Philadelphia Eagles: Jordan Mailata could be a special teams star

(Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images) /

After a rocky start to training camp, could 6-foot-8 converted rugby star Jordan Mailata’s truly transcendent contributions come on special teams?

When the Philadelphia Eagles invested their seventh-round pick in ex-rugby player turned offensive lineman Jordan Mailata, it was always going to be a project.

And at least so far, those predictions have come to fruition.

Though Mailata certainly has the size scouts look for in a starting NFL left tackle, measuring in at a towering 6-foot-8, 346 pounds, he’s also never played the position before and simply may not be able to learn all of the subtle intricacies of the very nuanced offensive tackle position. With non-existent instincts, it’s worth wondering if Mailata will ever even see the field of a regular season, let alone develop into a starting caliber player.

But, what if I were to tell you that there was a way that Mailata could not only make the 53 man roster but also actually see the field and make an impact right away?

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Crazy right? Maybe not.

The reason the Eagles selected Mailata in the first place was for his A-plus physical features, reportedly running a 5.12 40 yard dash while somehow carrying only 10 percent body fat.

Simply put, Mailata is an absolute beast of a man, but a man with no position.

But even in college, where do coaches put hyper-athletic players with no true position? That’s right, special teams.

While it may be a bit crazy to imagine an offensive lineman running down the field on kick off units, or chasing down punt returners, Mailata isn’t your typical offensive lineman. In rugby, players are essentially playing special teams all game, chasing around ball handlers down the field at full speed, only they do so without pads. Now granted, that is a bit of a simplification of a pretty complex game, but regardless, the skills Mailata honed while playing in Australia could translate into the NFL easily, just not at his given position.

With the Eagles prioritizing special teams maybe more than any other team in the league, Mailata could prove to be a unique asset the league has never seen before while continuing to remain with the team and improve week after week in practice. After investing a few roster spots in special teams-only players like Chris Maragos, Bryan Braman, and most recently Kamu Grugier-Hill over the years, this move would essentially allow the team to keep a high upside prospect, while also upgrading their special teams unit in the process, a classic case of the team having its cake and eating it too.

Next. Michael Bennett already looking like a steal on defense. dark

Though Howie Roseman may simply opt to waive Mailata at the end of the preseason and attempt to sign him onto the practice squad to further refine his skills at a foreign position, if the Philadelphia Eagles want to get creative and ensure they keep their seventh-round pick in-house, the team should strongly consider giving him a try on Dave Fipp‘s special teams unit, and strike fear into the hearts of the NFC East’s return mean with a 350 pound mountain of a man barreling down the field.