The Giants signed OT Roy Mbaeteka, the team announced Friday.
The 6-9, 320-pound offensive tackle from Nigeria has no high school or college football experience.
The NFL held a showcase for the international players in Arizona that was attended by Giants scout Jeremy Breit, who was so impressed with Mbaeteka that the team flew him to New Jersey yesterday and signed him Friday.
Former Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who lived in Nigeria and is mentoring Mbaeteka, discussed what he saw from the offensive tackle.
“He is big, strong, physical, extremely intelligent, very athletic,” Umenyiora said via the Giants. “He’s built to play offensive tackle in the league. In fact, he reminds me quite a bit of Kareem McKenzie (a former tackle who, like Umenyiora, played on the Giants’ Super Bowl XLII and XLVI teams).”
Since concluding his 12-year career in 2014, he has worked in various roles to help the NFL grow internationally. Last year, Umenyiora was one of the founders of NFL Africa, which is part of the league’s International Player Pathway program (IPP).
Umenyiora believes Mbaeteka can just as good as Jordan Mailata, an Australian native who had no prior football experience when he joined the Philadelphia Eagles and is now the team’s starting left tackle.
“If you have the physical attributes, you can make that transition rather easily,” Umenyiora said. “And I can tell you in Africa, there’s hundreds of thousands of people who have those attributes.”