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Old 10-14-2014, 11:43 PM    (permalink
YAYareaRB
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Default Rugby superstar making the switch.

http://m.foxsports.com.au/nrl/nrl-pr...-1227091016581

Not sure if any of you have heard but this is just unreal. I've heard of guys that have played rugby that have tried their hand in the NFL but not guys that are in the prime of their careers. Hayne just won the National Rugby League player of the year award. I'm excited to see where this move takes him.

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Old 10-14-2014, 11:46 PM    (permalink
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Yeah, started discussing in the random discussion thread.

At the very least would contribute on special teams, potentially as a kickoff or punt returner.

He is pretty complete in terms of speed, explosiveness, strength, toughness, athleticism, ball control/handling.....
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Old 10-14-2014, 11:48 PM    (permalink
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and the best bit is that he is not a dickhead queenslander
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Old 10-14-2014, 11:50 PM    (permalink
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Super, super interesting. It would be foolish to make any sort of prognostication, but the skill and physical ability completely translates. Timbathia already mentioned it, but kick returner is a good place to start. We'll see what teams are willing to do him him mid-season though.

Still, super interesting. Certainly should get a shot with somone.
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Old 10-15-2014, 12:02 AM    (permalink
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I'm thinking Seattle. He spent some time their during the RL offseason and got to hang around the facilities with Waisale Serevi and co.
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Old 10-15-2014, 12:02 AM    (permalink
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and the best bit is that he is not a dickhead queenslander
NSW fan right here! haha
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Old 10-15-2014, 04:43 AM    (permalink
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This is a super long shot. It would be a big achievement just to make a practice squad.

There are probably 100 guys in the NFL who are X than Hayne, where X is quicker, stronger, smarter, whatever. The Aussies who have played or are playing in the NFL occupy specialist positions, like punters thanks to the reliance on kicking the ball like that in native Australian football sports, or the odd guy like Jessie Williams, who's just big and strong and happened to go through the college system like any other NFL player (so the Australian factor is secondary, really). Hayne on the other hand is going to be looking at roles that hordes upon hordes of superior athletes with far more experience in the sport vie for every year in the NFL draft.

Perhaps his sole advantage is he has a proven history as a professional sports player and is mature enough to be able to live that life. But that's a small plus in a sea of giant hurdles. It's commendable to go for the big show, but realistically this announcement of intent is probably the closest he'll ever get.
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Old 10-15-2014, 04:45 AM    (permalink
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I love that he's already got the vision and quick feet to be a ballcarrier in the NFL.

RB is still the most instinctive position in football which is what this guy basically was playing rugby.

If you believe RBs are born and not made, being blessed with vision and the ability to make other guy's miss, then Jarryd Hayne should have a better than 50/50 shot of making it in the league.

The toughness and physicality of the game should be no problem.
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Old 10-15-2014, 05:11 AM    (permalink
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Probably the biggest reason I'd be skeptical of his ability as an NFL ball carrier in any variation is just how different the sports are:

- Stripping the ball isn't common in Rugby, in fact it is disallowed in most circumstances and in general defenders don't look to do it. As such, they hold the ball much more casually and this instinct of protecting the ball isn't going to be there. Dropping the ball is actually an automatic turnover in Rugby, so it isn't entirely foreign, but the concept of arms coming in from anywhere specifically trying to knock it loose is.

- You don't really try to get lower in Rugby as a ball carrier. Hayne is 6'2". Bit tall for a RB with instincts, let alone a raw player.

- Tacklers are almost always in front of you in Rugby, and the majority of the defense is concerned about other players as "laterals" are commonplace and need to be defended against. Being the sole target of a defense from all angles is an entirely different game.

- Rugby isn't a game of inches. A team will happily give up a few yards here and there in most situations on defense. And obviously without the protective gear, the tackling is more about bringing a guy down with his own forward momentum than collisions. The sports couldn't be more different in this regard.

Maybe he has the natural instincts regardless of all these, but the odds are severely stacked against him. Having said all that, I'd welcome him on the Titans tomorrow for a bit of fun in a seemingly lost season. It would be great to see it happen and to see an Aussie come in and plant the ball down on the ground for a touchdown without thinking; it could start a craze in the NFL.

On the other hand, if he returns punts, I could see him jumping up to catch the ball in the air and getting absolutely destroyed in the process - an action in rugby which is protected by the rules to prevent mid air collisions. In fact, this point alone makes me believe punt returning actually doesn't translate well to his current Rugby position.
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Old 10-15-2014, 06:36 AM    (permalink
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I agree and disagree with you Oz on most of that. Ball carrying needs a combo of all those x's, and many even on nfl rosters at the moment lack some of them.

Not sure on your last point either. Fullbacks playing league have to jump in the air to take high balls as the wingers, etc are allowed to go up and challenge them in the air. Punt returners cant get challenged for the ball, so i highly doubt that would be an issue.

You are ultimately right in that he has a lot to learn and acclimatise too. But you cant tell me that he would be worse at returning kickoffs than andre freakin caldwell.
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Old 10-15-2014, 06:45 AM    (permalink
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There are one thing that you sort of have to know about him and have watched his career to comment on.

It's his smarts.(not sure how this translates to the NFL and RB as a position in particular). He's extremely smart as a ball carrier and has no wasted motion. If the play is dead. He stops fighting in an act to conserve energy levels and to try and speed up the play the ball. This inaction in a tackle would be seen as a negative in the NFL(because a RB has to fight for every yard even if the cause seems lost) but if as described it's just him measuring the situation for what it is then those smarts may well translate to the NFL.

I have always thought the biggest hurdle for an Australian making the jump to the NFL is learning an NFL playbook. Because Rugby League is a lot more open whereas pretty much anything that happens on an NFL field is planned. It's ALOT of information to process.

He will probably find his niche as a kick returner where he is at a level of any other KR in the NFL but at the end of the day. You aren't going to make an NFL roster for kick returning alone so hopefully he can make the switch as a Brian Westbrook type. Can sit at RB but also has plays designed as a Pass Catcher.(Completely optimistic to think he will have a role at three positions).

More likely then not. He will be lining up for Parramatta before the beginning of next season. Another Aussie tried this a few years ago and tried out for the Jets or Giants(Willie Mason). Failed miserably. While I think Hayne will make more of a go of it. At the end of the day. You are in the prime of your career and making the jump to a completely different type of sport. It's hard to see a situation where he would even make a practice squad let alone a team.
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Old 10-16-2014, 02:51 AM    (permalink
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Like the Redskins to give him a tryout.
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Old 10-16-2014, 05:32 PM    (permalink
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I'm wondering why the reverse doesn't happen. USA Rugby should go after more fringe NFL players. Guys who miss out on roster spots and practice squad are still probably great athletes. Not every player fits but there are surely some guys who could make an impact.
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Old 10-16-2014, 05:36 PM    (permalink
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I'm wondering why the reverse doesn't happen. USA Rugby should go after more fringe NFL players. Guys who miss out on roster spots and practice squad are still probably great athletes. Not every player fits but there are surely some guys who could make an impact.
As I understand it, there's some of this happening already. Very much in the early stages though. But yeah, the NFL is turning away some pretty damn good athletes because of how crazy deep the talent pool is. Makes all the sense in the world to go after those guys for rugby.
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Old 10-16-2014, 08:14 PM    (permalink
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As I understand it, there's some of this happening already. Very much in the early stages though. But yeah, the NFL is turning away some pretty damn good athletes because of how crazy deep the talent pool is. Makes all the sense in the world to go after those guys for rugby.
I would think that American footballer players would not be as well suited to rugby union (like USA rugby), but much better to rugby league (which is where Haynes came from). Rugby Union is a bit more of an aerobic sport with constant running, whereas league is a bit more explosive/start-stop.
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Old 10-17-2014, 06:28 AM    (permalink
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I always wondered why college players who don't make an NFL roster don't come to Aus/UK for rugby league - some of the skills required won't be there right away, but that's a transition that is far more realistic than Hayne's. Being the most athletic guy in the NRL is pretty much up for the taking, and would be worth something. I suppose it would signify giving up on an NFL career, which would be hard to do.

The NRL doesn't really seem to embrace stuff like that though. It's not like the NFL where you get a sense of genuine trendsetters and survival of the fittest. The NRL is more like an American highschool football division that is subsidized by enough poker machine money to keep the status quo going.
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Old 10-17-2014, 07:13 AM    (permalink
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For what it's worth, Hayne is a pretty damn good rugby league player. He isn't the absolute best, but he is damn close. That said, he has no chance. The skills aren't transferable at all sadly.
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Old 10-17-2014, 07:19 AM    (permalink
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There are one thing that you sort of have to know about him and have watched his career to comment on.

It's his smarts.(not sure how this translates to the NFL and RB as a position in particular). He's extremely smart as a ball carrier and has no wasted motion. If the play is dead. He stops fighting in an act to conserve energy levels and to try and speed up the play the ball. This inaction in a tackle would be seen as a negative in the NFL(because a RB has to fight for every yard even if the cause seems lost) but if as described it's just him measuring the situation for what it is then those smarts may well translate to the NFL.

I have always thought the biggest hurdle for an Australian making the jump to the NFL is learning an NFL playbook. Because Rugby League is a lot more open whereas pretty much anything that happens on an NFL field is planned. It's ALOT of information to process.

He will probably find his niche as a kick returner where he is at a level of any other KR in the NFL but at the end of the day. You aren't going to make an NFL roster for kick returning alone so hopefully he can make the switch as a Brian Westbrook type. Can sit at RB but also has plays designed as a Pass Catcher.(Completely optimistic to think he will have a role at three positions).

More likely then not. He will be lining up for Parramatta before the beginning of next season. Another Aussie tried this a few years ago and tried out for the Jets or Giants(Willie Mason). Failed miserably. While I think Hayne will make more of a go of it. At the end of the day. You are in the prime of your career and making the jump to a completely different type of sport. It's hard to see a situation where he would even make a practice squad let alone a team.
Willie Mason and Jarrad Hayne couldn't be further apart in terms of athleticism and intelligence. Mason had size. That is literally it.
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Old 10-17-2014, 09:29 AM    (permalink
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For what it's worth, Hayne is a pretty damn good rugby league player. He isn't the absolute best, but he is damn close. That said, he has no chance. The skills aren't transferable at all sadly.
He's a natural ballcarrier and runner. Yes there's a transition period but RB/KR is the one position that requires the least amount of coaching. It's one of those positions where you've either got it or you don't.

If Hayne can learn to read blocks and run lower, the foot quickness, power, speed and elusiveness are already there.

Christian Okoye was a discus thrower in Nigeria before he played I think a season at Azusa Pacific(??). He came into the NFL and was a dominant runner for a brief period.

This guy's run skills dwarf Okoye's who was more a north/south runner.

At worst IMO Hayne would need one year on some team's PS to learn the ropes in the NFL. After that he should be ready to go.

He's well worth the experiment.
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Old 10-17-2014, 02:18 PM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by niel89 View Post
I'm wondering why the reverse doesn't happen. USA Rugby should go after more fringe NFL players. Guys who miss out on roster spots and practice squad are still probably great athletes. Not every player fits but there are surely some guys who could make an impact.
There's no money in it. You literally have to start at the club level making zilch just to learn the nuances of the game (If your club is decent) and balancing time with holding down a job to support yourself. So you really are just playing for fun.

After playing college football for 4 years, I've been playing club level rugby for 2 and I don't know how much longer I can afford to keep playing. I would make more money playing club American football in another country or trying out for the Arena Leagues.

USA is in talks of creating a pay league and they just had a "rugby combine" where a ton of former NFL players took part. I really hope it gets started.
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Old 10-17-2014, 03:39 PM    (permalink
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Speaking of this, anyone think Lawrence Okoye will end up being anything?
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Old 10-17-2014, 06:13 PM    (permalink
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Speaking of this, anyone think Lawrence Okoye will end up being anything?
There's probably too much mentally Lawrence Okoye is responsible for as a 5 tech. His recognition of run versus pass I doubt is even at a basic HS level, which means Okoye is playing the game S-L-O-W.

I think he's a better fit in an attacking 43 scheme where he can play DE or 3 tech and attack upfield.

The tools are there but I don't follow the 49ers close enough to know how he's adapting to the pro game.

Is Lawrence Okoyer naturally aggressive enough to cover up his lack of instincts??

I still believe Okoye would have been best served by playing college football for at least a year.
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Old 10-17-2014, 09:36 PM    (permalink
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He's a natural ballcarrier and runner. Yes there's a transition period but RB/KR is the one position that requires the least amount of coaching. It's one of those positions where you've either got it or you don't.

If Hayne can learn to read blocks and run lower, the foot quickness, power, speed and elusiveness are already there.
RB is by far the most saturated position in football, hence why it is so hard to "make it" at the NFL level at that position. The average male height in America is in that 5'8-5'10 range which is essentially prototypical RB height, thus there is no shortage of athletic guys who play the RB position...especially once you account that your best "Youth" (PeeWee to High School) football players tend to get thrown in at RB where their talents can be exploited best, and the result is a lot of premier athletes who grew up playing RB. I don't think his chances at RB are good at all. The biggest obstacle is pass protection; if you can't block, you're nothing more than a change-of-pace back in the NFL. There are no shortage of GOOD runners who struggle to get playing time in the NFL because they can't pass protect at the required level. Tre Mason just got his first game-action last week due to his pass-protection troubles and he was a highly drafted RB who dominated major NCAA football; not some fairly athletic Australian rugby guy who's never played a down of American football.

Even if you want to talk about his speed (one of his best attributes in rugby); he's only marginally "fast" by NFL standards at RB/KR/PR. As far as I can tell his best 100 meter time is 11.20 seconds. There are HS kids in America who run faster than that in literally every major state that football is played in. We're not talking about a guy who is in the top 1% athletically here; he's not really special at all by NFL RB standards, and as a KR he is definitely slower than the guys who you'd actually consider to be difference makers returning kicks.

His best bet in the NFL is at H-Back (if he can pick up the nuances required, which is debatable) and as a Gunner on Special Teams. I don't think he'd be anything special in the NFL returning punts/kicks...and at RB you're going to have to argue that he's better than literally dozens of guys who are just as athletic as him, while he likely can't pass protect at all.
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Old 10-19-2014, 10:05 PM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by FUNBUNCHER View Post
He's a natural ballcarrier and runner. Yes there's a transition period but RB/KR is the one position that requires the least amount of coaching. It's one of those positions where you've either got it or you don't.

If Hayne can learn to read blocks and run lower, the foot quickness, power, speed and elusiveness are already there.

Christian Okoye was a discus thrower in Nigeria before he played I think a season at Azusa Pacific(??). He came into the NFL and was a dominant runner for a brief period.

This guy's run skills dwarf Okoye's who was more a north/south runner.

At worst IMO Hayne would need one year on some team's PS to learn the ropes in the NFL. After that he should be ready to go.

He's well worth the experiment.
The biggest impediment is his age. What team is willing to give an extended look to a guy who will be 27 before TC next season and has never played a down of gridiron at any level. His skill isn't what will stop him from succeeding as with enough training and talent, he probably could cut it at this level. I hope I'm wrong though.
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Old 10-19-2014, 11:19 PM    (permalink
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Didn't realize he was closer to 30 than 22.
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