The Eagles began the draft with a trade-down that netted them a second-round pick in next year’s draft and ended it by selecting a guy the size of a city block who has never played a down of football.
They traded up 17 spots in the seventh and final round Saturday and grabbed a 6-foot-8, 346-pound rugby player from Australia by the name of Jordan Mailata. You really need to check out his YouTube highlight video.
Mailata, 20, will start his football career as an offensive tackle. He has spent the last four months at IMG’s training facility in Florida learning blocking techniques and the intricacies of football.
“Right now, he’s going to be in Stout’s room,’’ Eagles vice-president of player personnel Joe Douglas said, referring to the team’s offensive line coach, Jeff Stoutland.
“His size, his measurables, they’re pretty rare. Just to see the excitement that not only Stout but also [assistant offensive line coach] Eugene [Chung] had about Jordan, it was palpable.’’
Mailata has 35½-inch arms and almost no body fat.
Douglas said he first got on their radar late last month when a couple of his scouts watched him work out at a regional combine in Tampa.
After that, Stoutland went down to Florida himself and worked him out. The team also brought Mailata to Philly as one of their 30 allotted predraft visits.
“I felt like I earned a little bit of Coach Stoutland’s respect that day,’’ Mailata said Saturday. “I felt he was trying to challenge my manhood a few times. But he gave me the thumbs up at the end.’’
Mailata isn’t the first rugby player the Eagles have signed. Last year, they signed tight end Adam Zaruba. Zaruba spent the 2017 season on the team’s practice squad.
While it’s certainly possible that Mailata could make the team’s 53-man roster this season, it’s more likely that he’ll also wind up on the practice squad.