With their final pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles chose a former Australian rugby player with exactly zero football experience: Jordan Mailata. The seventh-round gamble made sense at the time, given that the Aussie was 6-foot-8 and 346 pounds and wasn’t afraid to take and give big hits.
He spent most of his rookie season inactive as OL coach Jeff Stoutland worked to develop the gigantic talent, and didn’t see any regular season playing time. In the months since the 2018 season wrapped up, Mailata mentioned that the team actually asked him to get bigger (!!!) and back in May, head coach Doug Pederson confirmed that they are working on cross-training at both tackle positions.
“This is a guy that I think we can cross-train, and maybe we cross-train him at both tackle spots, left tackle, right tackle. He’s second year now in our system and this will be a big off-season for him. He’s a big-bodied guy, and I think he’s athletic enough.”
Since the team drafted Andre Dillard earlier this spring, he seems to be the heir-apparent for Jason Peters’ role down the road, so training Mailata at right tackle makes sense.
There’s still a lot up in the air when it comes to the Eagles’ offensive line this season. My prediction is that Mailata at least shows up on the active roster beginning in Week 1, but might not see any actual playing time until mid-season when players begin getting a bit banged up. He definitely needs in-game experience so any sort of garbage time play early on would be super help as well.
What will Jordan Mailata’s role be this season? And, when/will he see playing time?
Sound off in the comments!