Hayne had two training sessions with an Australian University team where he played as a wide receiver on offence and a safety in defence.
Hayne is a fantastic athlete and I wrote last month that if Hayne took a different sporting pathway at a younger age he could have become an NFL player. A great athlete is a great athlete, it is just a matter of getting in the repetitions and having the right instincts for for right sport.
As a wide receiver Hayne wouldn’t lose out too much in terms of instinct. He would need to learn the play book (Which isn’t an easy thing to do!) but once he did he would know exactly where he needed to be.
As a safety though he would need to make decisions based on what he sees in the offence. Physically he would be up to playing safety but to get the instincts and know where he needs to be would be a major issue.
I think Hayne might be better as a tight end. Tight ends in the NFL are fairly versatile players, blocking on some plays, playing as a receiver in others. I think the situations he would find himself receiving the ball in as a tight end would be better suited to his skill set and ability to make players miss tackles.
In reality however Hayne shouldn’t even think about the NFL. His next contract in the NRL will be for well over $1 million per season which is more than a “project” would earn in the NFL.
A lot of NRL players look at the money on offer in the NFL and would love a piece of it. Few realise that very good NFL players get ruthlessly cut all the time, and teams don’t need to pay out their full contract value if they cut a player.
If Hayne signs an NRL contract when he comes off contract, even if his form drops off or he gets a season ending injury before the season kicks off, he gets every cent entitled to him under his contract.
Still, you should expect things like this to come out over the next 10 months or so. Expect Hayne to be off to Super League, European Rugby Union, Japanese Rugby Union…he will be eyeing the NBA at some point…it’s all a way to get the biggest contract possible out of the Parramatta Eels and more importantly an effort to try and shake down the NRL to sign him up to one of their central contracts.