For a guy who had never worn a football helmet prior to being drafted, preseason football means everything. Every game, every practice, and every snap is vital in proving that you belong.
Mailata, who was drafted 233rd overall last year really was a feel-good story. The Australian former Rugby player, who was cut because he had too much muscle and couldn’t lose weight, was a long shot at best. Early in camp last year, he had his hands full with guys like Joe Ostman as well. He showed enough potential for the Eagles to keep him around, but the sparkles slowly faded as expectations of development started to weight down as he entered year number two.
However, the progress of the 6’8″ 346 lbs athlete has exceeded expectations, and in the 3rd preseason game vs Ravens, the second-year offensive lineman looked like a quality NFL player.
Strong in the running game
Being as big as he is, running a 5.12 sec 40 time and 4.62 sec shuttle, all it comes down to in open space is dropping the hips, moving the feet, and getting those massive 35.5-inch arms on defenders. That’s much easier said than done, however, Mailata was solid in blocking defenders at the second level:
Moving interior defenders is a strength of Mailata, as it takes less movement adjustment and more power, which he yet again displayed vs Ravens.
All in all, there weren’t many plays where he missed on blocks and assignments in the running game, which was recognized by PFF who gave him a team-high score of 91 in run blocking.
Some bad, mostly good on passing downs
After spending all of 2018 preseason at left tackle, Mailata is working the right tackle as of now. You can easily tell adjusting after pass setting is the biggest challenge for him. Judging the leverage and directional movement of edge rushers is challenging, and responding in a snap second even harder.
There were bad plays in between, but mostly he looked comfortable passing- and picking up stunts, had a good push at initial contact, stayed in balance when making contact, driving speed rushes upfield. He was beaten especially on an inside move, which he later picked up nicely, showing good in-game adjustment.
Ultimately, Mailata earned a poor 50.7 pass-blocking grade, confirming this is an area where he struggles, but also an area he improves on and shows good things on film.
Enjoy game 4 vs Jets
Let me start off by saying: this is by no means a make or break game for Mailata. He isn’t going anywhere. He has improved too much and showed too many good things to give up on now. In fact, I’d take Mailata over a dozen backup tackles in the NFL.
On Thursday we will probably (and hopefully) see the last of the Aussie Mountain for 2019. From there, Mailata’s spot is on the bench as the 2019 regular season rolls along!
Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Your unlikely and favorite Danish Eagles writer. Born and raised in Denmark. Football player for 15 years. Physician.