BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots are known for finding valuable players in the most unusual of places. Take Nate Ebner, a rugby player who under Bill Belichick developed from a 2012 sixth-round pick into a second-team All-Pro special teams player last season.
This summer, the Patriots are going back to the rugby field to find potential talent.
ESPN’s Mike Reiss posted a new story on Friday about 26-year-old Brock Davies, a former professional rugby player who is chasing his dream of playing NFL football. Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio reportedly informed Davies’ agent Jack Bechta that he will invite Davies to the team’s upcoming minicamp.
Davies, who was born in New Zealand, played for Team Australia in international rugby competitions before playing professionally for three years. He eventually came to the United States to go to college at Colorado State University-Pueblo, where he was a walk-on for the football team. Sound familiar?
With a shot to try out for the Patriots, Davies has an opportunity to develop into the Australian Ebner. His chances of making the team certainly sound slim at this point; Caserio reportedly said that Davies “could be competitive in camp” if he switches to linebacker or fullback (he played on the defensive line and special teams at Colorado State-Pueblo). But the Patriots’ interest in Davies speaks to the team’s diligence in looking for players in unconventional places.
They’ve already invited an Indoor Football League kicker known for trick shots to minicamp. Why not try to strike gold with another rugby player?