Philadelphia Eagles go Down Under to draft rugby star Jordan Mailata

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images) /

With their final pick in the 2017 NFL draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select rugby player, Jordan Mailata with the 233 overall pick.

Well, I don’t think anyone saw this one coming.

After originally being scheduled to pick at 250 overall in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles actually traded up in the seventh round to take a gigantic rugby player from Australia at 233.

Measuring in at 6-foot-8, 350 pounds, Jordan Mailata is an absolute freak of nature, who demolished opposing players on the rugby field, but can he actually make the transition to offensive tackle in the NFL?

Without having played a single game of high school or college football in America, Mailata is attempting to do something that has almost never been done before, but this isn’t the first time the Eagles have taken a shot on a foreign-born player with no formal football experience.

Last year, the Eagles brought in Canadian rugby player Adam Zaruba to try out at tight end and even though he didn’t end up making the 53-man roster, he did spend the entire season with the team on the practice squad as a foreign-born exception player, and will very much be in play for a spot on the team in 2018.

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While it is a bit odd for the Eagles to take on such a long-term project when they have so few openings on their roster, especially one round after taking a versatile offensive lineman, Mailata’s sheer size, strength, and fluidity makes him an incredibly interesting prospect, who may end up becoming an incredibly formidable offensive lineman.

Though only time will tell if Mailata will make the Eagles’ final 53-man roster, as at this point, it’s anyone’s guess I’ll quickly he’ll be able to assimilate to the NFL game, his share upside is worth the risk with such a late round pick.

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And hey, who knows, maybe he could become an invaluable member of Dave Fipp‘s special teams unit. I’m sure the return men of the NFC East would love to see a 6-foot-8, 350 pound bowling ball flying at them at them down the field.