While it’s not wrong to think “this isn’t a surprising development” because of the progress Mailata made this summer, it’s still pretty crazy when you REALLY think about it. Again, this dude hadn’t even played in an organized football game IN HIS ENTIRE LIFE until several weeks ago on August 9.
The Eagles’ decision to trade up in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft to select Mailata was originally met with some skepticism. But the 6-8, 350 pound 21-year-old has since proven that he at least has some NFL potential.
Mailata’s preseason performance earned rave reviews from former NFL offensive lineman. Brian Baldinger said Mailata showed “unbelievable development.” Ross Tucker had this to say the other night:
I no longer think 21 year old Aussie LT Jordan Mailata is going to be a starting LT in the NFL.— Ross Tucker (@RossTuckerNFL) August 31, 2018
I think he's going to be All-Pro.
Borderline obsessed with this dude at this point. This is crazy.
Eagles are going to go right from Peters to Peters Jr.
Tucker isn’t the only person to compare Mailata to Peters, who is a sure-fire future Hall of Fame. Football scout/writer Tommy Lawlor also made that comparison as well.
It seems very unlikely that Mailata will see any kind of playing time during the 2018 regular season. Peters and Lane Johnson are the Eagles’ starting tackles. Halapoulivaati Vaitai struggled in the preseason but he’s still the main backup at both spots. Then the Eagles can always have Isaac Seumalo fill in at tackle in a pinch.
Mailata’s rookie season will very much serve as a learning year for the young man. It’ll be interesting to see how much progress he makes heading into the 2019 season.
For now, it’s really remarkable he even made the team. Kudos.