NFL is holding open try outs in NZ this week as they scour the Pacific for athletic talent

Are you among the best athletes in New Zealand? If you are, the NFL wants you.

The highest echelon of American football is offering the best athletes from across NZ and the south Pacific an almost once-in-a-lifetime shot at potentially playing in the NFL.

Athletes will be given until virtually the last minute to register for testing days that are being held in Auckland (August 29) and Wellington (September 2) this week (full details at the bottom of the story) with try outs also being held Fiji, Samoa, Brisbane and Sydney.

With the likes of former rugby or league players Jordan Mailata, Jarryd Hayne and Paul Lasike recently having made it to NFL rosters, the league is scouring the south Pacific for athletic talent.

Registrations are open to any athletes aged between 21 and 25 in the year 2019 with applicants to be put through the five drills that are used to test NFL hopefuls at the pre-draft combine.

Those drills are the 40-yard dash, the vertical jump, the broad jump (jumping horizontally from a standing start) and the shuttle drill and three-cone drill which are both used to evaluate an athlete’s explosiveness and ability to change direction.

The best 75 athletes from those testing days will be brought to the Gold Coast for the combine in October.

From there, up to five athletes will enter the NFL international pathway program that includes a fully-funded three-month training program at the IMG Academy in Florida.

The athletes will then enter the NFL draft or be placed with an NFL franchise.

A premium will be put on size, speed and agility with the combine website listing physical attributes for each position group.

Defensive or offensive lineman in the league are typically 188cm (6 foot 2) and above and weigh between 125 and 150kg while still being able to move short distances relatively quickly.

Conversely speed and agility are highly valued commodities in receivers and defensive backs, with players in those positions typically between 180 and 196cm with a weight between 85kg and 105kg.

Running back is the other position listed on the combine website, with the guidelines saying backs in the NFL are typically between 178cm and 188cm and weight 95 to 105kg with an emphasis again on speed and an ability to change direction quickly.

Giving applicants some hope will be the fact that several current NFL players grew up primarily playing other sports including Green Bay tight end Jimmy Graham, who played basketball in college, and New England special teamer Nate Ebner, who grew up playing rugby and even competed for the USA at the Rio Olympics in sevens.

Full details for the New Zealand testing days below. 

Auckland

Date: Wednesday 29th August

Time: 9am Registration / Testing beings at 10am 

Wellington

Date: Sunday 1st September

Time: 10am registration / 11am testing begins

Venue: Wellington College  - 15 Dufferin street, Basin Reserve, Wellington 

Former Australian rugby league player Jordan Mailata, who was recently drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles, fronted the video for the NFL International Combine.