By PAT LEONARD | NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Maybe one day, Roy Mbaeteka can be the Giants’ Jordan Mailata.
The Giants signed Mbaeteka, a 6-9, 320-pound Nigerian offensive tackle, out of the NFL’s international pathway program on Friday, the team announced.
He has no high school or college football experience. The team says former star Giants pass rusher Osi Umenyiora has mentored Mbaeteka, 22, and first saw him at a camp in Nigeria in May 2021.
“Hard to describe what has just happened here,” tweeted Umenyiora, who spent part of his childhood in Nigeria. “I’m an emotional wreck. What this means for so many people where We come from is impossible to explain.”
Back in 2018, the division rival Philadelphia Eagles used a seventh round pick on Mailata, an Australian rugby player in the international pathway program. He has developed into their 6-8, 365-pound franchise left tackle under revered offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland.
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Mbaeteka was selected to train at the NFL Academy in London in October and was one of 13 players chosen to compete for a spot in the 2022 international pathway program.
He then participated in a recent NFL showcase in Arizona, where the Giants said scout Jeremy Breit was impressed. The team flew Mbaeteka to New Jersey on Thursday and signed him Friday.
They hope this is only the beginning of the unlikely story of Mbaeteka’s path to the pros.