17 Oct 2014

NFL keen on Hayne

6:31 am on 17 October 2014

Jarryd Hayne's dream of playing in the NFL received a significant boost when Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll described him as "an incredible athlete".

Jarryd Hayne in action for the Eels in May

Jarryd Hayne in action for the Eels in May Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Barely a day after the Parramatta fullback's shock announcement that he will move to the United States to have a crack at the NFL, scouts and veteran players weren't surprised Carroll has his eye on the NRL superstar.

Carroll's Super Bowl champion Seahawks and other innovative NFL clubs, including the Indianapolis Colts, are known for seeking the unorthodox and will not miss an opportunity to take a close look at two-time Dally M Medal winner Hayne.

"He's definitely going to get an opportunity," said the NFL's director of football development Matt Birk, who was a six-time Pro Bowl selection.

Asked about Hayne's move to quit the NRL and seek a career in NFL, Carroll was reluctant to confirm whether the Seahawks were interested but he clearly knew of Hayne's talent.

"He's an incredible athlete and a great competitor, so we'll see where it goes," said Carroll at a media conference.

"I've always thought it would be cool to recruit down (in Australia) and all that because there are some great players and it (rugby league) is a great game.

"It's a very physical and demanding game, so those guys have all the same stuff we're looking for in our guys."

Hayne's surprise departure from NRL made news in the US, with NFL.com featuring a story on the 26-year-old and publications including USA Today, The Denver Post, Wall Street Journal and Detroit Free Press carrying stories.

Key will be Hayne's workouts with teams.

They will put him through a battery of physical tests, including the 40 yard dash, vertical and

broad jumps, the three cone drill to test his explosive speed and ability to change direction.

Almost every centimetre of Hayne's body will be measured, they will look into his background for character issues and test his intelligence.

The odds are stacked against him, but Hayne's lack of NFL experience mixed with his physical gifts could be viewed as a plus by some teams.

"The appealing thing about this player is he is probably in a lot of way a blank slate," Birk said.

"He doesn't have any bad habits.

"He realises he has to learn from square one and that's very exciting for a pro coach to be able to mould a guy who is that gifted."

Former Cleveland Browns scout and publisher of the GM Jr Draft Guide, Russ Lande, said the fact Hayne has offensive and defensive skills developed through rugby league made him a valuable prospect.

He could end up playing an offensive position like running back or a defensive wrecking ball as an outside linebacker.

"They can basically sign him and say, 'We're going to choose what you do'," Lande said.

"You want to see if he is athletic enough to be a ball carrier.

"If he isn't, you'd look at him as an outside linebacker."

Hayne's decision to make the move in October is perfect timing, giving him time to workout before the 2015/16 season.

"Ideally he'd get signed early next year and then spend the whole off season with a team practicing and learning so he has a great feel before he goes to training camp," the scout said.

"Most likely you're talking about a practice squad player.

"It is unlikely he'd make a team on the 53 man roster his first season playing NFL, but if you look at the kid, his size looks good."