159kg Aussie beast told to put on weight
AUSSIE rookie Jordan Mailata is confident 2019 will be his break-out season as he continues to get to grips with life as an NFL player.
The former South Sydney Rabbitohs NYC player was once again inactive at Wembley Stadium as the Eagles beat Jacksonville Jaguars 24-18.
But the 21-year-old, who stands at over two metres tall and tips the scales at 159kg, is regarded as a project player by the Super Bowl champions.
The team have earmarked him as a left tackle for the future having selected him in the seventh round of the 2018 draft despite having no college experience.
He was then added to the 53-man roster after the pre-season training camp with the Eagles concerned he'd be picked up by another team if they added him to their practice squad.
It has represented a huge test for the engaging Mailata, who admits learning the complexities of an NFL playbook has been tough.
"It's been a massive learning curve but I am getting there," Mailata said.
"Other than being a quarterback, left tackle is regarded as the hardest position to play and learning a playbook is just wild.
"People who think it is a walk in the park don't know what they are walking in to.
"When I decided to make the transition from rugby league I knew it was going to be tough. But I didn't know it would be this tough. It has exceeded my expectations.
"They give you a big thick book to learn and on each page there is four or five different plays.
"There are diagrams, pictures, circles, squares, everything you can think of. It's nuts."
Despite his massive frame, Mailata was ordered to bulk up by 20kg to prepare his body for the rigours of the NFL and with Eagles starting left tackle Jason Peters now 36, he has every chance of pushing for a starting spot next year.
"They told me I was too skinny to play left tackle. I was like, 'great, I can put on weight!'
"I have been in the program for a while now, so I understand the plays.
"I just need to get the repetitions in practice and then in games so I can be more fluid and hone my technique.
"At left tackle, everything is about balance. If something is off you are going to get put on your arse."
Mailata was active for the first time against Carolina last week and although he was never called into the game he felt it was a step in the right direction.
"That was an experience, but it was really stressful," he said.
"Getting dressed on matchday, your whole mentality changes. It's so much different.
"You know that at any time you could be put in a game. I was so nervous. You just don't know when they will need you."
Mailata has been getting to know Philadelphia with the help of Aussie NBA star Ben Simmons and also has Victorian punter Cameron Johnston for company on the team.
"It's great, I am loving living in the US," he said.
"So far it has been good to me and they haven't chased me out with the pitchforks just yet.
"Ben is a great guy, its rare I am out with someone who is taller than me but it's been good to get to know him."