browns took tearaway star quarterback Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick in the draft.