NFL mini camps are normally well under way at this point of the calendar and thanks to COVID-19 we are not getting our normal NFL hold over fix so here is the Australians in the NFL 2020 update.
Each year we would take a look at the Aussies in the NFL and their chance of making the final 53 man roster. Right now as we put this article together there are six Australians on rosters with Lac Edwards and Adam Gotsis who are currently free agents after the Jets and Broncos chose not to resign them.
We also have defensive end Matt Leo, who played his college at Iowa State. He has been assigned to the Philadelphia Eagles for the upcoming season as part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program.
Berry is going into his 6th season with the Steelers and has played more NFL games than any other active Australian on this list.
Going into his second season of a two-year deal Berry will be a free agent at the end of this season and the Steelers have signed rookie Corliss Waitman out of South Alabama to battle with Berry for the job.
Berry is on a relatively team-friendly contract and we would expect him to win the job and make the final 53.
Johnston has been the Eagles punter for the last two seasons and has been pretty good during that time. In March 2020 the Eagles signed Johnston (who was a restricted free agent) to a one year deal for a reported $750k.
Since the start of the 2018 season, Johnston is third in the NFL in gross punting average (47.2) and fifth in the NFL in net punting average (42.5). We would be very surprised of Johnston did not make the final roster with the Eagles.
Dickson was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the fifth round, 149th overall, of the 2018 NFL Draft and has enjoyed two solid seasons as the Seahawks punter.
Dickson is currently the only punter on the Seahawks roster and has two seasons to run on his current deal so we will see Dickson on the Seattle roster come the start of the season.
Wishnowsky was selected in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft after a college career with the University of Utah, where he won the Ray Guy Award and was a unanimous All-American as a sophomore in 2016.
Wishnowsky had a solid rookie season in 2019 but will need to build on it and improve if he wants to claim the 49ers punting job as his own. The 49ers have not brought in another punter to battle with Wishnowsky for the 2020 punting role at this stage so we expect he will make the roster.
Originally drafted back in 2018 Mailata has not appeared in an NFL regular-season game spending both seasons on the practice squad and finishing both seasons on IR.
This is without questions the toughest player to evaluate out of all the Australians. He will have to have an amazing training camp and pre-season if he is take a spot on the final 53 man roster.
Ex-AFL Saint Arryn Siposs signed a 3 year, $2,300,000 contract with the Detroit Lions after going undrafted in the 2020 draft earlier this year.
As we all know a three-year deal means very little when you are an undrafted free agent but there had been interested in the 27-year-olds services with both the Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets enquiring after him.
Siposs is going into training camp against Jack Fox who played his college ball at Rice in Texas. From best we can tell this will be a wide open competition with neither player having NFL regular season experience.
Siposs has experience as a professional athlete which many in the NFL may hold in high esteem and might just be the edge he needs.
Adam Gotsis, a former second round draft pick the highest for any Australian has been an on-again, off-again starter for the Broncos from 2017-19.
In 2019, Gotsis’ first year under new head coach Vic Fangio, was actually benched in the middle of the season and was a healthy scratch for a few weeks. He ended up coming back later in the season and playing decent, but the writing has been on the wall for Gotsis.
Gotsis suffered another ACL injury and finished the season on IR, this will make it tough to him to find a new home as I would not expect a team to sign him if he can’t work out for the team and pass a physical.
We might see a team take a chance on him after the start of the season who will like not having to risk guaranteeing the contract.
Lac Edwards is the other free agent Australian, I was surprised New York did not choose to bring Edwards back.
Edwards has been the definition of reliable for the Jets the last three seasons. In 2019, he finished 13th in the league in punts inside the 20 with 28. Edwards also recorded only three touchbacks and his punts netted an average of seven yards per return.
All things considered, there was not much of a reason to move on from Edwards but they did.
I think Edwards has a chance to find work during the pre-season or into the regular season. If a punter gets injured keep an eye out for Edwards getting a work out with that team.
Thanks for reading the Australians in the NFL 2020 update, we looking forward to bringing you more new as NFL camps open across the USA.