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An Australian Rugby player is making shock waves in the N-F-L.  The Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles used their final pick in the 2018 Draft on 6’8″, 345 pound Jordan Mailata, despite the giant former South Sydney junior Rugby player never playing a game of American football.

The Eagles became intrigued when they saw a show reel Mailata’s management uploaded on YouTube of the forward stampeding rugby league opponents. Philadelphia’s executive vice president Howie Roseman told reporters “If you have seen the reel, it was impressive, people are bouncing off him”.


A number of  news publications saw the highlights, and had some hilarious reactions. Deadspin, ran the headline: “Eagles use late Draft pick on humongous rugby league man”.

Mailata, whose first name is Lafoga, received his middle name of Jordan from his then 10-year-old sister, who was allowed to name her new baby brother and liked the NBA Hall of Famer. His parents, who are Samoan, moved to New Zealand and then to Australia years before his birth. As a kid, he fell for rugby, playing the sport until he got too big for it.

Mailata turned in an impressive performance at a workout for NFL scouts, running a 5.12-second 40-yard dash. In the end, he visited seven teams: the Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, New York Jets, Los Angeles Chargers, and Washington Redskins.

Mailata follows in the footsteps of Jarryd Hayne, who also traded in a professional rugby career in Australia for a shot at the NFL. He signed with the San Francisco 49ers in March 2015, and ended up appearing in eight regular season games. His career statistics include 52 rushing and 27 receiving yards — and three fumbles.

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