The Eagles Drafted An Australian Rugby Player Who Has Never Played American Football

Image by @jordanmailata / Instagram

For those of you who turned off the TV after the fourth or fifth draft round earlier this week missed a shocking development.

The reigning Super Bowl champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, used their pick late in the 7th round to draft 20-year-old Jordan Mailata, a rugby player who has never played American football before.

What Makes Mailata A Strong Pick For The Eagles

Standing at 6-foot-eight and weighing 346 pounds, Mailata looks like your quintessential American football player, but he actually comes from Sydney where he has been playing rugby for the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the National Rugby League (NRL).

Despite not having any experience in American football, Mailata’s size and athleticism made him a great pick for the next linebacker on the Eagles.

How Mailata Got To The Draft

After physically outgrowing the sport of rugby, Mailata decided to head to Florida to learn the ins-and-outs of the American sport and create a highlight reel for National Football League (NFL) scouts. He spent over four hours a day training and nearly four hours a day watching football film. Impressively, Mailata performed a 5.12-second 40-yard dash for the NFL scouts.

During the seventh draft round, Mailata got a life-changing phone call when the Eagles chose him for the 233rd pick.