New Info Arises on Eagles' Surprise Rookie Signing

The Philadelphia Eagles' new undrafted free agent has a fascinating background and connection to a current player.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles announced the signing of seven undrafted free agents on Friday. With their nine draft picks, the Eagles had these sixteen young prospects report to NovaCare Complex for the rookie minicamp. One name in particular drew significant attention among the Eagles fanbase.

Laekin Vakalahi, a 21-year-old from Brisbane, Australia was signed by the Eagles with an international player roster exemption. The 6'5", 318-pound man has never played football before but the Eagles are hoping to develop him in their system as the team found success in bringing in talent from all over the world. The most notable of these developmental success stories is obviously offensive tackle Jordan Mailata.

In fact, there is a fascinating connection between Mailata and Vakalahi.

New Eagles UDFA Has a Fascinating Background and Connection to Jordan Mailata

Mailata, an Australian native, was back home during the 2024 NFL Draft, where he had dinner with Vakalahi. They have been chatting on the phone regularly and met numerous times since then.

Similarly to Vakalahi, Mailata had never played football prior to being drafted by the Eagles in the 2018 NFL Draft. He had, however, played rugby league in Australia. His transition to the NFL took some time but he quickly became one of the best offensive linemen in the league and signed a three-year, $66 million extension in the 2024 offseason.

Now, Mailata is helping the Eagles find more talent in the international ranks. Vakalahi will not count against the 90-player active roster, so the Eagles will have plenty of time to work with him to develop him into an NFL player.

And it looks like Vakalahi will need that time. He has even less of an athletic background than Mailata. He played junior rugby league until the age of 12, according to Andrew DiCecco of InsideTheBirds. However, he has spent the last few years completing his mission service in Wellington, New Zealand. He reportedly received the phone call from the Eagles while he was at the church on a Sunday.

Whether Howie Roseman and the Eagles found another gem in Vakalahi remains to be seen. However, the fact that they are continuing to cast a wide net to find talent all over the world is a positive sign for the future of the organization.

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