Seven Samoans drafted to N.F.L., seven more sign contracts

After stars Tua Tagovailoa and A.J. Epenesa were picked up in the first couple rounds of the N.F.L. Draft over the weekend, a further 12 Samoans were acquired by teams.

Next off the board came Julian Blackmon, a safety from the University of Utah picked by the Indianapolis Colts in the third round on Saturday, 85th overall.

U.C.L.A. tight end Devin Asiasi heard his name called six picks later when he was selected by the New England Patriots towards the end of day two of the Draft.

On Sunday in the fifth round, San Diego State center Keith Ismael was picked 156th overall by the Washington Redskins, before Blackmon's college teammate, defensive end Bradlee Anae, went to the Dallas Cowboys with the 179th selection.

Wyoming linebacker Cassh Maluia also heard his name called when the Patriots took their second Samoan of the draft 204th overall in the sixth round.

After the seven rounds were completed on Sunday, a flurry of undrafted free agents were signed to teams over the next day or so.

The Carolina Panthers snapped up Samoan Washington State center Frederick Mauioga, and the Green Bay Packers gave a contract to Utah State defensive end Tipa Galeai.

His college teammate Siaosi Mariner came to terms with the Las Vegas Raiders, where he might get to receive passes from a fellow Samoan in quarterback Marcus Mariota, who was acquired by the team last month.

Two defensive linemen in Iowa State's Ray Lima and Louisiana State's Breiden Fehoko were picked up by the Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Chargers respectively.

On the other side of the line of scrimmage, Utah's Darrin Paulo signed a deal with the New Orleans Saints.

Oregon State tight end Noah Togiai was snapped up by the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Samoans drafted contributed to the largest Polynesian draft class in N.F.L. history according to the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame, with 5.4 per cent of the top 204 picks selected having Polynesian heritage.

Only 0.3 per cent of the entire U.S.A. population have Polynesian heritage, meaning those selected were 18 times more likely to come from Samoa, Tonga, Hawai'i or the Cook Islands.

2020 NFL Draft Summary:

Round 1, 5th overall pick
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (Miami Dolphins)

Round 2, 54th overall pick
Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa (Buffalo Bills)

Round 3, 85th overall pick
Utah safety Julian Blackmon (Indianapolis Colts)

Round 3, 91st overall pick
UCLA tight end Devin Asiasi (New England Patriots)

Round 5, 156th overall pick
San Diego State center Keith Ismael (Washington Redskins)

Round 5, 179th overall pick
Utah defensive end Bradlee Anae (Dallas Cowboys)

Round 6, 204th overall pick
Wyoming linebacker Cassh Maluia (New England Patriots)

Undrafted Free Agent Signings

Utah State wide receiver Siaosi Mariner (Las Vegas Raiders)
Oregon State tight end Noah Togiai (Philadelphia Eagles)
Utah offensive lineman Darrin Paulo (New Orleans Saints)
Iowa State defensive lineman Ray Lima (Miami Dolphins)
LSU defensive lineman Breiden Fehoko (Los Angeles Chargers)
Utah State defensive end Tipa Galeai (Green Bay Packers)

Washington State center Frederick Mauioga (Carolina Panthers)

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