Rugby League superstar Jarryd Hayne to the NFL

ehaz

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So the NRL's best player Jarryd Hayne just quit at the age of 26 to try to make it in the NFL.
 
To demonstrate how it's being taken in Australia:

"Thats like soccer losing Messi, Ronaldo and Suarez to Golf or something"
 
Reggie Bush said he could be a running back "right now".
 
Some rugby highlights:
[media]http://youtu.be/yItnEVoD0VQ[/media]
 

soxhop411

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I would hope that the Pats make a full effort to get him given what happened this week
 

kenneycb

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Well outside of the fact he's never played football before and his contribution to this year would in all likelihood be zero.
 

Scoops Bolling

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As a (spectacular) fullback in rugby, Hayne could probably be an above average kick and punt returner tomorrow. I'd look at him as a rich man's Nate Ebner...a potentially elite special teams player, with the potential to play any number of other positions with the right coaching and training (WR, TE, S, and OLB all seem like possibilities, although some would require putting on more weight than others). He's definitely a guy I'd love to see the Pats make a run at, and given the presence of Ebner and the gamble on Demps, I wouldn't be entirely shocked if they were in play for him.
 

Kliq

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Athletically he would be more than fine, but for someone that has never played football before, adjusting to all the plays and rules while learning the game at the highest possible level, I just don't see it working out. There are plenty of tremendous athletes who don't make it in the NFL, and a guy who is already at 26 with what I am assuming is a lot of wear and tear on his body, it just doesn't seem like a great investment.
 

Scoops Bolling

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Kliq said:
Athletically he would be more than fine, but for someone that has never played football before, adjusting to all the plays and rules while learning the game at the highest possible level, I just don't see it working out. There are plenty of tremendous athletes who don't make it in the NFL, and a guy who is already at 26 with what I am assuming is a lot of wear and tear on his body, it just doesn't seem like a great investment.
Sure, but most of those tremendous athletes haven't played a sport and position that is highly analogous to specific roles in football. Rugby is probably the closest pro sport to football, and fullback is probably the most football-like position in rugby. The guy is used to fielding and returning kicks, not to mention pursuing the ball after a kick by his own team. He'd need practice and coaching about blocking, either as a return man or as a gunner, but he has more experience and role specific skills than someone from coming from just about any other sport or position would.
 

HomeRunBaker

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He looks like a bigger Edelman returning kicks. I'm sure he'd be a successful kick returner from day one as those are instinctual moves that are natural to him. As for any other position like others have said you can't count on him learning and understanding schemes and a game he's never played before this season.
 

LondonSox

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I think he's LIKELY a good returner, but blocking is a pretty key part of the NFL and that's completely illegal in rugby, so that would take some adjustment.
 
I've little doubt he could do it, but rugby is not like NFL other than people run into each other and the ball is about the same shape.
I've long been interested to see how these kind of players can do in the NFL, but I think it's a bigger transition than most realize.
 

ThePrideofShiner

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He allegedly is talking to the Seahawks after visiting their facilities this summer. I hope he can play on the offensive line ...
 

Jettisoned

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October is a pretty bad time to try to get onto an NFL roster with no football experience whatsoever.
 

PC Drunken Friar

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I've been able to google the fact that he was his league's highest paid player the past 3 years, but havent been able to find out how much that was.
 
Found it, I think...I think he made about 435,000$.
 
That makes much more sense for him to explore other, better salary opportunities.
 

Jnai

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He was a Rugby star, so he should easily fill the now vacant Ridley role of putting the ball on the ground.
 

Lowrielicious

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PC Drunken Friar said:
I've been able to google the fact that he was his league's highest paid player the past 3 years, but havent been able to find out how much that was.
 
Found it, I think...I think he made about 435,000$.
 
That makes much more sense for him to explore other, better salary opportunities.
That would be about right. Approx half a million Aussie dollars I believe.

As far as I know he isn't planning to make a team this year, more likely try and make a run for next year. The rugby league season just finished hence the timing of announcement. His team agreed to release him from the last year of his contract so he could give it a shot, so he did leave guaranteed money on the table.

Huge gamble on his behalf in my opinion. Good on him for giving it a go, hope he makes it at least enough to get a run in the top league, but it's a huge ask. Obviously he's a gifted athlete, but so much of his value is in skills like reading a rugby league defense (and reacting to it), using skills like short kicks (that's out in NFL obviously), tactical kicking for field position (also out, other than punting), supporting teammates to receive passes plus lining up team mates for passes (both out. Passing in league are all "laterals", ie have to be backwards).

He still has his speed, agility, catching, long kick and performing under big pressure situations, but he is leaving a LOT of his big weapons behind. And he's old. Not to mention going from one of the biggest fish in the pond to a small fish in an ocean.
 

lostjumper

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A lot of people have mentioned the age. But running backs in the NFL(if that's the position Hayne ends up playing) seem to last about 4-5 years. So if his career is from age 27-32 instead of 22-28, I don't see the age as being a big factor. I think it comes down to how quickly he can pick up the game. It certainly is intriguing to see what he could do and I wish him luck.
 
After watching that highlight clip, he seems to have elite speed. I'd love to see his numbers in a 40. He also has really good instincts and field awareness. Some of his no look passes really show that he has an idea of where everyone around him his. He would be interesting on an nfl field.
 

Phil Plantier

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Not just salary (which will probably be near the rookie minimum), but the reality show potential of this is immense. Did he have a lot of endorsements in Australia?
 

DJnVa

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I think the whole "he doesn't know any of the rules" is overblown and something that's very easily overcome with an offseason of study.
 

bakahump

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Agreed on the rule thing.
 
When I was with 1st group we used to go to Thailand all the time.  There where alot of Australian expats there.  One in particular owned a bar and was ex SAS.  For obvious reasons we befriended him and him us.
 
I didnt know the guy from adam....but I can tell you every shot he ordered (and we drank) was toasted with "TO AMERICAN FOOTBALL!"  He LOVED to talk about the NFL and seemed to me to be a well read fan of the game/teams/league.  This was in 1993
 
The point.....
To think that Someone today.....in Australia has no concept of NFL rules is a bit naive.  These guy may have well been watching and fans for years.  To think they would try to truck someone while running out on a passing route and not realize its OPI or dive at a dudes knees when in pass blocking is silly.
 
All that said....how fast (if ever) he learns the ins and outs of Pro will be interesting.
 
I wonder if he has Secondary Education (College Eligibility)??  Would he be better served going to a mid level program for a year (where his atheltic ability would make him a Tebow like star) then leave after his Freshmen year to try out for an NFL team? Less of a gamble for NFL teams as they would actually have some film and a staff to interview on his "coachability".  Downside would be if he suffered an injury.  Which He could mitigate with an insurance policy.
 

Devizier

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Rugby league is huge in NSW but it's one of three rugby or rugby-like sports organizations in Australia. Comparisons to Messi are a little overblown.
 

fairlee76

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What's the competition like over there?  Watching the video I get the sense that the athletes are not quite up to par with your average NFL player.  But I know zero about Australian rugby.
 

Spacemans Bong

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Pedantic time:
 
There are two codes of rugby, rugby union and rugby league. Rugby union is the popular one around the world - striped shirts, scrums, and the World Cup, Six Nations and the New Zealand All Blacks. It looks like this:
 
[media]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-Xl36CapEk[/media]
 
Rugby league is six tackles and kick the ball, different point scoring, 13 players vs. 15 in union, and only played in a few countries (Australia, the north of England, Papua New Guinea of all places, and Auckland, New Zealand). It's basically the Canadian football to rugby union's American football.
 
It looks like this:
 
[media]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTO6a_tf5kc[/media]
 

Spacemans Bong

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Australian rules football looks like neither. It looks like this:
 
[media]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrBG2x0mq0Q[/media]
 
I find it a bit troubling from an NFL perspective that Hayne has never played rugby union, even at school. Most rugby league guys go to union (which pays more, since it's more popular everywhere except in Australia), and end up struggling unless they played union at school - and this is a change in codes with directly transferable skills. The NFL is a much bigger switch. I wouldn't be surprised if he's back in league in a year or two, though as some have pointed out, if he can make it into the league he'll make more money. It's not impossible...Nate Edler and Hayden Smith came from the USA Eagles squad (so a much lower standard) and managed to play a bit in the NFL. 
 
Edit: Trying to make all three vids embed. 
 

Kliq

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lostjumper said:
A lot of people have mentioned the age. But running backs in the NFL(if that's the position Hayne ends up playing) seem to last about 4-5 years. So if his career is from age 27-32 instead of 22-28, I don't see the age as being a big factor. I think it comes down to how quickly he can pick up the game. It certainly is intriguing to see what he could do and I wish him luck.
 
 
 
But it isn't like he has been sitting on his couch for the last five years, he has been playing an extremely physical, contact sport, and no matter how good he is, he probably has a fair amount of injuries on his resume already.
 

PaulinMyrBch

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Fucking wiki has him listed without the conversion. So he's 6'2" and 15 st 10 lbs, which is 220 lbs.
 
So assuming he's lying about his height, I'm guessing he's a Corey Dillon sized guy (6'1" 228)
 

pockmeister

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Watching his highlights reel makes me think his skills could translate effectively to an NFL running back, in addition to the kick / punt returner roles already discussed.  
 
His game seems heavily based on intense bursts of speed, and sharp angled cuts to beat tackles and find gaps.  A rugby league defensive setup is not entirely remote from an NFL defensive line - it's a bit more fluid and mobile, but it's essentially a straight line with the attacking team looking to find gaps around the edges of the defenders.  Based on his ability to locate the small gaps and burst through them, he looks as if educating him to follow a lead block then punch through the hole wouldn't be a stretch.  Rugby league is a seriously quick game, so his pace is no illusion.  He's also likely to have good handling / ball protection skills because attempting to strip the ball in the tackle is part of the game in a similar manner to the NFL.
 
The bigger question would be whether he could pick up some of the more technical aspects of the NFL - protection schemes etc.  That would be more alien to him than than the attacking sides of the game. 
 

HomeRunBaker

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bakahump said:
 
I wonder if he has Secondary Education (College Eligibility)??  Would he be better served going to a mid level program for a year (where his atheltic ability would make him a Tebow like star) then leave after his Freshmen year to try out for an NFL team? Less of a gamble for NFL teams as they would actually have some film and a staff to interview on his "coachability".  Downside would be if he suffered an injury.  Which He could mitigate with an insurance policy.
He'd be better served going to Florida State where he could bump up that $430k.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I can maybe see him as a kick returner and special teams ace, a la Ebner, because those tasks are relatively simple and probably closest to his experience.  I think the chance of him becoming a successful player at any other position is pretty miniscule.  RB is probably one of the easiest positions to learn in terms of schemes/football IQ, but there is still a massive amount of instinctual activity going on for a successful running back - their brains are picking up patterns about blocks, defensive alignments, etc that are deeply ingrained due to 10+ years of experience playing the position going back to Pop Warner, then giving the body immediate instructions about which hole is likely to open, where to cut, when to lower the head, etc. Take a guy with none of that hard wiring and put him into the position and I don't see it working very well.
 

Marciano490

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Are those yard markers on the field?  I'm trying to figure out how fast he is.  He doesn't seem to take very long strides when sprinting and his turnover rate isn't great either.
 

PaulinMyrBch

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I'm not crazy about how upright he is, not sure how easy it will be to convert to a low pad level when he absorbs hits. He's great at breaking tackles when someone is trying to grab his shoulder, curious to see how he'll do when Cameron Wake is diving at his waist. Plus if he's 6'2" he's tall for a running back, combine that with an upright running style and he's going down fast and easy. Needs to make some adjustments, or he can play the slot TE and replace Aaron.
 

StupendousMan

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A punt returner (or kick returner) needs to have two skills: ability to catch the ball, and ability to run forward while avoiding tacklers.  He doesn't have to learn about blocking or protection schemes or any of that.   This guy really doesn't have to learn anything about American football to make the team at that position.
 
If he's going to play on kick coverage teams, he does need to learn a small number of things: rules on tackling, and the responsibilities and coverage of his cover team.  Not very much.  I'd be surprised if someone couldn't _learn_ those things in a couple of weeks.   Of course, some players _learn_ the cover scheme, but nonetheless don't cover their lanes properly, so there's no guarantee that he'd be able to carry out his job properly.
 
So, I'd guess that a guy like this could join a random team and contribute as kick returner within a week or two, assuming that the team's existing return guys are all bad.  Would that be worth a roster spot?  Probably not.  He might be able to play coverage within 5-6 weeks.  Would the combination of return-man plus cover-man be worth a roster spot?  If he's good enough, sure.
 
The Patriots have a good punt returner.   They don't have a good kick returner, but that position is less important, since most kicks can't be returned.  I don't see him as a useful piece in the near future for New England, but I could imagine him playing for some other team which has mediocre/bad punt returners.
 

Infield Infidel

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bakahump said:
I wonder if he has Secondary Education (College Eligibility)??  Would he be better served going to a mid level program for a year (where his atheltic ability would make him a Tebow like star) then leave after his Freshmen year to try out for an NFL team? Less of a gamble for NFL teams as they would actually have some film and a staff to interview on his "coachability".  Downside would be if he suffered an injury.  Which He could mitigate with an insurance policy.
 
There are any number of semi-pro teams in the US where he can figure out the basics. Not sure if draft rules have changed but Eric Swann was drafted after playing semi-pro football in Lynn. Or he'd be a free agent. 
 

Lowrielicious

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Marciano490 said:
Are those yard markers on the field?  I'm trying to figure out how fast he is.  He doesn't seem to take very long strides when sprinting and his turnover rate isn't great either.
10 metre lines.
 

Deathofthebambino

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I don't particularly care about what he can do in the NFL, nor do I think he'll ever be anything more than an Ebner-type in the league if he does get picked up by someone.
 
But he certainly makes me wish I had the time and/or opportunity to watch more high level rugby on a regular basis.  The dude is certainly impressive.
 
M

MentalDisabldLst

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But he certainly makes me wish I had the time and/or opportunity to watch more high level rugby on a regular basis. 
 
Oh sure, set Bonger right up.
 

Lowrielicious

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Hayne making some good impressions today. I don't follow football or the 49ers to know his chances of making the team, but presumably they are better after today than they were yesterday.
 
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-24/jarryd-hayne-breaks-more-big-returns-in-nfl-for-49ers/6719816
 
some detail:
here's a transcript of what the commentators had to say during Hayne's 34-yard punt return.
"The ball punted away to Hayne and he brings this from the 20, makes the first man miss, makes a couple more miss and the punter has to stop him, Chris Jones finally drags down Hayne after 35 yards. It's ridiculous. Jimmy Tomsula said last week he's a world class professional athlete and he continues to show it."

Commentators continue singing his praises: "I'll say it right now, this is the story of the preseason in pro football. This guys has never played football before. Terrific rugby player but just his abilities and learning the terminology and line calls. Lok at him switch the ball to the left hand."

https://twitter.com/NFL/status/635630444512346112
@NFL:
A 34-yard gain as the @49ers RB? Ok, @jarrydhayne_1. Now you're just showing off. #DALvsSF