Darren Bennett doubts Valentine Holmes can make it to the NFL
Former American Football punter Darren Bennett has doubts ex-NRL star Valentine Holmes has what it takes to make it to the NFL.
Holmes stunned the rugby league world just months ago – when he announced he would be quitting the code – in a bid to make it in arguably one of the toughest sports in the world.
The former Cronulla Shark has followed the lead of Jarryd Hayne and a host of AFL players who have attempted to make the switch over to American Football.
Bennett himself was a former AFL star – kicking over 200 goals for West Coast and Melbourne – before starring in the US as a punter with San Diego and Minnesota.
The 54-year-old says Holmes’ size could limit his chances of making it to the big time.
“Honestly, unless your someone like Jordan Mailata who’s just an unbelievable specimen as a human being,” Bennett said.
“I worked with Jarryd Hayne for about a month before he tried out at San Francisco and he was the punt returner at the time, I looked at him and went ‘the athleticism for rugby’ is tremendous, but it doesn’t equate to the NFL athlete.
“When Jarryd got here, he saw what a mountain it is to climb.
“I tip my hat to these rugby guys who are coming across, it’s a lot harder path than they think it it is and they’re a lot less of an athlete than they think they are when they get here.
“There’s some tremendous athletes over here – in saying that bring them on – I love seeing the Australians come over.
“I think Jordan Mailata’s going to have a great career there, but he’s six foot, eight, 350 pounds, I don’t care what sport you play, you’re going to have a chance to dominate and Philadelphia have really handled him very well.
“I love watching the Aussies come out and try out here.”
The 23-year-old has also won a place in the NFL’s 2019 International Player Pathway Program – a program for elite international athletes to compete and improve their skills to earn a spot on an NFL roster.
Holmes came in at 185cm and 90kg while playing in the NRL. He is training to become a wide receiver.
Click ‘play’ to hear the full interview below.