The fact that Belichick, who sits on the top of the NFL coaching food chain, invested a draft pick, will get the attention of the football world. In a copycat league that is the NFL, we could eventually see more and more players from rugby in camps and playing on Sunday. After all, many ruggers tackle better than NFL players, are great locker room guys and are simply more unselfish teammates. I may catch heat for saying this but they seem to be mentally and physically tougher than some college football players.
We know that many punters have made the switch, led by former Aussie Rules player Darren Bennett and then followed by several Aussies including one of my own, Cowboys P Mat McBriar. However, none have yet to make the transition to a non-kicking position. Hayden will be developed as a tight end by the Jets and Nate will strictly focus on special teams at first. If these guys do well, which I am confident they will, then Rugby players, who earn considerably less than their NFL counter parts, will look to make the jump to the NFL. I would recommend to any rugger or Aussie rules player under 24 to walk on at a college first before trying to go straight to the NFL. The scouting system will most likely find you as they found the basketball players like Jimmy Graham who only played one year of college football and had 17 catches at University of Miami. He was a third round pick.
So Rugby fans who are concerned that there talent pool may be diluted, fear not, as it’s too early to open the flood gates. Actually, any success by ruggers in the NFL will only help to increase the interest level for Americans in the sport of rugby. If the Americans take to rugby and it gets proper TV coverage by a major media outlets it will mean more revenues for Rugby and better contracts for their players. Thus, if we do cherry pick some of your talent it will be a win-win for both sides.
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