The New England Patriots are trying to outwit the rest of the NFL again. This time the team is extending tryout offers to Australian rugby player Brock Davies and Indoor Football League kicker Josh Gable.
The Patriots already found success with one rugby player, Nate Ebner, although he played two seasons of college football at Ohio State before becoming New England’s sixth-round draft pick in 2012.
They’re hoping to strike gold twice by bringing in another former rugby player with special teams experience.
Brock Davies is more Nate Ebner than Jarryd Hayne
Davies has a similar amount of experience, playing two seasons as a defensive lineman and special teamer at Colorado State-Pueblo after a brief professional rugby career.
He represented Australia in international competition and played rugby professionally in France and England. But now at age 26, he’s close to achieving his dream of playing in the NFL.
CSU-Pueblo defensive product
Brock Davies turns heads
at CU-Boulder's pro day.
10'3 broad jump..
4.71sec.. 40yard dash
Impressive!!!! ???? pic.twitter.com/5FTOtqruDZ
— Darius J Allen (@iamdariusallen3) March 9, 2017
Davies has more football experience than Jarryd Hayne did when he signed with the San Francisco 49ers in 2015. Hayne retired after one season in the NFL — he appeared in eight games and finished with seven rushes for 52 yards — opting instead to attempt to play in the 2016 Summer Olympics with the Fiji rugby sevens team.
Josh Gable used the internet to catch eyes
Gable, 26, is another player with a winding, untraditional road to minicamp with the Patriots. He played high school football but then began a professional soccer career, spending time playing in Belgium and Italy.
He began his pro football career in 2015 with the Iowa Barnstormers and now plays for the Nebraska Danger. Gable has unimpressive stats, by NFL standards, with successful field goals on 29 of 80 attempts, but that is hurt by slimmer uprights in the Indoor Football League.
What makes Gable interesting is his long list of videos showing his big leg and trick-shot abilities. He’s posted videos of a successful 80-yard field goal and trick shots that were part of his sales pitch to NFL teams, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss.
Rarely do players turn a tryout opportunity into a real impact on the field, but the Patriots have always been willing to think outside the box. With Davies and Gable, New England is continuing to leave no stone unturned.