By Michael Luxford.
On Wednesday the NRL community was shocked as yet another star of the game announced he is leaving the NRL. Dally M player of the year Jarryd Hayne has pulled out of the upcoming four nations and confirmed he’s leaving the Parramatta Eels to pursue a career in the NFL.
In an emotional press conference, Hayne made it clear that this is something he has been thinking about for two years. The Parramatta Eels released their star number one and captain on the condition that if he ever returns to the NRL, it will be with the Eels.
So will Hayne make it in the NFL?
Let’s assume that Hayne makes the 53 man roster, where would he play?
Had Hayne been an NFL player his whole life, this would be the position he would be playing. No doubt he has the speed, strength and skill, but does he have the knowledge to understand the game? While the main role of the running back is to make yards and convert downs, they also have the added responsibility of running block plays. This is where Hayne may struggle to understand the breakdown of the play, and become a liability in offence.
Again, if Hayne had the experience under his belt, he would be able to play wide receiver. But without the experience one would have to think it’s impossible for him to make the transition. The complex routes take a lifetime to master.
If Hayne put on a couple of pounds, he may be able to fit in as a tight-end, although this would appear unlikely.
Hayne has arguably the biggest boot in the NRL and would have no trouble punting the K-Ball 50+ yards. But would he really leave the NRL just to be a punter?
This is the closest position to fullback and would be ideal for Hayne, at least to start. Broken field play is what the NSW fullback loves to exploit and it has led to some magical moments over his eight year NRL career. He has the ability to become one of the elite kick returners in the NFL, which could see him get a shot at other positions.
Whether Hayne makes it in the NFL or not is a matter of time, but every NRL fan will be watching his progress closely, and will no doubt welcome him back to the NRL with open arms if things don’t go according to plan.
Read more about the Dally M player of the year in the latest TAT Sport Magazine
Image courtesy of Fox NRL