Jordan Mailata, the Eagles’ massive long-range Aussie offensive tackle project, won’t be making his NFL debut this year.
The Eagles placed Mailata on injured reserve Friday to add linebacker and special teams depth.
Mailata first appeared on the Eagles’ injury report on Thursday with a back issue that kept him out of practice. He was a full participant at practice on Wednesday, so it’s unclear exactly what happened or when.
The Eagles announced the move after head coach Doug Pederson had met with reporters covering the team.
Mailata, an Australian professional rugby player of Samoan descent, was the Eagles’ seventh-round draft pick this past fall despite having no organized football experience.
Nonetheless, he showed a remarkable level of strength, power and athleticism at offensive tackle during the preseason, and the Eagles made sure to keep him on the 53-man roster so they wouldn’t lose him.
With Jason Peters turning 37 in January and often injured, Mailata is seen as a possible heir apparent to the future Hall of Fame tackle. Or possibly a future right tackle if Lane Johnson eventually replaces Peters at left tackle.
Mailata, who stands 6-foot-8, 345 pounds, is 21 and doesn’t turn 22 until March. He was the fourth-youngest offensive lineman on an active roster in the NFL this year.
Mailata dressed out for three games — the Panthers, the first Cowboys game and the second Giants game — but didn’t play. He was inactive for the 10 others.
With the open roster spot, the Eagles signed linebacker B.J. Bello off their practice squad.
Bello, 24, went undrafted out of Illinois State last year. He signed with the Browns and spent the year on their 53-man roster, playing in all 16 games, with 73 snaps on defense and 294 on special teams.
He was released on Sept. 1 this fall and spent a couple weeks on the Cards’ practice squad before getting released on Sept. 18.
The Eagles signed him to their practice squad on Oct. 16.
Mailata becomes the 12th player to go on Injured Reserve for the Eagles this year. One of those, tight end Richard Rodgers, was activated off IR back to the 53 on Nov. 16.
LB Paul Worrilow, June 13 (torn ACL)
WR Mack Hollins, Sept. 6 (groin)
WR Mike Wallace, Sept. 19 (fractured fibula)
S Rodney McLeod, Sept. 29 (torn ACL)
RB Jay Ajayi, Oct. 8 (torn ACL in left knee)
DE Derek Barnett, Oct. 25 (torn rotator cuff in shoulder)
TE Josh Perkins, Nov. 16 (knee)
CB Ronald Darby, Nov. 17 (torn ACL in right knee)
CB Jalen Mills, Dec. 8 (foot)
RB Corey Clement, Dec. 11 (knee)
DE Josh Sweat, Dec. 11 (ankle)
OL Jordan Mailata, Dec. 14 (back)
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