Philadelphia Eagles’ massive Australian left tackle Jordan Mailata primed for Super Bowl 57

Super Bowl LVII will kick off on Sunday in State Farm Stadium in Arizona between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles.

When the Eagles’ offense takes the field, left tackle Jordan Mailata will join a select club of international players to start in the NFL’s biggest game.

Hailing from Bankstown, a suburb of Sydney, Australia, the 25-year-old Mailata grew up playing rugby and developed into a dynamic player. He stood out on the field thanks to his massive size (he’s currently listed at 6’8” and 365 pounds) and ability to plow through defenders. NFL executives saw clips of him playing rugby online and invited him to join the league’s International Player Pathway program. The massive Australian accepted this offer and traveled to the United States in early 2018 and began training, despite having never played American football before and possessing little familiarity with how the sport works. The Philadelphia Eagles were impressed enough to take a chance on a guy who had never played a down of organized football when they drafted Mailata in the 7th round in the 2018 draft. He became the second player to be drafted without ever having played organized football in the United States after German receiver Moritz Böhringer, who was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 2016.

Mailata did not see game time with the Eagles in 2018 or 2019 but continued to practice and develop as an offensive lineman while learning the intricacies of the position and the sport in general. He made his NFL debut in week 1 of the 2020 season, and eventually earned his first start in week 4. In his first season of American football game action, Mailata looked like a seasoned veteran, as he surrendered the fewest sacks among Eagles offensive lineman and was ranked in the upper half of the league’s tackles by Pro Football Focus. He was named a full-time starter ahead of the 2021 season and signed a 4-year contract worth 64 million dollars in September of that year. That’s not a bad deal for a guy who worked odd jobs in construction and demolition to make ends meet back in Australia.

Mailata has had an outstanding season this year, helping the Eagles finish the regular season as the top seed in the NFC and advance to the Super Bowl. He was named as an alternate for the Pro Bowl this season, but the Eagles’ success prevented him from possibly participating.

The Eagles’ offensive line has been arguably the best in the league this season, and it has been a big reason why they have been able to make it to this point. They will need to play like they have all year as they face a solid Chiefs defense which includes talents like Chris Jones and Frank Clark. Philadelphia would be wise to do what they can to keep the league’s MVP in Patrick Mahomes on the sideline for as much time as possible. Perhaps this means Mailata and the rest of the group will be tasked with paving the way for the Eagles’ ground attack, which includes running back Miles Sanders and dual-threat quarterback Jalen Hurts.

A current student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carter played football in high school and has been a lifelong avid football fan.