Throughout the years there have been many Polynesians who have made it to the NFL as both free agents and NFL draftees. From the legendary Jack “The Throwin Samoan” Thompson to the now spot lighted Marcus Mariota, Polynesians have a long and rich history of top prospects. Here are some of the historical first round picks that have had an impact on our entry and growth into the game of football.
– Elmer Faumuina, 20th overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the 1977 draft
– Jack Thompson, 3rd overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1979 draft
– Manu’ula Tuiasosopo, 18th overall by the Seattle Seahawks in the 1979 draft
– Jr. Seau, 5th Overall by the San Diego Chargers in the 1990 draft
– Luther Eliss, 20th overall in the 1995 draft
– Troy Polamalu, 16th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2003 draft
– Etuini Haloti Ngata, 12th overall by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2006 draft
– Tyson Alualu, 10th overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2010 draft
– Michael Iupati, 17th overall in the 2010 draft
– Star Lotulelei, 14th overall by the Carolina Panthers in the 2013 draft
The Polynesian presence in the NFL Draft is no secret. There have been many Polynesians selected in the first round who went on to have long and successful careers however, this year’s 2015 NFL draft marks only the third time in NFL history that two Polynesians were projected to be selected in the first round. Marcus Mariota of the Oregon Ducks is projected by most to be picked within the top 5, while Danny Shelton is projected to be picked within the top ten. If both players are selected within the first ten picks, this draft would mark the first time in NFL history that two Polynesian players were picked within the top ten.
Danny Shelton is known for tearing through offensive linemen with his abnormal size and quick feet at 6-2, 340 lbs, while Marcus Mariota is known for his ability to run the ball and pick a part defenses with his arm. It’s an exciting time for Polynesian athletes, fans, and families as our legacy in the NFL continues to grow. We can only wish are best to those entering this new chapter of their lives as they continue to represent our traditions, values, and culture. Here’s to another year of football!