One of Australia’s finest Rugby League players, Jarryd Hayne announced he was quitting Rugby League to turn his attention and focus to making it in the NFL.
It’s a huge task and the fact that he hasn’t grown up with the sport makes it even more challenging.
Jarryd Hayne is an elite athlete and has represented his country and played at the highest level. His natural sporting ability will stand him in good stead.
Here are reasons why Jarryd Hayne will make it in the NFL and also reasons why he won’t.


  1. Experience under a high ball- No kick he will ever have to try and catch will be as hard as what he has had in the NRL. Players aren’t allowed to even touch him when he is fielding a punt and every kick he catches will be uncontested.
  2. Toughness- The tackles in the NFL won’t scare him at all. They are no stronger or more intense than what he has experienced during State of Origin.
  3. Elusive- Hayne has always been elusive in NRL and this will help him as a punt returner. He will have the whole field to play with. He will also have team mates who can actually clear the path for him (blockers) and make it easier to run.
  4. He is a patient player- Good runners of the ball don’t just run without direction. They make quick assessments of holes and run into them.
  5. Regional Combines- Between February and the end of March, 2015, Hayne will attend Regional Combines. These are open days, where any player may try out to become an NFL player. These are often used by athletes from other sports who are trying to break into NFL. If he is successful here he will be invited to the Super Regional Combine in April, 2015, where he will perform tests in front of NFL club scouts and player personnel.
  1. Rules- He needs to learn the rules and just as importantly, completely forget all the rules he has from Rugby League
  2. Holding the ball- He needs to learn how to hold the ball again. Holding it in one hand or out in front will not work. He needs to learn to hold the ball and cross his arms, to protect the ball and then run.
  3. Speed- Many NFL players are track and field stars who could pursue Olympic careers. Hayne is fast, but compared to the American athletes he is just not fast enough. If he can make his 40 yard (around 37m) time around 4.69 seconds it will help. If he is under this time, it will get attention.
  4. Limited skill set- Not many teams want just a specialised punt returner. In a 53 man roster, teams want their punt returner to also play other positions. For Hayne to play another position like running back or wide receiver he will need to understand the playbook. The playbook is literally thousands of different plays which could occur.
  5. Time- Hayne has not grown up with the game. 12 months is a very short time frame to give himself. He only has between now and March 2015 to learn about the game and work on explosive speed and strength. It’s a very short window to try and make it in the most competitive and specialised game in the world.

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