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Ex-Rabbitohs Australian rugby league player Jordan Mailata joins Philadelphia Eagles in NFL Draft

An Australian rugby league player will join the Super Bowl champions for his debut NFL season.

Jordan Mailata was picked in the NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles in Texas on Sunday morning – despite never playing American football before.

The 20-year-old former prop for the South Sydney Rabbitohs was selected in the seventh round of the draft.

 

Australian rugby league player Jordan Mailata was picked by the Super Bowl champions Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL Draft on Sunday

The 20-year-old former prop for the South Sydney Rabbitohs has never played American Football before

The 20-year-old former prop for the South Sydney Rabbitohs has never played American Football before

At 200cm tall and weighing 160kg, Mailata is nicknamed the Thunder from Down Under.

Thanks to his size, power and athleticism, he is expected to line up as an offensive lineman for the Eagles to protect quarterbacks Carson Wentz and Nick Foles.

He was the 233rd overall pick as the Eagles traded picks with the New England Patriots to land his signature for the 2018 season.

The Australian is set for a bumper pay day with his contracted reported to be worth $20 million, according to the Courier Mail. 

Mailata (left) has been staying with family in the USA while training for the NFL draft in Texas

Mailata (left) has been staying with family in the USA while training for the NFL draft in Texas

The former league player was scouted during the NFL's Pro-Day trials in March clocking a 40-yard dash time of 5.12 seconds

The former league player was scouted during the NFL’s Pro-Day trials in March clocking a 40-yard dash time of 5.12 seconds

Mailata was picked in the NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles despite never playing a game and is in training to learn his new role for the NFL champions

Mailata was picked in the NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles despite never playing a game and is in training to learn his new role for the NFL champions

He had been getting plenty of attention around the NFL for his highlights package showing him blasting through tackles and for his size and power. 

Mailata sent a video reel to NFL scouts and was invited to attend a training camp in Los Angeles in November before being entered into the draft.

He will join the Eagles forward line under the guidance of offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, who spotted him during the NFL’s Pro-Day trials in March clocking a 40-yard dash time of 5.12 seconds and short shuttle in 4.67 seconds.

Since he entered the draft he has been training to learn the position as an offensive tackle but with his running and catching skills from rugby he is considered to be a possible tight end option for the Eagles.

Mailata is set to join the Eagles forward line under the guidance of offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland

Mailata is set to join the Eagles forward line under the guidance of offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland

He will now be fighting to join the Eagles final roster over the coming months before the season starts in September

He will now be fighting to join the Eagles final roster over the coming months before the season starts in September

He will now be fighting to join the Eagles final roster over the coming months before the season starts in September. 

‘Towards the end of my rugby last year I composed a little highlight video, as a back up, to figure out what I was going to do with my life,’ Mailata told NFL Draft Live.

‘My agent knew some NFL people who ran this international program and I was fortunate enough to get their attention. They flew me out to LA last November and I worked out for them and I was fortunate enough to get on the program.

Around 100,000 people packed into the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas during the first round picks on Thursday

Around 100,000 people packed into the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas during the first round picks on Thursday

The NFL press pack were interested in Russell Crowe's involvement in the Rabbitohs set up as co-owner (pictured are Miami Dolphins fans during the second round picks on Friday)

The NFL press pack were interested in Russell Crowe’s involvement in the Rabbitohs set up as co-owner (pictured are Miami Dolphins fans during the second round picks on Friday)

‘I will only be 21 years of age so I thought why not give it a try, I am still young.’

The NFL press pack were interested in Russell Crowe’s involvement in the Rabbitohs set up as co-owner and Mailata explained the background of the Rabbitohs name deriving from the rabbit sellers in Redfern in the early 1900s.

The Rabbitohs posted a congratulatory message to Mailata on Twitter telling the Eagles they had made the ‘right choice’ in picking their former player. 

 



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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