POLYNESIANS IN THE 2020 NFL DRAFT - HISTORY MAKERS!
This years 2020 NFL Draft held this weekend was the 85th annual meeting of NFL franchises to select newly eligible players for the 2020 NFL Season.
Players who have been out of high school for at least 3 years are eligible for the NFL draft and this years draft was highly anticipated by many Samoan NFL fans this year with Alabama Crimson Tide star Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and Iowa Hawkeyes Football Defensive End AJ Epenesa, both eligible for the draft.
This year due to the Coronavirus outbreak the draft was held from the 23rd - 25th of April via video conferencing and made NFL history as the largest Polynesian Draft Class with 11 players of Polynesian heritage being picked up by NFL franchises in this years draft.
Polynesian Football Hall of Fame stated yesterday at the conclusion of the draft "Polynesians represent 5.4% of the top 204 players selected in the 2020 NFL Draft, despite being only 0.3% of the U.S. population (18x community size)"
Polynesian 2020 Draft Picks in order below:
Samoan Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was drafted by the Miami Dolphins with their first pick and the drafts fifth overall pick. He was the only Polynesian picked in the 1st round of the draft on Friday afternoon (NZ time).
Samoan Defensive End AJ Epenesa was the next Polynesian to be drafted in the 2nd round and 54th overall pick by the Buffalo Bills.
Samoan Defensive Back Julian Blackmon was selected by the Indianpolis Colts with their 3rd round, (85th overall) pick.
Samoan/Tongan Tight End Devin Asiasi was selected in the 3rd round with the 91st overall pick by the New England Patriots.
Tongan Defensive Tackle George "Leki" Fotu (former Rugby Union player) was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the 4th round with the 114th overall pick.
Samoan Centre Keith Ismael was selected by the Washington Redskins in the 5th round, 156th overall pick.
Samoan/Cook Islander Defensive End Bradlee Anae was selected in the 5th round with the 179th overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys.
Tongan (Born and Raised) Offensive Lineman Netani Muti was selected in the 6th round by the Denver Broncos with the 181st overall pick
Native Hawaiian Safety Alohi Gilman was selected in the 6th round by the Los Angeles Chargers with the 186th overall pick
Tongan Defensive Tackle John Penisini was selected by the Detroit Lions in the 6th round, 197th overall
Samoan Linebacker Cassh Maluia was selected by the New England Patriots in the 6th round with the 204th overall pick.
While the goal is to be picked up in the NFL draft there are also a number of Polynesian players who have been picked up as free agents after the draft. As free agents they have the choice to sign with any team that made them an offer, however the terms of the contract are uncertain and they'll need to work hard in preseason training to secure a spot on the season roster.
Polynesians who have signed as free agents since the draft over the weekend are as follows:
Siaosi Mariner (Samoan) - Las Vegas Raiders
Noah Togiai (Samoan) - Philadelphia Eagles
Darrin Paulo (Samoan) - New Orleans Saints
David Moa (Tongan) - Minnesota Vikings
Ray Lima (Samoan) - Miami Dolphins
Breiden Fehoko (Tongan) - Los Angeles Chargers
Aleva Hifo (Tongan) - Kansas City Chiefs
Tipa Galeai (Samoan) - Greenbay Packers
Frederick Mauigoa (Samoan) - Carolina Panthers
Sailosi Latu (Tongan) - Atlanta Falcons
Charlie Taumoepeau (Tongan) - Dallas Cowboys
Branden Bowen (Tongan) - Carolina Panthers
Wishing all our Polynesian players the best as they start their NFL journeys and careers.